Sydney ('Syd') Kirkby OA, MBE, Polar Medal
White Hat is delighted to be able to publish the following
profile of Sydney Kirkby by David Carstens. Full details on the
source of the article can be found at the end. This profile is
reproduced with the permission of the author and of Sydney Kirby
Sydney Kirkby OA, MBE, Polar Medal
his retirement, Syd Kirkby lives in sunny Queensland, lectures a little,
writes a little, and visits Antarctica a few times a year as specialist
lecturer or expedition patron. He is busier than ever.
Virtually all of Sydï¿½s working life has been spent in exploration and
mapping and associated survey activities. Antarctic commitment commenced in
1955 when he was appointed as Surveyor at Mawson for 1956, the third year of
A.N.A.R.E. operations on the Antarctic continent.
It has been stated by Phillip Law that Syd Kirkby has explored more of
Australian Antarctic Territory than any other Australian. This accolade is
made in comparison with Sir Douglas Mawson
and Phillip Law himself and stems from the many expeditions in which Syd has
been engaged, both wintering and summer journeys.
Syd Kirkby was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1933. Education
progressed through primary and secondary levels in his Home State. Syd
maintains a close and appreciative attachment to his secondary college, Hale
School, in Perth.
Surveying studies followed, qualifying as a Surveyor through the (then)
Articles System of experience, evening study, and examination by the
Surveyors Board of Western Australia. Syd commenced his indenture in 1951
and completed his final examinations in 1955, just before his first
Antarctic engagement for the year of 1956. (The Surveyors Boards of each
State had a reciprocal agreement for the Registration of Surveyors. A
university degree provided an exemption from the Board theory examinations.
Oral ant practical examination was common to both forms of study and
preceded registration as a Surveyor. The university course had ceased
(temporarily) in Western Australia in 1950).
But some mention of Syd Kirkbyï¿½s youth.
Sydï¿½s father was a self educated man, a philosopher of great intellect
who considered and treated all people as equals. He was a meteorologist.
Sydï¿½s mother was English born and migrated to Australia with her parents, to
a land development scheme south of Perth. Mrs. Kirkby was also a
self-educated person who took up paid employment in 1954 as an Almoner with
the Department of Health and eventually became Head of her Department
dealing with Social Welfare.
The family had much contact with Aboriginal people and Aboriginal folks
were frequent visitors to the home. Two aboriginal children, in particular,
lived with them and were considered part of the family.
Sydï¿½s brother Karl was five years younger than Syd but always a great
companion. Syd admired his brotherï¿½s achievements. By the age of seventeen
he was a dashing favourite with the ladies. (Syd says, ï¿½as distinct from
himselfï¿½). He was able to make a good living from Motor Cycle Racing and
achieved fame riding in England and also in continental Europe. Karl died at
age twenty-two after a short illness.
Polio struck at Syd Kirkby when he was five years old. He was affected by
paralyses from the waist down. His left leg was seriously paralysed and
there was diminished function in the right leg. The challenge to overcome
this adversity was led by his parents and most notably his father. Kirkby
Senior adopted and enforced a strenuous and rigorous regime for his crippled
son, stretching the lad to his physical limits in order to regain use of his
legs. Meanwhile Sydï¿½s mother attended to a newly born brother and provided a
sympathetic support for the older son. Syd was subjected to the theories of
the well-known Australian nurse, Sister
Kenny, whose work with sufferers of poliomyelitis became world famous.
This was in the early days of Sister Kenny and her treatment theories. These
theories had less than universal acceptance in 1938. Criticism of the method
adopted created additional difficulty for the family due to the strenuous
nature of the routine compared with accepted methods of bed rest. The
dedication of Sydï¿½s father is typified by the arrangement that he took a
night job in order to dedicate the daytime to the rehabilitation of his son.
