Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Melting an ice man

‘In this stern country of biting facts one’s love gets frozen in deeper ... Know Darling that in this frozen South I can always wring happiness from my heart by thinking of your splendid self.’

1Sir Douglas Mawson, c. 1916 Thomson Studios. 2Paquita Mawson, late 1940s Ingrid Erns.

Adelaide, 1909. Paquita Delprat was seventeen when she met Douglas Mawson, recently returned from an Antarctic expedition. In late 1910 Mawson wrote to Paquita’s father, GD Delprat, declaring: ‘I have drifted into an intense love for Paquita, and if a lifelong union is not realised my life shall be forever blighted.’ But there was a catch. ‘In all probability I shall go to the Antarctic … next year … then I shall return with your consent to my dear love.’ Delprat, though knowing Mawson to be a fellow of integrity, had understandable concerns. But Paquita accepted Mawson’s offer, knowing it would be a long, anxious wait before the nuptials – assuming he came back from Antarctica intact. The kicker is that things in Antarctica went horribly wrong, with Mawson coming close to dying a dreadful, desolate death in 1913. It’s said the thought of Paquita kept him alive. They were wed, finally, in March 1914, over three years after Mawson had popped the question.

That’s one to get your heart started! You are 9 stories away from seeing your love score...

Choose your next love story

Related information

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

Café and shop

The café is open 9:00am-3:30pm every day. The shop is open 10:00am to 5:00pm every day.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.