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Colin Putt
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Colin Putt
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Born in 1926 near Auckland N.Z. in a New Zealand pioneer family of farmers, boatbuilders and engineers, Colin Putt has, and continues to lead an extraordinarily diverse and exciting life. He has been on several expeditions to Antarctica, lead an expedition to the Carstensz mountains of West New Guinea, and was part of the first ascent of Big Ben on Heard Island (Australia’s Highest Mountain). He has worked with Dick Smith, Dr. David Lewis to create the Oceanic Research Foundation, and sailed with H.W. Tilman to Greenland. Colin currently works part time teaching Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney, and is also a consulting engineer in plant construction, pilot plant work, design of process equipment.


New Zealand New Guinea Expedition, 1961. Exploration of the northern approach to the Carstensz range in West new Guinea. (“Irian Jaya”) Sponsored by the New Zealand Alpine Club. Expedition leader. Established a practicable route to and up the Noordwand (North wall) and handed over this information and equipment to Heinrich Harrer for his first ascent of Carstensz Pyramid 1962. Unpublished report on geography, geology and demography of the area submitted to sponsors, Mitchell Library and Australian military J.I.B.

South Indian Ocean Expedition to Heard Island, November 1964 – March 1965. First ascent of Mawson Peak (Mt. Big Ben), mapping of Winston Lagoon area, geological collection. Expedition secretary, expedition ship’s engineer, member of shore party/summit party. Reported in “Mostly Mischief” by H.W. Tilman, Hollis and Carter London, 1966

H.W. Tilman’s expedition to the West Greenland coast, June – September 1970. Mate / engineer of pilot cutter Sea Breeze, studying ice pilotage. Reported in “In Mischief’s Wake” by H.W. Tilman, Hollis and Carter London 1971, and in the Journal of the Royal Cruising Club, London, 1971.

Project Blizzard, November 1984 – March 1985, to Commonwealth Bay Antarctica to examine and assess condition of Mawson’s 1911 huts. As mate / engineer of the Oceanic Research Foundation’s vessel “Dick Smith Explorer”. Reported in “Going to Extremes”, J. Chester, Doubleday Australia Sydney 1986.

“Flight of Sarimanok” voyage of replica of 1st century A.D. Austranesian voyaging/trading canoe from Bali to Madagascar. Ship’s carpenter for refit at Padang Bai, Bali and for voyage to Cocos Keeling where put ashore with cholera. Then proceeded Madagascar by air to arrange arrival of Sarimanok.

Mt Minto Expedition, to the Ross sea, January – March 1989, for the first ascent of Mt. Minto in the hinterland of the Ross Sea. Mate / engineer, and on the last leg of the voyage master, of the Oceanic Research Foundation’s vessel “Alan and Vi Thistlethwaite” transporting and supporting the inland / summit party. Reported in “The Loneliest Mountain”, L. Hall, Simon and Schuster Australia, Sydney 1989.



In various kinds of working vessels, not yachts. On the New Zealand and Australian coasts, Tasman sea, Pacific, Southern, Indian and Atlantic oceans. 2 expeditions to Arctic and Antarctic with H.W.Tilman. 2 Antarctic expeditions with the Oceanic Research Foundation. Sarimanok expedition
(replica 1st century voyaging canoe) across Indian Ocean.

Bushwalking / Tramping.

On committees of Auckland and Canterbury university Tramping clubs, 1947-1949
Secretary of the Sydney Bushwalkers, 1953 & 1962
Search & Rescue committee of the Federated Bushwalking Clubs & leader of the Cliff & Mountain Rescue section, 1960s


Climbed in N.Z. with the New Zealand Alpine club from 1947, subsequently in Australia, Wales, Switzerland, Antarctic, Greenland, Norway. Worked in 1957-58 on formation of Australian section of the NZ Alpine Club and introduction of mountaineering training for Australians in N.Z. Leader of the N.Z. Alpine Club expedition to the Carstensz mountains of West New Guinea 1961. Member of the summit party on first ascent of Big Ben on Heard Island (Australia’s highest mountain), 1965.


Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Trustee of the Australian Geographic Society.

Worked with Dick Smith and Dr. David Lewis on formation of the Oceanic Research Foundation, later President of the Foundation. Responsible for selection, fitting out and sailing of O.R.F. ships Solo and Dick Smith Explorer, on expeditions to the Antarctic and the Australian coast.
Member Type
International Member