New - sign the


View this page at 1024x768

This page last updated November 2008.

Please contact me for comment or if you can help with extra information.

NEW November 2008
Gallery of images taken at Prince Olaf Harbour and South Georgia in 1987. Some great shots!!!

Photo of Prince Olaf Harbour by Capt. William Williams from the SWSC - year unknown. Click the pic for more info.

Click here for Frank Hurley biography

More info on Frank Hurley HERE

Captain William Williams of the Southern Whaling & Sealing Co. at Prince Olaf Harbour (pre - 1931)

Prince Olaf Harbour
South Georgia

Images courtesy Google Earth

March 29th 1917
'- - - Returned to our mooring alongside the Sound of Jura, an auxiliary barque anchored in Restitution Harbour. We were hospitably entertained by the Skipper, with whom we took and enjoyed meals, and inspected the large station under construction for the Irvin Co. The surrounding scenery is wild and menacing. With jagged peaks rising to the skies above us, around which the whirling mists & squalls play in seething eddies. In the quiet cabin of the 'Sound of Jura', we played Euchre, while the howling of wind & heavy rain without, but reminded us of our wild & isolated locality in this outcast island'.

March 30th
'Left Prince Olaf Harbour at 7-30am after taking breakfast with Capt. Rochester on the Sound of Jura.'

From diary of Australian photographer Frank Hurley.
(Hurley had returned to South Georgia after the Endurance expedition for five weeks, to film additional footage of the scenery and wildlife of the island, at the request of the Imperial Antarctic Film Syndicate. He was aboard a Norwegian whale-catcher, 'Mathilde'on a filming sortie to Antarctic Bay.)

The SWSC & Prince Olaf Harbour

Richard Irvin & Sons - North Shields, were granted a licence, valid from July 1911 to engage in whaling from Prince Olaf Harbour in South Georgia. In conjunction with the recently formed Irvin & Johnson Ltd of South Africa, a new company, The Southern Whaling & Sealing Co., was formed.
They commenced whaling operations from here in the season of 1911-12 using a floating factory ship, the 'Restitution' as their base.
The 1912-13 season was an eventful one for the 'Sound of Jura'. On her voyage from Glasgow to South Georgia, the air reservoir on the recently fitted diesel auxiliary, exploded killing the assistant engineer. She carried on to South Georgia and left on March 17th with a cargo of whale oil in her bulk tanks. Shortly after on March 24th
'While the crew were furling the foresail a heavy squall struck the ship, & caused her to lurch heavy to leeward, & the foremast buckled right over at the truss-band, throwing the men from aloft'.
This killed one crew member & severely injured eight others, one of whom died six days later. Not only was the 'Sound of Jura' partially dismasted, she was severely undermanned, and after unsuccessfully trying to continue her homeward voyage for a further three months, during which time a further two crew died, was taken into tow to the Cape Verde islands & then on to Glasgow. The cargo of whale oil was delivered successfully at last.

Prince Olaf Harbour - early 1916

On January 8th 1916, the 'Sound of Jura' arrived at South Georgia after a 54 day passage from Cape Town. On board was 15yo Hetty Rochester, daughter of Captain George Rochester, who kept a diary of the voyage.
As can be seen from its contents, Prince Olaf Harbour was hardly an isolated outpost, but an integral part of a strong social bond between the different whaling stations.
It also gives us an insight into life at South Georgia while Shackleton's expedition was drifting on pack ice in the Weddell Sea.

Image courtesy Google Earth

Hetty Rochester diary

ALSO SEE - Hetty Rochester's diary at Port Alexander & Capetown

(The diary contents have been slightly emended by expert Ian B. Hart - denoted by IBH)

Abstract of Voyages during 1915 - 16.

