1 1 Australia in Antarctica the Australian Antarctic Program
2 The Australian Antarctic Division head office is located in Kingston, Tasmania. (Photo: Wendy Pyper) 2 organisational structure Strategies Branch General Manager Territories, Environment & Treaties Corporate Communications Business Support Financial Services Support Center General Manager Operations People Support Information & Communications Technology Asset Management Mechanical Engineering Director Supply Services Polar Medicine Antarctic Infrastructure Property & Security Parliamentary & Ministerial Liaison Science Branch Chief Scientist Climate Processes & Change Terrestrial & Nearshore Ecosystems Southern Ocean Ecosystem Change 2 Antarctic Modernisation Taskforce Modernisation Program Manager Wildlife Conservation & Fisheries Science Planning & Coordination Science Technical Support Australian Antarctic Data Centre Our Vision...Antarctica: valued, protected and understood Commonwealth of Australia Australian Antarctic Division 203 Channel Highway Kingston, TAS 7050, Australia Phone: Editor: Wendy Pyper Design: giraffe.com.au 20 Year Strategic Plan The Australian Government initiated a 20 year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan in November 2013, led by Dr Tony Press, CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. The plan is focused on the long term strategic challenges and needs for Australia in the Antarctic and addresses the following issues: Expanding the role of Tasmania as the gateway for Antarctic expeditions and scientific research; Ensuring robust and reliable access to the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT); Extending Australia s reach across the AAT; Undertaking nationally and globally significant science; and Exercising influence in the region through the Antarctic Treaty system.
3 The Australian Antarctic Division s instrument workshop at its head office. (Photo: Peter Whyte) Different phytoplankton species are grown to feed krill in the Australian Antarctic Division s krill aquarium. (Photo: Peter Whyte) THE AUSTRALIAN ANTARCTIC DIVISION 3 The Australian Antarctic Division is part of the Australian Government and is responsible for the Advancement of Australia s strategic, scientific, environmental and economic interests in the Antarctic by protecting administering and researching the region. We manage Australia s presence and activities in the Australian Antarctic Territory and the Southern Ocean, and in the subantarctic Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) and their adjacent waters. Our activities include: leading a world class science program under the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan ( to ); operating three permanent Antarctic research stations (Casey, Davis and Mawson), a subantarctic research station on Macquarie Island, and support facilities in Hobart; managing a combined sea, air and continental transport capability; administering and managing the Australian Antarctic Territory and HIMI; and representing Australia s interests in international Antarctic forums and negotiations. Through the Australian Antarctic Division, Australia engages internationally in matters affecting Antarctica; including through the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs and other international forums. The Division also maintains relationships with nations active in eastern Antarctica and with other key bilateral partners, to achieve operational, environmental and scientific goals. Some 300 permanent staff are employed at the Australian Antarctic Division s Kingston headquarters and other locations on the Hobart waterfront (Tasmania). Unlike many other polar programs, Antarctic Division staff are fully integrated across the areas of science, policy and operations, with support from communications and administration personnel. Our facilities house laboratories for science, electronics and electron microscopy, mechanical and instrument workshops, a krill research aquarium, a herbarium, equipment stores, telecommunications infrastructure, and other operational and support facilities. The Antarctic Division s headquarters in Hobart is the foundation stone of Tasmania s role as a gateway for Antarctic science and logistics and provides a major contribution to the Tasmanian economy through employment, skills development and research, and the purchase of goods and services. In summer up to 500 people travel south to work at our Antarctic and subantarctic research stations and to conduct marine science. Most people remain for a short time from weeks to a few months while small wintering teams will remain up to 15 months. Expeditioners include scientists, professionals and tradespeople to run and maintain our stations, voyage management to resupply our stations by ship, aviation teams to support our varied aviation needs, policy-makers, and media and arts representatives. The Australian Antarctic Division Established in 1948; administers the Australian Antarctic program Employs about 300 staff at its Kingston headquarters and locations on the Hobart waterfront in Tasmania Employs between 70 and 200 staff at four research stations at any one time Procures $14-$20 million of goods and services from around 100 Tasmanian businesses annually Administers an annual budget of about $100 million for the Australian Antarctic program
