John King Davis

John King Davis (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.

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]

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 HMAT Boonah, carrying troops and horses to Egypt and England.[3]

He also served as Captain of the Discovery in 1929–1930 in the course of the .

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]

Davis was President of the Royal Society of Victoria 1945–1946, 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.[8][9] The Davis Sea, located off the Antarctic coast between longitudes 82°E and 96°E, is named after him.[10]