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Sir Douglas Mawson OBE FRS FAA was a famous Antarctic explorer, geologist and academic who attended Forest Lodge Public School during the 1890s. You may recognized his face from postage stamps and our $100 note. Born in 1882, Mawson arrived in Australia from Yorkshire in 1884 and grew up in Glebe. His academic abilities were clear very young, and he gained entrance to geology and engineering at Sydney University aged 16. His teaching career began as a demonstrator in chemistry. While undertaking his doctorate, he had his first Antarctic experience: Shackleton's 1907–1909 expedition. As a lecturer in mineralogy and petrology at the University of Adelaide, he studied the glacial geology of South Australia and Precambrian rocks.

Despite time in Antarctica and the war in Europe, Mawson returned to his lecturing post, becoming a Professor of geology and mineralogy in 1921. He continued to support the Australian Antarctic Research Expeditions and was a long-serving member of the Australian Antarctic Executive Planning Committee.

Mawson's many amazing achievements received much recognition. This is the tip of the iceberg: two Italian decorations, the Royal Geographical Society's Antarctic (1908) and Founders' (1915) medals, Polar medals, gold medals of the geographical societies of America, Chicago, Paris and Berlin, and a knighthood in 1914. Numerous places have been named after him, such as Mawson Coast and the Australian Antarctic Division's Mawson station established in 1954. The Mawson Institute for Antarctic Research was created within the University of Adelaide in 1959, the year after his death. In addition to his many achievements, Mawson was renowned for his character – friendly, dignified, compassionate and respectful – all traits encouraged in today's students of his former school.

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