4 Wind turbines at Mawson research station help reduce Australia s environmental footprint in Antarctica. (Photo: John Smith) 4 INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON ANTARCTIC GOVERNANCE Countries cooperate through a set of agreements known as the Antarctic Treaty system, to govern the Antarctic continent and surrounding Southern Ocean. The Australian Antarctic Division provides scientific and policy advice to Government on Australia s engagement in these agreements, as well as representing Australia in the international forums of the Antarctic Treaty system. Antarctic Treaty Australia was an original signatory to the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, alongside 11 other nations, and continues to play a leading role in international Antarctic affairs. The Antarctic Treaty establishes Antarctica as a continent dedicated to peace and science, and puts in place principles including freedom of scientific investigation, exchange of scientific information, protection of the positions of Parties on issues of sovereignty, a ban on nuclear explosions or waste disposal, and rights to conduct inspections of facilities at any time. Each year Australia participates in the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM). We work closely with fellow Parties to the Treaty to preserve Antarctica s unique environment and ensure good governance of the region. Madrid Protocol In 1991, Australia and the other Antarctic Treaty nations signed an historic pact to conserve the Antarctic environment. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (known as the Madrid Protocol) came into force in 1998, providing for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment, and declaring Antarctica as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science. The Madrid Protocol puts in place a system of environmental principles, measures and standards, which make protection of the Antarctic environment a fundamental consideration in the planning and conduct of all activities in the Antarctic Treaty area. The Madrid Protocol bans mining, and requires that all activities be subjected to prior environmental impact assessment. Under the Protocol, a Committee for Environmental Protection develops environmental advice and formulates recommendations to the Antarctic Treaty Parties on the implementation of the Protocol. Australia plays a leading role in this Committee to address existing and emerging environmental challenges. CCAMLR Australia is an original signatory of the 1982 Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Decisions relating to the Convention are made by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), whose secretariat is based in Hobart. Australia s priorities are pursued in line with CCAMLR s objective to conserve Antarctic marine living resources, where conservation includes rational use. Australia has both fishing and conservation interests and is active in the meetings of CCAMLR, with a focus on ecosystem conservation, the sustainable harvest of marine living resources, and establishment of a representative system of marine protected areas within the CCAMLR Convention Area. (Photo: Tony Fleming)
5 Heads of Delegations at the 35th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in 2012, hosted by Australia. (Photo: Richard Jupe) 5 ACAP The multilateral Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) seeks to conserve albatrosses and petrels by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to populations of these endangered seabirds. These threats include mortality resulting from interactions with fishing gear, especially longline and trawl, as well as diseases, habitat loss, pollution and climate change. Through the Australian Antarctic Division the Australian Government is a strong supporter of ACAP, which came into force on 1 February 2004, following the ratification of six Parties (Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Spain, the Republic of South Africa and the United Kingdom). The ACAP Secretariat is based in Hobart, and is responsible for promoting and coordinating activities under the Agreement. Activities by Australians in Antarctica or Heard Island (pictured), which involve scientific sampling, interaction with flora or fauna, or entry into protected areas, require a special permit. (Photo: Kate Kiefer) International Whaling Commission The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is responsible for the conservation and management of whales and whaling. The Australian Antarctic Division, through its Australian Marine Mammal Centre, provides high quality scientific research and advice to the IWC to inform and underpin the policies of the Australian Government for the protection and conservation of whales. Environmental management of Antarctic activities Under Australian law administered by the Australian Antarctic Division, before any activity by an Australian begins in Antarctica or at Heard Island, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) must be carried out. On the basis of this assessment, the activity may be authorised to go ahead. In addition, activities that involve scientific sampling, interaction with flora or fauna, or entry into protected areas, require a special permit. These laws apply to all activities, including those conducted by the Australian Antarctic Division, Antarctic tourist operators, and private expeditioners. As required by the Madrid Protocol, similar laws are in place for all other nations active in Antarctica. The Australian Antarctic Division makes environmental protection a fundamental consideration in the conduct of our own activities. This includes our science activities and all logistic support. In addition to complying with legislation, the Australian Antarctic Division has in place a formal Environmental Management System (EMS) to manage our interaction with the environment in a systematic way. Our EMS has operated since 2002 and is certified to the Australian / New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004. The EMS addresses all the environmentally significant issues we have control of in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, our Australian facilities and our science laboratories and facilities.
