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Biographical entry McLean, Archibald Lang (Archie) (1885 - 1922)

Balmain, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Medical practitioner


Archibald McLean was the Chief Medical Officer on Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911 - 1914. In this role he regularly took throat, nose and skin swabs from expedition members, as well as measurements of blood pressure, haemoglobin and cell counts, nail and hair growth and noted general health observations. He also made substantial collections of bacteriological specimens from ice, soil and animals. His endeavours laid the groundwork for modern research in the effects of Antarctic residence on humans. At the completion of the Expedition McLean edited Mawson's The home of the blizzard (1915). In 1917 McLean was awarded the University of Sydney Medal for his doctorate of medicine thesis Bacteriological and other researches in Antarctica. He served in World War I in both the Royal and Australian Army Medical Corps, and was awarded the Military Cross.



Education - BA, University of Sydney
Education - MB, University of Sydney
Education - ChM, University of Sydney
1911 - 1914
Career position - Chief Medical Officer, Australian Antarctic Expedition
1914 - 1916
Career event - Served with the Royal Army Medical Corps
Education - MD, University of Sydney
1917 - 1918
Career position - Captain, Australian Army Medical Corps
1918 - 1922
Career position - Medical Officer, Red Cross War Chest Farm Colony, Beelbangera, New South Wales

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Guly, H. R., 'Human Biology Investigations During the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1897-1922)', Polar Record, vol. 50, 2014, pp. 183-91. Details
  • Guly, H. R., 'Archibald Lang McLean (1885 - 1922) - explorer, writer and soldier', Journal of Medical Biography, vol. 26, no. 1, 2018, pp. 43-8. Details

See also

  • Lugg, Desmond and Ayton, Jeff, 'In the Footsteps of McLean, Jones and Whetter: 100 Years of Australian Antarctic Medical Practice', Australian Antarctic Magazine, vol. 22, 2012, pp. 36-9. Details
  • Quinn, Kylie, 'Mawson's Men', Australian Antarctic Magazine, vol. 22, 2012, pp. 8-12. Details

Helen Cohn