The Terra Nova Expedition.
Journal Entry – December 25th 1910.
“An event of Christmas was the production of a family by Crean’s rabbit. She gave birth to 17, it is said, and Crean has given away 22! I don’t know what will become of the parent or family; at present they are warm and snug enough , tucked away in the fodder under the forecastle.”
― from “Journals: Captain Scott’s Last Expedition (Oxford World’s Classics)”
The expedition ship Terra Nova left New Zealand in November 1910, and headed for the ice of Antarctica. On board were 65 men, 34 dogs, 19 Siberian ponies and one concealed rabbit. Whilst all of the men and animals were officially accounted for in the ships inventory, it seems no-one knew of the rabbits presence, save for the man who had smuggled it on board.
Tom Crean was an animal lover, and he found a comfortable berth for his rabbit, among the horse fodder, aboard the heavily laden Terra Nova. This leads to the suspicion that perhaps Lawrence Oates was also aware of the animals presence, as his was the task of tending to the ponies.
On Christmas Day, 1910, while the ship was still at sea, the rabbit surprised all by producing 17 offspring, as rabbits do.
Journals: Captain Scott’s Last Expedition – Below is a section of the introduction to “Journals: Captain Scott’s Last Expedition. ( Source of above quotation.)
“We do not remember Captain Scott because he was a great explorer, but because he composed the most haunting journal in the history of exploration. Many pioneering travellers, John Hanning Speke, say, and even James Clark Ross, are largely forgotten . But Scott carved his name on the nation’s psyche by penning a last testament of duty and sacrifice, which would resonate through the Great War and beyond. The story of Scott of the Antarctic is part of popular memory in Britain today, circulating in advertisements, comedy sketches, and soap operas. His reputation has suffered in recent years, but the last journals retain the power to captivate . Tension mounts from the very first chapter as the ship Terra Nova battles even to reach the Antarctic coast.”
Journals: Captain Scott’s Last Expedition (Oxford World’s Classics)
Tom Crean’s Rabbit – The Book.
A True Story from Scott’s Last Voyage by Meredith Hooper, with illustrations by Bert Kitchen.
Meredith Hooper was born in Australia. An Antarctic specialist, she has made several research trips to the continent. In 2000 she was awarded the Antarctica Medal by the US Congress. Her books for Frances Lincoln include The Pebble in my Pocket, which is the only children’s book ever to be shortlisted for the Dingle History of Science Book Award.
The book tells the heartwarming tale of Tom cream’s rabbit, aboard the Terra Nova, as it sailed for Antarctica. It is an ideal story for 4 – 8 year olds, and a great introduction to the fantastical, but true, Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration.
Tom Crean Quiz.
This post will help you answer one of the questions in the Tom Crean Quiz. Just Click on the link below to take the quiz!
Tom Crean Quiz – Tom Crean
Tom Crean’s first glimpse of Antarctica – January 8th, 1902.
Herbert Ponting – Antarctic Landscapes – Tom Crean