Australian Antarctic Territory

Map of Antarctic claim and Treaty boundaries
Antarctic claim and Treaty boundaries
Group of modern expeditioners at Mawson's Huts

Australia claims 42% of Antarctica, and here students will research how this came to be.

  • Ask students to research how Australia came to claim the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), and the 1929-31 British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Expeditions (BANZARE), both led by Douglas Mawson, laid the basis for Australia's claim to almost 42% of Antarctica. The AAE covered several thousand kilometres on sledge journeys and the two BANZARE voyages mapped from sea and air more than 3000 km of what is now AAT coastline. Mawson's Antarctic achievements and advocacy of Australia's interests there were instrumental both in Britain transferring part of its Antarctic claim to Australia in 1936, and in the Australian government creating the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) in 1947.

Issue - Antarctic Heritage

Some of the first Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions buildings are falling into disrepair. Ask students to research their age and whether they are old enough to be considered a part of history and be preserved, or are they too modern to have heritage value? Mawson's huts from his 1911-1914 expedition have had extensive conservation work requiring continuing maintenance, regular ship visits and costing millions of dollars. Few people go there because it is remote and hard to get to. Should we interfere with the aging process or let nature take its course?

More information about the site is available on the Australian Government Heritage website, and the Home of the Blizzard website.

Read about the expeditions to conserve Mawson's Huts, at Mawson's Huts Foundation. This website includes comprehensive and detailed information on history, work to date, reports and a photo gallery.

This page was last modified on July 1, 2014.