Issues Magazine

Articles about Australasian Antarctic Expedition

100 Years of Australian Antarctic Science

Alistair Forbes Mackay, TW Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson

On 16 January 1909 (L–R) Alistair Forbes Mackay, TW Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson arrived at the South Magnetic Pole after a three-month journey. Credit: Edgeworth David

By Collated by Wendy Pyper*

From the Australasian Antarctic Expedition to today’s Antarctic research program, Australia’s role in Antarctic science has been significant, although not always stable.

As a geologist, Douglas Mawson’s fascination with Precambrian rocks in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia led him to join Shackleton’s 1907–1909 Nimrod expedition to investigate Antarctic glacial geology. His experiences on that expedition inspired him to systematically explore and study Antarctica during the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) and subsequent British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE).

*Information about AAE science in this article was collated from The Home of the Blizzard website The subsequent text (from BANZARE to today) was modified from a chapter written by Professor Michael Stoddart, Former Chief Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division (1998–2009), for the book Australia and the Antarctic Treaty System: 50 Years of Influence, published by UNSW Press in September 2011.