World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

John King Davis

For other people named John Davis, see John Davis (disambiguation).

John King Davis
Born (1884-02-19)19 February 1884
Kew, Surrey, England
Died 8 May 1967(1967-05-08) (aged 83)
Toorak, Melbourne, Australia
Residence Australia
Nationality Anglo-Australian
Employer Explorer, navigator
Known for Captain of the Aurora
Parents James Green Davis and Marion Alice King

John King Davis, CBE (19 February 1884 – 8 May 1967) was an English-born Australian explorer and navigator notable for his work captaining exploration ships in Antarctic waters as well as for establishing meteorological stations on Macquarie Island in the subantarctic and on Willis Island in the Coral Sea.

Early life

Davis's formal education, at Colet Court, London, and at Burford Grammar School, Oxfordshire, ended in 1900, when he and his father left London for Cape Town, South Africa.[1]


Early exploration work

Davis served as Chief Officer of the Nimrod during Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition in 1908–1909. He was Captain of the Aurora and second in command of Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1911–1914.[2]


At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Davis volunteered for active service, and was put in charge of the troop transport Boonah, carrying troops and horses to Egypt and England.[3]

Later exploration work

He also served as Captain of the Discovery in 1929–1930 in the course of the British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition.

Davis was Australia's Commonwealth Director of Navigation from 1920 to 1949. It was at the beginning of this period that he volunteered to personally set up the remote Willis Island meteorological and cyclone warning station in 1921–22.[4]

Later work

Davis was President of the Royal Society of Victoria 1945–46, as well as being a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Davis Station in Antarctica, established in 1957, is named after him.


He was awarded the Polar Medal three times: in 1909,[5] 1917,[6] and 1934.[7]

In 1964 he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).[8][9]


John King Davis died in 1967 in Toorak, Melbourne, aged 83.


Books authored by Davis include:

  • (1919) With the Aurora in the Antarctic. Andrew Melrose: London
  • (1921) Willis Island: a storm-warning station in the Coral Sea Critchley Parker: Melbourne.
  • (1997) Trial by Ice. The Antarctic Journals of John King Davis (Edited by Louise Crossley) Bluntisham Books and Erskine Press: Bluntisham and Norwich (ISBN 1-85297-047-2)


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.