The challenge was first approached through swimming. Syd would be taken
to the sea baths on the petrol tank of his fatherï¿½s Harley Davidson
motorcycle. On the beach Dad would unstrap Sydï¿½s callipers and plunge into
the water, leaving Syd to make his own way in to the water. Syd hated the
idea of being considered a cripple and met this challenge with determination
and he remembers that challenge well. In the water Syd could move more
easily and Dad led him in a most strenuous and exhausting range of exercise.
Progress slowed somewhat when Sydï¿½s father served in the armed services
during the war. Over time, the game of chess became an important activity
and father and son developed very competitive attitudes with this mental
As mobility improved, boxing was identified as a sport to follow. This
was at age eleven or twelve years. Boxing required prowess and mind power
and Syd developed considerable skill in this sport. Gradually winning became
part of the scene and this was a source of pride and achievement for father
and son. Syd only lost two fights out of eighty-four competitive bouts.
Syd Kirkby looks back on a happy and fulfilling family upbringing.
Teenage years were idyllic. Camping, fishing and going bush were constant
activities of Dad, Syd and brother Karl. Mother attended to her more
ladylike pursuits at home during these outside activities. She had her days
of roughing it in her youth during the pioneering farming pursuits of her
parents in the Mt. Barker district, north of Albany.
Attitudes, developed in overcoming the disability of a withered leg, have
been put to advantage in reaching that high level of achievement that is the
hallmark of the man Syd Kirkby. Typically, a challenge to his appointment as
Surveyor at Mawson for 1960, made during his medical for that expedition,
was overcome by arguing that he had already served as Surveyor in 1956. This
was a year in which he had participated in some of the most strenuous dog
sledging (ever) undertaken out of Mawson. As it will be seen, Syd was
appointed Surveyor for 1960. Much more Antarctic work was to follow.
Early plans during schooling were directed towards Syd Kirkby studying
Law. Family friend, ï¿½Uncleï¿½ Frank Goyder, a well known early Surveyor and
Surveyor General in South Australia, had regaled the family with his stories
of exploration and so Syd had decided at a young age that ï¿½The best thing in
the world was to be an Explorerï¿½. This influence took effect during the
first term of the last year at school. Little did he know when he changed
his study from an arts curriculum to science, that Antarctica was to become
such an important field of exploration for him.
Having adopted surveying as a career, Syd Kirkby was indentured to the
Surveyor General of Western Australia, Mr. W.V. Fyfe. As a Surveyor General
is an administrative position and surveying demands practical field
training, Mr. Fyfe delegated this latter function to other surveyors.
Syd considers himself fortunate to have served his Articles with, and
been encouraged by, some very eminent and challenging Surveyors.
For his first assignment Syd was working on a farm development scheme in
the Midlands of Western Australia, 150 miles North of Perth. Much of this
time was spent with Survey Hand, Ben Scrivener, who as a Party Leader
imparted the necessary practices of field survey work. Ben was not formally
trained in the mathematics and theory of survey practice but imparted to
fellow workers the practice of getting the work done well. Syd was an
appreciative beneficiary of the expertise and guidance of Ben Scrivener who
took a special interest in stimulating Syd in his theory studies. Study was
mostly by correspondence, using coursework from Melbourne Technical College
Correspondence School (now RMIT). Some subjects were studied through
textbooks without the benefit of lecture notes.
With Ben Scrivener, Syd undertook additional activities in any spare time
available, notably Sundays. This was to boost income; and one notable
project was taking on a contract to cut railway sleepers, fence posts and
telephone poles. Poles were the preferred work.
After two year in the Midlands, Syd then worked with Surveyor Alister
Ewing. This was in a wide ranging Private Practice in Surveying. This
experience occupied the second and third years of Articles and in the third
year Syd became a Party Leader. Ewing was the inventor of the Stadia
Altimeter referred to later in this text.
Harry Payne, a retired Assistant Surveyor General was the next employer.
