A important Builder's half model of the Terra Nova, 1450 x 340 x 140mm., Dundee, 1885
Terra Nova was built by the Dundee shipyard of Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd, managed by William Stephen, and was launched in 1884 for the Dundee Whaling and Seal Fishing Fleet. At 187ft. (57m) long, she was specially strengthened for hard use in the Polar ice and she spent the first ten years of her life working in the Labrador Sea.
Her first contact with Polar exploration was in 1894, when she was employed as relief ship to the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition of 1894-97. She was purchased by the Canadian Bowring Brothers in 1897 and was chartered in 1903 to sail in company with the Morning to the assistance of RRS Discovery under Captain Scott.
The British Antarctic Expedition bought the vessel in 1909 from Bowring Brothers and, reinforced with 7ft. of oak, she sailed a year later under the command Captain Scott to the South Pole. In his journals, Scott spoke well of the ship, describing her as a wonderful ice ship. Following the tragedy of Scott and his companions, Terra Nova returned to the UK in 1913 and was re-purchased by Bowring for the Newfoundland fishery.
By 1918 she had been chartered to carry coal for the Dominion Steel and Coal Company in Canada, and then in 1942 she was chartered to supply US bases in Greenland by the Newfoundland Base Contractors. In September of the following year she sprang a serious leak and foundered off SW Greenland, after nearly sixty years of strenuous service.