Establishment of the Antarctic Division
The Antarctic Division of the Department of External Affairs was created in May 1948 to administer and coordinate ANARE.In January 1949 Phillip Law was appointed Director of the Antarctic Division and leader of ANARE – a position which he was to hold for the next 17 years.
The work on the subantarctic islands continued to develop, with a wide range of scientific disciplines being studied, but Law wanted the ANARE effort extended to the continent where the greatest scientific opportunities were to be found, so devoted considerable energy to seeking vessels that could safely support extended journeys into the Antarctic pack ice.
His solution to the problem was to look to the northern hemisphere where ice-strengthened vessels lay idle during the northern winter. In 1953 he found a ship, the Kista Dan, that would prove ideal for his purpose of penetrating the Antarctic.
Law's plans to establish a permanent station on the continent were realised in 1954 with the establishment of Mawson, the longest continously operating station in Antarctica. Since first establishing a station at Heard Island 1947 and up to this day, the Australian Antarctic Division has facilitated countless scientific programmes, and currently staffs and maintains four bases at Mawson, Casey,Davis and Macqaurie Island.
In 1959 Australia become one of the original twelve Parties to the Antarctic Treaty System, which then came into force in 1961. The AAD continues to engage at an international level in the furthering of Antarctica as a place for peace and science.
Australia’s scientific programme in Antarctica is now referred to as the Australian Antarctic Program (AAp).The tradition of the name is continued by the ANARE Club, established in 1951, whose members are made up of former Antarctic expeditioners.
The goals of the Australian Antarctic Division are:
- To maintain the Antarctic Treaty System and
enhance Australia’s influence in it;
- To protect the Antarctic environment;
- To understand the role of Antarctica in the
global climate system; and
- To undertake scientific work of practical,
economic and national significance.