Payne was in Private Practice and Syd was engaged as a Party Leader on a
large project of land classification in the timber country of the Valley of
the Giants, near Denmark, W.A.. Then time was spent in the Survey Office of
the Lands Department working on computing and administrative tasks. This led
to involvement with a most challenging and interesting project, encouraged
by his Master Surveyors.
In 1954, before he qualified as a Surveyor, Syd Kirkby managed to promote
a hobby-like interest in astronomy into a position as surveyor / astronomer
with the joint Commonwealth / State Great Sandy Desert Expedition. This
provided surveying experience coupled with first hand contact with the local
Aborigines. At this time the indigenous inhabitants still lived in this area
as they had for time immemorial. This was before they were subjected to the
glare of the anthropological spotlight and before the centre of Australia
was crossed and recrossed by graded tracks constructed by the Weapons
Research Establishment. Now these tracks are a popular attraction for
ï¿½adventure holidaysï¿½. In 1954 the local people were aware of ï¿½white manï¿½ but
mostly had had no contact.
The Great Sandy Desert Expedition set out to map and geologise the area
containing the Canning Stock Route which had been established in 1922 with
the provision of thirty-one wells. The new Expedition included upgrading of
watering points and refurbishing infrastructure at these places and
establishing new water sources. This was the first vehicular traverse of
this area. Short Wheelbase, Series 1, Land Rovers provided the transport,
supported by a Commer Three Ton Truck for fuel and supply depots.
The story Syd tells of finding a particularly heavy piece of rock is
interesting, especially in hindsight. Syd was sure he had found gold and his
fortune. He submitted the specimen to the geologist who laughed it off as
just another rock. The rock was discarded. In view of the gold found in this
area subsequently, one is left to wonder --- especially Syd Kirkby.
This Expedition work was an interlude to the office experience in Perth.
Working in Perth gave Syd Kirkby the opportunity to follow an interest in
amateur theatre. He took a lead role in two productions of the Perth
- Bell Book and Candle
- Ghost Train
In recent years in Queensland this interest was continued with the role
of Scott in Fire on the Snow, Mr. Frank in The Diary of Ann Frank
and the doctor in A Kind of Alaska with the Brisbane Arts Theatre. As
well he has taken a number of roles with metropolitan and regional theatre
The arrangement by which Syd Kirkby served Articles with the Surveyor
General of Western Australia was challenging and beneficial in itself, but
it also opened doors to interesting and inventive surveying technology. Of
course Syd Kirkby demonstrated the aptitude, ability and enthusiasm to
embrace and contribute to all these opportunities. Appointment to the
position of Surveyor, Mawson 1956 preceded his formal qualification, but
registration as a Surveyor followed before embarkation. Syd considers that
Phillip Law took some risk in making this early selection. Time has shown
otherwise. Syd considers that some glowing references from his Master
Surveyors and colleagues enabled his selection at the age of 21 years when
there was a preferred age of 28 years.
The Ewing Stadia Altimeter was an early exposure to a new technology
which was considered advanced at the time. By modern electronic standards
this equipment was not so mind-boggling. This mechanical survey instrument,
which attached to a standard theodolite, increased the rate at which land
could be surveyed to provide contours or levels and distances. Heights and
horizontal distances could be read and recorded directly as a result of
mechanical / graphical reduction of the survey data, no matter how steep the
terrain may be. The Ewing Stadia Altimeter is well and truly superseded by
electronic measurement and computer reduction of data. However the equipment
had to be tested and it was put to practical use. Syd Kirkby was there.
Opportunities such as this came to Syd throughout his career. More
correctly, because of Syd Kirkbyï¿½s knowledge, experience and intellect, Syd
was engaged in grappling with new developments throughout his surveying
career. Laser altimeters, airborne bathometric heighting, radar heighting,
barometric heighting from aircraft (or on the ground), aerodist electronic
distance measuring (1960ï¿½s), use of stereomat plotter (1983), orthophoto
mapping and the development of computer mapping for topographic maps are
special highlights in which Syd has been involved.
