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Biographical entry Mertz, Xavier (1882 - 1913)

6 October 1882
Basel, Switzerland
8 January 1913
King George V Land, Antarctica
Antarctic explorer


Xavier Mertz was a skier and mountaineer in his native Switzerland. He was engaged by Douglas Mawson in 1911 as ski instructor for the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914). With Belgrave Ninnis, he became responsible for the Expedition's Greenland huskies. In 1912 Mertz was selected by Mawson to accompany him as a member of the Far Eastern Party to explore King George V Land. This became one of the most epic journeys in Antarctic history and resulted in the deaths of Ninnis and Mertz. Mertz Glacier in Antarctica is named after him.



1911 - 1913
Career position - Member of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition

Published resources

Edited Books

  • Lucas, Anna (ed.), Swiss alps to Antarctic glaciers: the journals of Dr Xavier Mertz, Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914, Fineline Studios, Melbourne, 2014, 206 pp. Details
  • Mornement, Allan and Riffenburgh, Beau (eds), 'Mertz and I': the Antarctic diary of Belgrave Edward Ninnis, Erskine Press, Norwich (U. K.), 2014, 448 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Carrington-Smith, Denise, 'Mawson and Mertz: a Re-evaluation of their Ill-fated Mapping Journey during the 1911-1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 183, no. 11/12, 2005, pp. 638-641. Details
  • Lucas, Anna, 'Mertz in Hobart: impressions of one of Mawson's men while preparing for Antarctic adventure', Papers and proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, vol. 146, 2012, pp. 37-44. Details
  • Lucas, Anna and Leane, Elizabeth, 'Two Pages of Xavier Mertz's Missing Antarctic Diary: a Contextualization and Reconstruction', Polar Record, vol. 49, 2013, pp. 297-306. Details

Online Resources

Helen Cohn