6 Australia has been conducting scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for over 100 years. Through the Australian Antarctic Science Program, more than 100 Australian and international institutions undertake projects that are focused on the key scientific and policy questions of the Australian Government. These include the role that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean plays in Australian and global climate systems, the consequences of climatedriven changes, and the diversity, structure, function and vulnerability of terrestrial and marine ecosystems in the region. 6 SCIENCE The Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan to outlines our research priorities conducted through four thematic areas. The first three themes address the priority science needs of government policy and resource management agencies. Climate Processes and Change aims to improve our understanding of the influence of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean on climate in Australia and within the global climate system. Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems: Environmental Change and Conservation looks at the effects of environmental changes on important Antarctic and subantarctic land-based and coastal ecosystems, and provides the scientific basis to guide enhanced environmental protection of these ecosystems. Southern Ocean Ecosystems: Environmental Change and Conservation aims to understand the impact of climate change on Southern Ocean ecosystems, to conserve the wildlife in the region, to protect marine biodiversity, and to inform management of Southern Ocean fisheries. Our fourth theme, Frontier Science, includes projects in any field of research outside the themes, such as astronomy, geosciences, human biology and medicine, and space weather. Projects must demonstrate scientific excellence rather than current policy relevance. The science program includes many ongoing observational activities, including a network of meteorological facilities, ionospheric activity monitoring, geophysical monitoring (seismic, magnetic, GPS) and hydrographic and bathymetric mapping. Much of our research is undertaken within larger international programs such as those of the World Climate Research Programme, International Whaling Commission, Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. Further information: au/science/australian-antarctic-sciencestrategic-plan The Australian Antarctic science program Australian Marine Mammal Centre The Australian Marine Mammal Centre, based at the Australian Antarctic Division, is the first national research centre focused on understanding, protecting and conserving the whales, dolphins, seals and dugongs in the Asia-Pacific region. The Centre coordinates Australia s marine mammal research expertise to provide scientific research and advice to underpin Australia s marine mammal conservation and policy initiatives. The Centre supports an extensive research community throughout Australia, representing over 20 institutions. It also hosts the National Marine Mammal Data Portal for the collation of national sightings, strandings and entangling data. For more information see Australian Antarctic research includes atmospheric science and space weather research. (Photo Justin Chambers) The Australian Antarctic Science Grants scheme awards over $1 million annually for eligible institutions About 60 science projects are undertaken annually through the Australian Antarctic Science Program The Australian Antarctic Science Program supports more than 70 higher-degree students The science program currently collaborates with some 30 Australian research institutions, and 70 international institutions from more than 20 countries.
7 The Australian Antarctic Science Program supports the involvement of Australian and international scientists. For example, a recent seven-week sea ice voyage brought together some 50 scientists from nine countries to study snow, sea ice and its associated biology. (Photo: Wendy Pyper) Working with us The Australian Antarctic Science Program welcomes and supports involvement by Australian and international scientists willing to contribute to advancing Australia s interests in Antarctica and the subantarctic region. Projects involving collaboration across the Australian and international research communities on larger, integrated science projects are encouraged. All researchers seeking support from the Australian Antarctic program and/or requiring funding grants need to apply through an online project application form. An application round is held every two years. Applications are assessed by the Antarctic Research Assessment Committee on scientific excellence and against the goals of the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan. For further information contact gov.au 7 Data Management The Antarctic Treaty provides for the free exchange of scientific information. Australia actively encourages open and timely access to scientific observations and measurement through the Australian Antarctic Data Centre (AADC). Themes and Streams of the Australian Antarctic Science Program The (AADC) works collaboratively with international centres, networks and scientists to build a sustainable polar data commons ( The AADC also provides: Theme 1 Climate Processes and Change Theme 2 Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems: Environmental Change and Conservation Theme 3 Southern Ocean Ecosystems: Environmental Change and Conservation Theme 4 Frontier Science Data capture, management and analysis services to Antarctic scientists and environmental managers. Maps and mapping skills to support logistical operations of the Australian Antarctic program. The Antarctic ice sheet Trends and sensitivity to change Marine ecosystems change Advice on spatial data collection methods and developing data capture software. For further information contact Oceans and marine ice in the Southern Hemisphere Vulnerability and spatial protection Wildlife conservation Atmospheric processes and change Human impacts: prevention, mitigation and remediation Southern Ocean fisheries Antarctic palaeoclimate Protecting marine biodiversity