As Chair of the National Mapping Technical Sub-Committee Syd Kirkby
tabled the first Orthophoto Map developed and produced in Australia by
The use of laser terrain modelling was developed with Antarctica as the
application but this was subsequently applied to the provision of height
control for the 1: 100000 Mapping of Australia. Also Digital Terrain
Modelling occupied experimental and practical time for National Mapping
Staff under Sydï¿½s guidance. A very practical application of this technique
was the use made of the equipment to provide contour models of body parts,
using photography, as a medical aid in, for example, a masectomy. The
resulting data could then be applied to the manufacture of a prothesis.
A summary of the time spent in Antarctica serves to highlight A.N.A.R.E.
involvement and commitment.
Syd Kirkby was Surveyor and / or Leader of the wintering party at Mawson
(15 to 16 months) for 1956 / 57, 1960 / 61, 1980 / 81 and a member of
A.N.A.R.E. summer operations (3 to 4 months) in 1961 / 62, 1962 / 63, 1964 /
65 and 1979 / 80. With these visits Syd has worked through all of Australian
Antarctic Territory, establishing the most easterly and most westerly
astrofixes in Australian Antarctic Territory and also venturing into
Norwegian Territory just west of 45 degrees east longitude for an astrofix
there. Until 1971 Syd Kirkby could also claim the most southerly astrofix in
Australian Antarctic Territory. At that time the Russians discovered a
previously unknown peak which is now the most southerly astrofix on solid
In 1956 field work out of Mawson was achieving spectacular exploration of
the Prince Charles Mountains. P.C.M, as it is now recognised, was discovered
and named only two years before. With Weasels for mechanical power to reach
the northern flank of the mountains and dogs for penetrating more difficult
areas, the 1956 Party explored well south into the mountains and glaciers of
the P.C.M. Syd and his sledging party viewed the Lambert Glacier for the
first time, overlooking the glacier, Beaver Lake and the Amery Ice Shelf
from Loewe Massif.
This was the first year of aircraft at Mawson and Australia was, after
construction of the hanger, the first nation to keep an aircraft operational
through the winter. One Auster and one Beaver were in use. This enabled
depot laying, transport of surveyor and geologist to spot work-sites and
much aerial inspection, photography and terrain heighting.
Dog Sledging journeys were made on the sea ice and the near plateau in
July, August and September for mapping and geology and a penguin count at
Fold Island. The July trip searched for Douglas Islets north of Mawson which
were mapped as ï¿½Position Doubtfulï¿½. Islets, which now bear this name, were
identified and mapped well away from the anticipated position.
Syd Kirkby returned to Western Australia for two years in 1958 and 1959
to complete his bond with the Department of Lands and worked as a Staff
Surveyor. He was also involved in photogrammetric control surveys with a
mapping company. He returned to Antarctic work in 1959.
During 1960 the pace of surveying and exploration was sped up through the
use of a Dakota DC3 aircraft. But first it had to be assembled. It was taken
to Mawson with wings detached and assembled in the open. Operational time
was productive but short. The aerial photography program was terminated on 8
December 1960 when the DC3 was blown from the tie down moorings at the ice
airfield, Rumdoodle, and deposited in seracs at the edge of the continent,
eight miles away. The Beaver Aircraft was destroyed at the airfield. This
was a devastating blow to the whole party after the huge effort getting the
aircraft operational. Nevertheless much was achieved during the year with
air support and D4 Tractor Trains penetrating further into the Southern
Prince Charles Mountains during the summer of 1960.
During the time the DC3 was being assembled, Syd Kirkby, Ric Ruker
(Geologist), and Ken Bennett (Radio Officer) dog sledged from Cape Batterbee
to Edward VIII Gulf (Kloa depot) across the hump of Enderby Land. They were
transported back to Mawson by the Beaver aircraft along with the dogs. This
traverse party was deposited in Enderby Land by the departing relief ship,
Thala Dan, on 22 February 1960 retuning to Mawson about 22 April
1960. This was a daring and productive traverse of an area never previously
The Tractor Traverse to Prince Charles Mountains left Mawson in August
1960, a very early start for plateau travel. The seriously cold temperatures
of minus 60 to minus 70 F. for the early part of the trip caused some
concern but the objective of establishing a depot near Mt Menzies was met.
