Children and Antarctica

Girl and boy students wearing beanies and gloves with their school uniforms hold the handle of an auger, which is used to drill through ice
Students try out an auger that is used to drill through ice

Children are still relatively rare visitors to Antarctica.

The Australian Antarctic Division ran a science competition for Year 12 students in the late 1980s, in which the prize was a visit to Antarctica. Otherwise, no children have visited Australia's Antarctic stations, and very few have visited any Antarctic stations at all.

A few children have accompanied their parents on tourist trips to the Antarctic. The notable exception to this is Argentina's Esperanza base on the Antarctic Peninsula, where women and children have frequently been sent as part of Argentina's efforts to strengthen its claims to sovereignty over the territory (which is also claimed by Britain and Chile). Indeed the wife of the station leader in 1978 gave birth to the world's first 'native-born' Antarctican.

  • Read the observations about Antarctica [PDF] by Kate Ledingham to the students. Kate was eleven when she expressed this. She has travelled to Antarctica several times with her parents (themselves experienced Antarcticans) on tourist ships.
  • Ask the students to discuss whether or not they would like to visit Antarctica, and if they think children should have the opportunity to live for a year at an Antarctic station. What would be the advantages and disadvantages for the children and for the other members of the community? Write a sample letter to the Australian Antarctic Division and ask if you can go.
This page was last modified on July 2, 2014.