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Biographical entry Murphy, Herbert Dyce (1879 - 1971)

18 October 1879
South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
20 July 1971
Mornington, Victoria, Australia
Antarctic explorer
Alternative Names
  • Dyce-Murphy, Herbert


Herbert Dyce Murphy was an Antarctic explorer on the Mawson Expedition of 1911 to 1914. During the expedition he was one of the team's dog handlers, in charge of stores and was in command of the southern supporting party during 1912 and of winter quarters during Mawson's absence. But this was not all Murphy did. He studied in England, sailed the Arctic on a Norwegian whaling vessel, worked for military intelligence posing as a woman, travelled to Antarctica with the Mawson expedition, spent a year with army intelligence during World War I, worked as an orchardist and sheep farmer, and spent for three months of each year from 1920 to1965 working as an ice-master to a Norwegian whaling fleet in Antarctica where he was responsible for handling the mother-ship in the ice. The book Lady Spy, Gentleman Explorer: The Life of Herbert Dyce Murphy gives a good insight into this man's extraordinary achievements and life.



Education - Matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford
1911 - 1914
Career position - Went to Antarctica with the Mawson expedition
1920 - 1965
Career position - Ice-Master to the Norwegian whaling fleet in Antarctica
1926 - 1936
Career position - Mornington shire councillor (Victoria)
1932 - 1933
Career position - President of the Mornington shire council

Published resources


  • Rossiter, Heather, Lady Spy, Gentleman Explorer: the Life of Herbert Dyce Murphy, Random House Australia, Melbourne, 2001, 415 pp. Details

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Online Resources

Rosanne Walker