One D4 Tractor was dropped into a crevasse, and left hanging precariously
five metres below the surface. The five-man party took five days to recover
the machine using the manual chain winch available to them and with much
digging of ice.
Syd says of this trip ï¿½One of the things I was most happy about was to
have had Nev. Collins presentï¿½.
(It shouldnï¿½t be necessary to identify Nev. Collins!!; .but perhaps a
handful of recent readers do not know him. ----- He is great stalwart of
ANARE: A Diesel Mechanic of great experience and initiative and an all-round
The two aircraft were operated from an ice airstrip at Binders Nunataks,
across the Fisher Glacier from Mt. Menzies, with great success and Syd then
flew back to Mawson to carry out aircraft supported survey operations from
there. The tractors returned in due course in spite of fuel shortages. With
the destruction of the aircraft on 8 December 1960 operations reverted to
land based recovery work. This included retrieval of instrumentation from
the Dakota and carrying fuel south for the tractors using dog sledging.
Syd Kirkby joined the homeward voyage of the Thala Dan which
travelled to Enderby Land on a mapping and geology visit. This took the ship
to the west of the Australian Antarctic Territory Boundary where an astrofix
was obtained and thence easterly, for mapping, geology, magnetic and gravity
observations in Enderby Land, then mapping the edge of the Amery Ice Shelf,
and on to Wilkes, which was inaccessible due to pack ice.
1962 / 63 Summer season was a busy trip for Syd Kirkby. During ten days
at Wilkes a triangulation network over the islands near Wilkes was
established, hydrographic surveys of the approaches to Wilkes and of the
anchorage were achieved and investigations for the new Casey Station were
After departing Wilkes, the ship proceeded east to beyond the boundary of
Australian Antarctic Territory, mapping coastline and achieving seven
astrofixes on sites never previously visited. Extensive areas were covered
by aircraft, capturing aerial photography and heighting data. This was a
successful summer season, resulting in the mapping of 480 kilometres of
During the period December 1962 to March 1963 Syd Kirkby upgraded the
triangulation at Wilkes, initiated the previous year, using electronic
distance measurement with assistance from Surveyor K Budnick. This survey
was extended inland to the proposed location of an ice-coring project. On
the subsequent ship based work, progress was hampered by besetment of the
ship on two occasions, but six astrofixes were obtained in Wilkes and King
George V Lands and 1800 kilometres of radar heighting was carried out.
During the 1964 / 65 Summer season a major Tellurometer Traverse was
achieved through the mountain systems in
MacRobertson Land, Kemp Land and Enderby Land. This was supported by
Mawson Station, the ship, Nella Dan, Beaver aircraft and small
helicopters. Syd Kirkby was the leader of a team of four surveyors and their
Through the late 1960ï¿½s and in the 1970ï¿½s Syd Kirkby worked on
Australiaï¿½s National Topographic Mapping Program, which also included
responsibility for Antarctic Mapping. He became Assistant Director of
National Mapping in 1976 from which position he retired in 1984. This
position was based in Melbourne, reporting to the Director in Canberra.
Before retirement from National Mapping,
Before retirement from National Mapping Syd took sabbatical leave in 1979
to return to Antarctica to lead a multi-disciplinary regional scientific
program in Enderby Land. The 1979 / 80 summer expedition was supported by
Mawson Station, the Ship, three Hughes 500 helicopters, a Pilatus Porter
fixed wing aircraft and a dog team. The work involved 14 scientific staff
and a flying and support staff of 25 persons. The program was based at Mt.
King. This was a successful operation providing prolific results in the
fields of regional geocronology, petrology, structural and tectonic geology,
metamorphic studies, glaciology, geomagnetism, paleomagnetism and geology.
