Accession Number
1980.199.1
Catalogue Number
A180.28
Brief Description
One black and metal 1910s pocket knife owned by Roald Amundsen (leader of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, 1910-12) and used by Oscar Wisting to sharpen the bamboo stake from which the Norwegian flag was flown at the South Pole.
Production Date
1900-1910
Associated Place
Associated Place Notes
Used to sharpen the bamboo pole that flew the first flag at the South Pole.
Background
On 14 December 1911, a party of Norwegians led by Roald Amundsen and accompanied by 16 dogs, reached the southern extremity of the earth. The South Pole had been conquered. To mark the historic event, Oscar Wisting, a member of the party, borrowed Amundsen’s pocket knife to sharpen a bamboo pole to which the flag of Norway was attached. All five men of the party then grasped the pole and drove it into the snow. After the ceremony, items such as pipes and belts of a personal nature as well as this pocket knife, were scratched with the owner’s initials and a date. This knife bears the inscription “R.A. Sudpolin. 14.12.11”. Treasured by Amundsen it was gifted to Haakon H. Hammer is appreciation of finance provided in fitting out the vessel Maud in Seattle for a planned Arctic venture in 1922. Hammer’s widow offered it to Canterbury Museum in 1977 and Sir Robertson Stewart and Peter Skellerup arranged the purchase.
Collecting Unit

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