8 Australia transports up to 200 passengers to Antarctica each summer, and a limited amount of cargo, via its intercontinental aircraft, an Airbus A LR. (Photo: Nisha Harris) 8 operations research Stations On 9 July 1947 Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition(s) (ANARE) was formed to create research stations in the subantarctic and Antarctic. An Australian presence was established on subantarctic Macquarie Island (54 30 S E) in 1949 and in 1954 Australia s first continental station was established at Mawson (67 36 S E). Davis (68 35 S E) and Casey (66 17 S E) stations were subsequently established in 1957 and 1969 respectively. Today Australia s four research stations have facilities for power generation, sewage works and water making. They also have scientific laboratories, mechanical workshops, a medical facility, food and equipment storage, communications facilities, and living quarters including kitchen, mess, recreation rooms, library and bedrooms. About 20 people winter at each station. In summer the population at all four stations swells to a total of about 200, as scientific, building and maintenance programs continue. Transport Australia requires an icebreaking ship to resupply its four stations and conduct marine research. Since 1989 the multi-purpose research and resupply ship, Aurora Australis, has fulfilled this role. As the ship is approaching the end of its working life, options for future shipping arrangements are now being investigated. Australia transports up to 200 passengers to Antarctica each summer, and a limited amount of cargo, using an intercontinental Airbus A LR. The Airbus was the first commercial jet to land in Antarctica and required a purpose-built glacial ice runway (Wilkins Runway), situated about 70 km from Casey station. Flights take about 4.5 hours from Hobart. Early in the season flights often operate between Christchurch (New Zealand) and McMurdo station. In 2013 the Australian Government committed $38 million to extend the runway at Hobart Airport, which will increase capacity for long-range logistical supply. Intracontinental transport includes helicopters, fixed-wing light aircraft and overground transport. Helicopters are used to assist ship navigation through pack ice, ship to shore carriage of expeditioners and cargo, ship-based support of marine science, and field-based operations in Antarctica and the subantarctic region. Light aircraft and overground transport ferry passengers and equipment between stations and field sites. Light aircraft utilise ski-ways close to each station. Hobart Australia s Antarctic Gateway Hobart s port is an international gateway for Antarctic research and tourist vessels. The French vessel L Astrolabe operates out of Hobart and a number of other ships, including Russia s Kapitan Khlebnikov and China s Xue Long have visited on their way to or from Antarctica. Hobart is also the world s largest precinct for Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. As well as the Australian Antarctic Division it is home to the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, the Antarctic Climate and
9 Macquarie Island research station. (Photo: Gregory Stone) Casey research station. (Photo: Chris Wilson) 9 Davis research station. (Photo: Jenny Feast) Mawson research station. (Photo: James Bumak) Mawson research station is 15 days by sea Davis research station is 12 days by sea Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), CSIRO, and the secretariats for CCAMLR and the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. In 2013 the Australian Government provided $25 million for the ACE CRC to continue its world class climate research for another five years. A further $24 million over three years was promised to develop a centre for Antarctic and Southern Ocean research in Tasmania. Hobart s Macquarie Wharf 2 was redeveloped and opened in 2013, providing a biosecure facility for the screening and management of all cargo and equipment moving south. The $2.5 million facility has vermin traps, impenetrable walls and automatic shutter doors to reduce the risk of introduced species travelling south on ships. The centre also has a cold and cool store, fumigation area, briefing rooms, and warehousing space. The cruise terminal facilities within the building are used by families and friends to greet and farewell Antarctic expeditioners. Macquarie Island research station is 4 days by sea 4838 km 1542km 5475 km DISTANCES FROM HOBART 3443 km Casey research station is 8 days by sea