SHIP 'Sound Of Jura' - FROM Penarth Wales to Port Alexander (Portuguese West Africa) - LEFT May 22nd 1915 - ARRIVED August 16th 1915 - DAYS - 86 - REMARKS - Fine weather passage.
SHIP 'Sound Of Jura' - FROM Port Alexander to Cape Town - LEFT October 15th 1915 - ARRIVED October 24th 1915 - DAYS - 9 - REMARKS - Towed throughout.
SHIP 'Sound Of Jura' - FROM Cape Town to South Georgia - Nov 15th 1915 - ARRIVED January 8th 1916 - DAYS - 54 - REMARKS - Good - 'Westfield' took 78 days.
SHIP 'Sound Of Jura' - FROM South Georgia to Falmouth - LEFT March 6th 1916 - ARRIVED June 3rd 1916 - DAYS - 89 - REMARKS - Two deaths.
SHIP 'Sound Of Jura' - FROM Falmouth to London - LEFT June 6th 1916 - ARRIVED June 11th 1916 - DAYS - 4 - REMARKS - Towed part.
SHIP 'Sound Of Jura' - FROM London to Aberdeen - LEFT June 26th - ARRIVED July 2nd 1916 - DAYS - 6 - REMARKS - Towed throughout.

Mon 15th November 1915
Left Cape Town at 4pm



Sat 1st Jan 1916
(Note - average speeds only given in approximate figures).
New years day. Salt meat for dinner. Saw some kelp.

Sun 2nd
Barometer fell rapidly during morning. Saw 4 icebergs in afternoon. Took two snapshots. Saw some porpoises, also kelp.

Mon 3rd
4 other icebergs seen to the S & E. Many birds flying around. Later - saw 2 other icebergs. Later - saw 5 other icebergs.

Tue 4th
Saw 3 icebergs, also 2 whales (right) also kelp. Several stormy petrels in vicinity.

Wed 5th
Heavy fog. Saw another iceberg.

Thur 6th
Saw another iceberg. Sighted Wallis bird of South Georgia Islands. Saw a great number of whales, also curious jellyfish & many birds.

Fri 7th
Sighted Welcome Island, Cape Buller & Prince Olaf Harbour, also whaling boat. Just too late to enter harbour. Got orders to proceed to Leith Harbour. Saw a seal, several whales & vast numbers of birds. Also seaweed (S. Georgia Islands). 53 days out.

Image courtesy Google Earth

Leith Harbour 1938-------------------------- Leith whaling station 2006

Sat 8th
Were towed into Leith Harbour at 6am by SS 'Southern Sea'. Went ashore at Lord Salvesen's whaling station. Mail arrived at Grytviken. Sighted sailing ship 'Tijuca' (which carried mail). Had customs officer & Dr. Brink
IBH - Dr. H.J. Brink, M.O. at Leith Harbour on board. Received some papers from Mr. Henriksen IBH (manager of whaling station). Henrik Henriksen was manager of Leith Harbour 1909-1916 Note 'Westfield' took 78 days from Capetown. 'Sound of Jura' took 53 days.

Sun 9th
20th anniversary of birthday of William Arthur Reed of HMS 'Glasgow'. Went ashore. Walked to glacier. Met Mr. Hansen, manager of Leith Harbour whaling station.
IBH - H. Leganger Hansen was second in command to Henrik Henriksen & became manager from 1916

Mon 10th
Went to Stromness Harbour with Capt. Sorlle manager of Nansen Whaling Co.
IBH - Thorvald Sorlle was the manager at Stromness Whaling Station (Sandefjord Whaling Co. - not Nansen Whaling Co) Was lent Kodak. Met Capt. Anderssen IBH - Capt. Kristian Anderssen of SS 'Fridjof Nansen' . Met Capt. Andersen IBH of SS 'Restitution' (Manager of Southern Whaling & Sealing Co.'s whaling factory).

Tue 11th
Went to Stromness Harbour. Was on board SS 'Fridjof Nansen'.