Following the successful multi-disciplinary scientific program Syd Kirkby
stayed on at Mawson to winter as Station Leader for the 1980 / 81 Mawson
During this 1980 year the building construction program was in full
operation. The station scientific program was maintained and field trips
were carried out. Syd Kirkby led two dog sledge journeys to definitively
mark a safe route through the crevassed areas of the Frammes Mountains.
Additional use of dog sledging was organised to search for meteorites in the
Frammes Mountains. In summer, Syd also led one of three major tractor
traverses establishing a safe route to the Northern Prince Charles Mountains
near Mt. Jacklyn. These journeys were to depot fuel and to deliver
infrastructure material for a proposed inland summer station.
The Expeditioners with whom Syd Kirkby shared a Wintering year at Mawson
will remember the nicknames for Syd Kirkby.
1956 ï¿½The Uncouth Youthï¿½ (Aged 22 years.)
1960 ï¿½Jungleï¿½ (Rumdoodle Speak --- The Surveyor ï¿½ Always lost!)
1980 ï¿½The Godfatherï¿½ (Ask the 1980 Party. It may have something to do
with making offers to party members which they could not refuse.)
The contribution to Australiaï¿½s Antarctic endeavours by Syd Kirkby is
recognised in the naming of geographical features throughout and beyond
Australian Antarctic Territory. Mount Kirkby is in the Prince Charles
Mountains, Kirkby Head on Tange Promontory in Enderby Land, Kirkby Shoal in
Newcomb Bay at Casey and Kirkby Glacier on the eastern boundary of
Australian Antarctic Territory in the Trans Antarctic Mountains, Oates Land.
He was awarded the Polar Medal in 1957 and made a Member of the Order of the
British Empire in 1965. In 1997 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the
Australian Geographical Society as Adventurer of the Year. In 1999 The
Australian newspaper, in itï¿½s review of the Twentieth Century, nominated him
as one of the ten great Australian adventurers of the century, in company
such as Douglas Mawson,
Charles Kingsford-Smith, Kay
Cottee and Frank Hurley.
In March 2002, Syd Kirkby presented The J.P. Thomson Oration to the Royal
Geographical Society of Queensland and was presented with that Societyï¿½s
award, The J.P. Thomson Medal, the highest award of the Society. This
Society has a long history of engagement with Antarctic affairs, having
urged and encouraged Antarctic exploration from the date of establishment in
1885. Sir Douglas Mawson was awarded the Society Gold Medal in 1931. The
title of the Syd Kirkby lecture for The J.P. Thomson Oration was
ï¿½Antarctica: a Conducted Tour from Ancient to Modernï¿½.This Oration has
now been published by the Society in the Geography Monograph Series, Number
8. (ISBN 0 949286 10 9 ISSN 1037 7158)
In April 1993 Syd Kirkby presented a paper to the above Society
ï¿½Sledge Dogs to Satellitesï¿½ and in September 1996 he presented the topic
ï¿½Surveying in the Great Sandy Desertï¿½. Subsequently in February 2001
Syd gave a presentation on ï¿½Shackleton and the Endurance.ï¿½ These
lectures are advertised publicly and for the Shackleton story the lecture
hall was filled to overflowing, necessitating a repeat performance some
weeks later. ï¿½Sledge Dogs to Satellitesï¿½ Has also been published by
the Society in Queensland Geographical Journal, 4th Series. Volume 8. 1993.
ISSN 0817 ï¿½ 489X. The Queensland Surveyors Journal also published the same
In spite of the Adventure awards listed above, the terminology
ï¿½Adventurerï¿½ does not sit happily with Syd Kirkby. He considers that an
adventurer is somebody who takes unnecessary risks and is a thrill seeker.