10 Since 1989 Australia has operated the research and resupply icebreaker, Aurora Australis. (Photo: Wendy Pyper) 10 Telecommunications The Australian Antarctic Division operates a telecommunications network linking the three Antarctic research stations, Macquarie Island in the subantarctic, field bases, chartered ships and aircraft, and the head office complex at Kingston. The telecommunications system has evolved from the early days of Morse Code and large valve transmitters to today s satellite and computer technology, as it constantly adapts to meet the changing needs of Australia s Antarctic program. Today, the Antarctic telecommunications network consists of satellite systems, HF and VHF radio systems, computer networks and telephone systems. Telecommunications personnel run experiments, maintain telecommunications equipment and conduct radio operations. The telecommunications network supports Australia s Antarctic Science Program by providing the means for experiments to be remotely monitored, data transferred in an expedient manner, and for scientists to consult with their colleagues back in Australia and around the world. The network also enables expeditioners on station to send , browse the Internet, and talk on the telephone to friends and family. Remote medicine Our Polar Medicine Unit is a leader in remote medicine and telemedicine. Satellite communication links from Antarctica to medical practitioners at the Australian Antarctic Division, and medical and dental specialists around Australia, provide critical e-health support to lone Antarctic doctors. Narrow bandwidth networks allow telephone consultation and digital transmission of X-rays, ultrasound and clinical images 24 hours a day. The Polar Medicine Unit has also designed a medical facility in a shipping container so that doctors can deal with life-threatening medical and surgical emergencies on chartered research vessels in Antarctic waters. The Australian Antarctic Division s headquarters in Hobart is the foundation stone of Tasmania s role as a gateway for Antarctic science and logistics.
11 Australia s Antarctic Media Program is open to journalists, photographers and film-makers. (Photo: Esmee van Wijk) antarctic outreach 11 The Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship enables an artistic interpretation of Antarctica and our research. (Photo: Keldyn Francis) Media, artists, writers, photographers, educators, tourists and explorers all have a role to play in telling the stories of Antarctica s special place on our planet. MEdia Our media staff provide information to journalists to promote the work of the Australian Antarctic program. Media representatives can also apply to travel to Antarctica to report on research activities in the field and in the Southern Ocean. Australia s Antarctic Media Program is open to: television and radio journalists and news crews print journalists and photographers freelance writers and photographers film and documentary makers For more information contact arts fellowship The Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship enables those with a non-science focus to experience Antarctica first-hand so that they may communicate this unique experience and understanding to others. The Fellowship takes the form of either a ship voyage or flight to Antarctica and associated logistical support, including food, accommodation and transport. Applications open every year between January and March. For more information see Exhibitions and events The Australian Antarctic Division holds or contributes to a range of exhibitions and events each year. This may include hosting or facilitating an event and providing marketing and media expertise, providing visual material such as posters, banners, photographs and video, and providing printed material such as fliers, brochures, booklets and magazines. Education A comprehensive online teaching resource called Classroom Antarctica ( ) has been developed for grades 5 to 8. Each unit has a selection of activities that teachers can mix and match to meet their school, state or national learning objectives. Printed resources are also available and schools can borrow polar clothing kits. For more information contact Library The Australian Antarctic Division Library supports the research activities of the Australian Antarctic program and provides a national resource of Antarctic and subantarctic information. The collection includes books, magazines and journals that support current scientific themes, and historical resources. Researchers and individuals with a specialist interest in the Antarctic may access the collection by appointment. Please contact Publications Australian Antarctic Magazine is produced twice a year to inform the Australian and international Antarctic community about activities of the Australian Antarctic program. It is available online at au/about-us/publications/australianantarctic-magazine or by contacting A range of other publications, reports, brochures and fact sheets are available online at Website The Australian Antarctic Division website ( hosts the latest news from the Australian Antarctic program, details of all our activities, videos, picture galleries, and shipping and air schedules. You can also view webcams for our stations, ship and krill aquarium.
12 40 S STATIONS IN ANTARCTICA 0 SOUTH AFRICA 12 ARGENTINA CHILE 90 W South Pole 90 E ANTARCTICA 80 S 60 S Mawson Davis Heard Island and McDonald Islands Casey Legend Australian station Other station Macquarie Island Kilometres Projection: Polar Stereographic True scale at 71 S Hobart! Produced by the Australian Antarctic Data Centre Published November 2013 Commonwealth of Australia Map Catalogue No: NEW ZEALAND AUSTRALIA 180