Stromness Harbour 2005-------------Stromness whaling station 2005-------------Stromness whaling station 2006

Wed 12th
Land 1 mile high can be seen at a distance of 83 1/2 miles on a clear day. Had Mr. Paulson gunner on board. Also Capt. Bernsten
IBH - Soren Bernsten was manager of Husvik Harbour (manager of Husvik Harbour whaling station ).

Thur 13th
Had Mr. Oberson (gunner), Capt. Sorlle, Capt. Anderssen
IBH (F-N), Mr. Henriksen IBH, Dr. Brink, Mr. Newing (H.M.S.) IBH - Albert Newing was the Falkland Islands Govt. Customs Officer on South Georgia, Capt. Brown (SS 'Ramleh') on board. Went to Grytviken harbour. Saw non-magnetic 2 masted American schooner 'Carnegie' . Met Mr. Jacobsen, Mr. Hammer IBH - N. Jondahl Hammer was the manager at Grytviken. Jacobsen was his second in command- Pastor, Mr. Green (3rd mate of 'Carnegie'), Capt. Klaveness IBH - Capt. H Klaveness was master of the skrott-cookery ship Ems (A/S Rollo)(of 'Ems'), Capt. Naess IBH (of SS 'Harpon'), Mr. & Mrs Macdougall IBH - Mr. Robert H. MacDougall was the Meteorological Observer on South Georgia until at least 1919, & was accompanied by his wife Lucy. Two of their children were born there, Mr. Torgeson (sec. of Tonsberg Whaling Co.).

Fri 14th
Capt. Andersen, Capt. Ogilvie (of 'Westfield' ) came down. Grit - Boiler Vyken - Cove So named because of numerous boiler pots found (been left by American sealers).

Sat 15th
Went to Stromness to spend weekend. Was given Kodak by Capt. Sorlle. Learned to play billiards. Had informal dance. Tasted whale steak for first time. Climbed little way up mountains.

Sun 16th
Took 11 photos. Developed them. Had walk at Stromness.

Husvik whaling station 2004-------------Husvik whaling station 2004-------------Husvik whaling station 2004

Mon 17th
Printed photos. Visited sea - elephant (seal) rookery at Husvick harbour. Returned to Leith harbour after spending a most enjoyable weekend at Stromness.

Tue 18th
Climbed mountain with Capt. Ogilvie. Destroyed 1 pair of boots.




Image courtesy Google Earth

Sat 22nd
Arrived at Prince Olaf harbour. Anchored in South Bay. Went on board of 'Restitution'. Met Mr. Henrik Thorstad, secretary.

Sun 23rd
Still on 'Restitution'.

Mon 24th
Walked to point with Capt. Ogilvie. Found some flowering moss. Climbed mountain with Mother, Father, Mr. Thorstad & Capt. Ogilvie. Destroyed 1 pair of boots. Saw 'King Arthur's Seat'.

Tue 25th
Still on 'Restitution'. Learning Norwegian.

Prince Olaf whaling station 2005-------------Prince Olaf whaling station 2005-------------Prince Olaf whaling station 2005

Wed 26th
Went out fishing with steward of 'Restitution'. Visited 'Sound of Jura' with Father & Capt. Ogilvie.

Thur 27th
Walked to end of bay with steward (H. Karllson) & Mr. Thorstad. Visited 'SOJ'.

Fri 28th
Mail left. Still on 'Restitution'.

Sat 29th
Went out fishing with steward. Still on 'Restitution'.

Sun 30th
Climbed over mountain to penguin rookery with steward, secretary & bosun of 'Restitution' . Saw many sea - lions. Destroyed 1 pair of boots.

Mon 31st
Still on 'Restitution'.

Prince Olaf whaling station 2005-------------Prince Olaf whaling station 2005-------------Prince Olaf whaling station 2005

Wed 26th

Tue 1st
Father came back from Grytviken. Capt. Sorlle also came up.

Wed 2nd
'Sound of Jura' came alongside 'Restitution'. Left 'Restitution'. Walked through 'Valley of Peace' with Mother. Went out fishing with steward and secretary.

