coast and mountains of Mac Robertson Land were first sighted and named
on January 1st 1930 following a seaplane reconnaissance by Sir Douglas
Mawson from the ship, Discovery, during the British, Australian, New
Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) of 1929-31. Mawson named
the newfound territory Mac Robertson Land after Macpherson Robertson,
a keen supporter of Australia's role in Antarctica, and took possession
in the name of the crown. The mountains around the region were named
after honoured Australian explorers and researchers.
Mac Robertson Land coastline was first charted during the second cruise
of the expedition in February 1931. The first landing on the coast was
made by Mawson at Cape Bruce on February 18th 1931. The coast of Mac
Robertson Land was again photographed from aircraft during the 1946-47
American expedition 'Operation Highjump'. In 1953 these photographs
were used by Dr Phillip Law to select possible landing places on the
coast to establish an over-wintering station on the Antarctic continent.
Law identified Horseshoe Harbour as the first priority for a station
sited on rock.
Approval was obtained to mount a small expedition to sail to Antarctica
in the summer of 1953-54 in the Kista Dan. On February 13th 1954, a
party led by Dr Law raised the Australian flag at the Mawson Station
site. In the first year a party of ten Australians over-wintered under
the leadership of Robert Dovers. By the end of 1954 they had erected
the Living Quarters, the Works Hut, the Engine Shed, two Store Huts
and a Carpenter's Shop.
1966 the number of buildings had increased to more than fifty, a major
accomplishment being the construction in 1956 of the first aircraft
hangar to be built in Antarctica. Now the station consists of an accumulation
of buildings that date from its origins (many of these have been superseded)
to the currently occupied AANBUS buildings. Mawson is now one of the
longest continuously operating stations in Antarctica and the oldest
south of the Antarctic Circle. On February 13th 2000, Mawson Station
was 46 years old.
main aim of the 53rd ANARE at Mawson is to conduct and support science
in Antarctica. The science being conducted at Mawson contributes to
international research efforts within the following areas:
Science, Meteorology, Geophysics, Clean air monitoring, Adelie penguin
monitoring and research, Weddell Seal Research, Emperor penguin population
assessment, Human impact studies, Cosmic Ray research and Atmospheric
and Space Physics.