Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Hut
Cape Royds, Ross Island

Shackleton’s Hut at Cape Royds was built during the British Antarctic Expedition in 1907-1909. The site had originally been discovered during Scott’s ‘Discovery’ Expedition of 1901-1904. Shackleton had tried to land and set up base near the Bay of Whales and on King Edward VII Land, and then to reach Scott’s Hut at Hut Point, but ice conditions meant they had to land at Cape Royds. The hut itself was built in just over two weeks on their arrival in February 1908. The whole expedition spent the winter of 1908-1909 in the hut, but after his attempt on the pole Shackleton did not return and was picked up from Hut Point. The hut was closed on 3 March 1909 when the party left Antarctica, with stores and a note left for any visitors.

1910 - 1917
Visited by Many

During Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1913, the hut was visited and lived in on several occasions, with a member of the expedition noting that the outer door was missing and interior unkempt. 

Shackleton’s Hut was also visited by members of Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party between 1915 and 1917, when they foraged for supplies after being marooned by Aurora. The subsequent relief mission by Aurora stopped at the hut, with Shackleton (who was onboard) revisiting his old base and picking up a note from the Ross Sea Party to say they were based at Cape Evans.

1947 - 1978
US Operations

The Hut was next visited thirty years later, when members of the US Operation Windmill visited the site in 1947-48, followed by expedition members during the US Operation Deep Freeze in 1955-58, who also undertook some minor maintenance. Further repairs were made by HMNZS Endeavour in 1957, and from then on various expeditions visited and undertook minor repairs. In the 1977-78 season an artefact inventory was compiled for the hut, and the following season a building survey was completed.

Historic Site and Monument (HSM) 15

In 1972 Shackleton’s Hut was designated as Historic Site and Monument (HSM) 15 at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. The site now has the highest level of protection as part of Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) 121, which also includes the southernmost established Adelie penguin colony based around the site. The Hut was listed in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 World Monuments Watch lists by the World Monuments Fund, and in 2008 the structure was fully restored to its condition when Shackleton’s team left it by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZAHT).

2010 Onwards
New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust

An annual maintenance and monitoring plan has also been put into place. In 2010, an NZAHT team excavated five crates from within the Hut containing Mackinlay’s whisky and brandy. After scientific analysis an exact replica has now been produced, with a percentage of the sales going towards NZAHT’s conservation programme.

To find out more about Shackleton’s Hut and the conservation work, visit the NZAHT website.

Sir Ernest Shackleton

Learn more about Sir Ernest Shackleton and his many expeditions to Antarctica.

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