Thur 3rd
Magistrate came up from Grytviken. Magistrate Mr. Edw. B. Binnie.

Fri 4th
Went out fishing with steward & secretary. Sailed boats on lake.

Sat 5th
Climbed 'City of Earthquakes' with Capt. Ogilvie & saw Bay of Isles.

Sun 6th
Passed through 'City of Earthquakes' with Capt. Andersen, steward & bosun. Got very wet.

Mon 7th
Visited penguin rookery with Mother, Father & Capt. Ogilvie. Destroyed 1 pair of boots.

Tue 8th
Climbed 'Flagstaff' mountain with steward. Very high. Planted flag on top. Only 2 known to have been on top. Nearly got killed (owing to hard snow). Went out fishing with steward & secretary.

Prince Olaf whaling station 2006-------------Prince Olaf whaling station 2006-------------Prince Olaf whaling station 2006

Wed 9th
Walked round South Bay with Capt. Ogilvie & Queenie.

Thur 10th
Rowed out to 'Judge' sphynx with Capt. Ogilvie, steward & Queenie. Took 2 photos.

Fri 11th
Weather much colder. Rowed round Saddle Island in evening. Could not find 'Queen Victoria's Head'.

Sat 12th
Went out fishing. Tried again to find 'Queen Victoria's Head' but failed. Visited 'Westfield' in afternoon.

Sun 13th
Were on board 'Restitution' all day. Stormy day - like winter. Gale of wind, storm of snow and rain. Also mist. Anniversary of birthday of Herbert A. Fooks?

Mon 14th
Boat went to Grytviken for mail. St. Valentines Day.

Tue 15th
Mail had not arrived. Kaptein H. Klaveness of 'Ems' was on board. Captain Sorlle & Anderssen ( of 'Fridjof Nansen' came up from Stromness.

Ems-------------------------- Westfield

Wed 16th
Went out fishing.

Thur 17th
Walked round South Bay with Mother & Queenie. Took photo of 'Westfield'.

Fri 18th
Climbed mountain with Mother. 'Westfield' left for South America - took photo.

Sat 19th
Climbed mountain with mother, steward and secretary. Took some photos.

Sun 20th
Went through 'City of Earthquakes' almost to 'Bay of Isles'. Saw 'Milky Glacier'. Discovered two sea caves. Only able to explore one. Called it 'Cave of Terror'. It extended right into heart of cliff, and had a small tunnel running downwards from top.

Mon 21st
Made 'Poverty' pudding.

Tue 22nd
Went out fishing with steward. I caught 118 fish.

Wed 23rd
Mr Thorstad, Queenie & I went for row to Saddle Island. Took some photos.

Thur 24th
Went to Grytviken for mail, then to Stromness & Leith Harbour. Had breakfast at whaling station of C.A. Argentina De Pesca, lunch on board 'Harpon' with Capt. Naess. Got some chocolate from Capt. Sorlle. Met Mr. Watke, secretary for Salvesen's whaling station.

Fri 25th
Wrote letters.


Fri 3rd March
Heavy gale. Deck above our bunk torn up.

Sat 4th
Doctor Brink came up from Leith harbour to examine carpenter. All slept on 'Restitution'.

Sun 5th
Anniversary of Mother's birthday. Were on 'Restitution' all day. Walked to Seclusion Bay with Mother & Mr. Thorstad. Took some photos. Had photos taken by doctor when standing beside blubber on flensing platform.

Mon 6th
Left Prince Olaf Harbour South Georgia in tow of whaling-boat 'Southern Sky'. Took some photos.

Tues 7th
Split mizzen trysail.

Wed 8th
Saw one iceberg. Overcast.

Thur 9th
Ate egg and was seasick.


Fri 11th
Rolling heavily.

Sources & acknowledgements
Maritime History Archive - University of Newfoundland
Rudder magazine
Peter Henderson
Mrs Rhona Casson - grandaughter of Capt. George Rochester
Ian B. Hart - author & South Georgia whaling expert