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John Rymill

John Riddoch Rymill (13 March 1905 – 7 September 1968) was an Australian polar explorer, who had the rare second clasp added to his Polar Medal.


  • Early life 1
  • Polar career 2
  • Honours 3
  • Family 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6

Early life

Rymill was born at Penola, South Australia, the second son of Robert Rymill (7 July 1869 – 14 May 1906) and Mary Edith Rymill (née Riddoch), owners of Penola Station, and grandson of Frank Rymill. He was educated at Melbourne Grammar School, where he first developed his love of polar literature, and at the Royal Geographical Society in London, where he studied surveying and navigation.[1][2]

Polar career

Rymill prepared himself for polar exploration with alpine experience in Europe, flying lessons at the Bellingshausen Sea.[2]


  • the British Service Polar Medal with Arctic bar (1930–31)
  • Antarctic (1934–37) bars
  • Founders' medal (1938) of the Royal Geographical Society
  • David Livingstone Centenary Medal of the American Geographical Society of New York (1939).
    'The survey work of this expedition constitutes probably the largest contribution of accurate detailed surveys of the Antarctic Continent made by an expedition'. Citation of David Livingstone Centenary Gold Medal


In 1938, after completing the official account of the expedition Southern Lights, Rymill married Dr Eleanor Mary Francis (17 June 1911 – 14 April 2003), a geographer whom he had met at Cambridge. They returned to Australia to live at and manage the Old Penola Estate,[5] and Rymill served as a district councillor. During World War II he was commissioned in the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve. He died on the 7 September 1968, like his father, as the result of a car accident, survived by his wife and their two sons and was buried at New Penola cemetery.[2][6][7]


  • Bertram, G.G.L. Antarctica sixty years ago: a reappraisal of the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37 Polar Record, 1996, 32
  • Chapman, F. S. Northern Lights (Lond., 1932)
  • Chapman, F. S. Watkin's Last Expedition (Lond., 1934)
  • Roberts, B.B. The British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37: scientific papers

London, British Museum (Natural History), 1940–41, Vol. 1

  • Rymill, J.R. et al. Papers, diaries of expedition members (Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge 1937)
  • Rymill, J.R. Southern Lights Malvern, The Knell Press, 1986 [reprint of 1939 edition]


  1. ^ "Rymill, John Riddoch (1905 - 1968)". Bright Sparcs. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  2. ^ a b c Béchervaise, John (1988). "Rymill, John Riddoch (1905 - 1968)".  
  3. ^ "Antarctic Exploration.".  
  4. ^ "British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37". Scott Polar Research Institute. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  5. ^ "Perennial Pastures on Old Penola Estate.".  
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Antarctic Obituaries". The Antarctic Circle. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
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