His approach is that exploration is a job to be done and that this is
achieved through careful planning and preparation and responsible
application of the plans. His attitude to working in Antarctica is summed up
in the following statement he has made in one of his presentations:-
ï¿½Weï¿½d climb a mountain peak (or a height on the plateau) and look
out and say: ï¿½Wow! In all time, certainly no human being and probably no
creature has ever seen thisï¿½. Itï¿½s a funny feeling. Itï¿½s not a
possessive feeling, itï¿½s a privileged sort of a feeling ï¿½ ï¿½How did I get
this lucky?ï¿½ ï¿½.
Syd Kirkby moved to Queensland in 1985 and immediately made contact with
the A.N.A.R.E. Club. He served as Secretary from 1986 to 1988 and then
President of the Branch from 1989 to 1998. During this time he took
responsibility for the A.N.A.R.E. Jubilee celebrations in 1997. This was an
active year, culminating in the successful tour of Queensland with the
A.N.A.R.E. Display, ï¿½Our Frozen Frontierï¿½, put together by Queensland
Branch. This display is now held and curated by the Queensland Museum.
After arrival in Queensland, Syd settled in Brisbane. After a while he
purchased an early ï¿½Queenslanderï¿½ house in Yerongpilly. To keep himself busy
and fit he then commenced the task of restoring, extending and modernising
the residence. This was achieved with great success and the home now is a
masterpiece representing the best of timber homes in Queensland, combined
with modern amenity.
Unfortunately, completion of this achievement was associated with a
deterioration of physical health. Syd was diagnosed with heart dysfunction
and underwent open heart surgery. Following this enforced stand-down he
bounced back as fit as ever.
Syd and his wife Jude now live at Flaxton in the hinterland of the
Sunshine Coast of Queensland. They both maintain an active interest in the
A.N.A.R.E. Club and the community in general. Their fine new home is in a
beautiful location and the steep landscaped gardens continue to keep them
both fit and well.
A serious and ongoing involvement with the Antarctic for Syd, and Jude
sometimes, is to travel on tourist ships and tourist flights to the
Antarctic as expert instructor and commentator. This is enjoyed by both and
the knowledge and background that Syd is able to impart is appreciated by
all. In a sense Syd is a Roving Ambassador for the Antarctic as he shares
his love and knowledge of the continent in his expressive and enthusiastic
Syd Kirkby is an eloquent and perceptive speaker and writer. He is often
published in newspaper articles and in letters to the editor. His
contributions to the Club through AURORA are well known and his essay on
what it means to be an A.N.A.R.E. Expeditioner, ï¿½The Spirit of ANAREï¿½
published in AURORA of September 1997 and in the Club History 1951 - 2001,
is a fine example of this.
Involvement in the community includes many occasions that Syd speaks to
organisations and groups on some aspect of his Antarctic experience. On
occasions where it is appropriate to request a speaking fee, Syd donates the
fee to the A.N.A.R.E. Club, Queensland Branch and sometimes to the main
While living in Brisbane one typical activity in which Syd was engaged as
a volunteer (or was he volunteered?) was driving a bus, one day per week, to
collect frail aged folks from their homes, giving them a day out among
friends. He endeared himself to these folks, all of whom enjoyed the
opportunity to chat with him.
Quite recently, in 2003, Syd was interviewed by Margaret Throsby on ABC
Radio. Syd chose the Music. In this interview he revealed his eclectic taste
in music, his love of life and his fellow travellers, his enthusiasm for
exploration, Antarctica in particular, and especially his love for his
daughters (from his first marriage, to Joy) and his wife, Jude.
In 1999 Syd Kirkby was elected a Life Member of the A.N.A.R.E. Club.
This article is written for Stalwarts of ANARE as
requested by Editor of Aurora, Malcolm Kirton 21 March 2003.
Revised 10 August 2003 using data from Syd Kirkby
compiled with the cooperation and input from Syd Kirkby.
an abbreviated version of 4800 words.
The more comprehensive
version, with family background and extended information can
be found in the above publication and is 8600 words.
content has been related as correctly as possible between
ï¿½ David Carstens 10 August 2003