The Great White Whale

Deep in the wild Southern Ocean, halfway between Australia and South Africa, a snowy volcano, nine thousand feet high, rears up from the sea like a great white whale.

Five times that great white whale of a mountain, tried to kill the first team that sort to reach its summit. Yet in 1963, back they sailed, through the worst seas in the world, to try again, this time with legendary explorer, Bill Tilman as their skipper.

This is the extraordinary tale those first attempts to climb Big Ben, the smoking glacier ringed volcano on Heard Island, Australia’s loneliest, most remote outpost, told by those who were there. At times, expeditioner John Crick sings the story too, as befits such an epic saga.

The beautifully shot original footage of the expedition, the brilliant music score, the quirky humour of the expeditioners, the utter boldness of the quest, adds spice to one of the least known yet most audacious Australian adventure tales of the 20th century.

“Gripping, edge of the seat stuff.”

‘An absolute triumph. I found the film incredibly powerful.”


View Trailer  Directed and Produced by Michael Dillon. Editor: Mike Balson. Sound: Michael Worthington. Music: Paul Jarman.  
Prize & Best Director, Mendi International Mountain Film Festival, December 2023 Balboa, Spain

The Great White Whale – The Back Story

Interviews, Reviews, Articles

Exhibitor Enquiries and Downloads 

The Heard Island Expeditions Celebrated on Stamps!