International Geophysical Year (IGY)
In 1958 a new Lauritzen vessel, Thala Dan, was brought into service for ANARE.
The expedition conducted a coastal survey in Oates Land, in the eastern sector of AAT, completed the annual relief of Davis and Mawson stations, and concluded with a survey westward to Enderby Land. This complemented extensive inland surveys that had been completed by the winter parties.
By the time the IGY commenced, Law had established Australia's ability to visit most parts of the AAT and to collect data simultaneously from a station in the subantarctic, two permanently occupied continental stations, and an automatic weather station which had been installed on Lewis Island in Wilkes Land.
The conclusion of the IGY saw Australia firmly committed to continuing exploration and research in AAT and in 1958 Law was able to negotiate the transfer to Australian administrative control of Wilkes, which had been established for the IGY by the United States.
Wilkes, on the coast of what is now Law Dome, was permanently placed in Australian custody on 4 February 1959. Due to snow and ice build up, Wilkes was closed replaced at first by Casey Repstat and later by modern-day Casey.
The IGY had proved to be a hugely productive scientific experiment and had demonstrated that many nations could amicably work together in the Antarctic.
The spirit of cooperation that evolved during IGY prompted proposals that this uniquely successful scheme should be continued, leading to formation of the Antarctic Treaty in December 1959. Australia's credibility in Antarctic matters gave it a significant influence in the establishment of the Treaty. When the Treaty was ratified in 1961 Australia had become a leading nation in Antarctic science and exploration.
International Polar Year 2007-09
In 2007, Australia joined scientists from more than 60 other nations to examine a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics.
The IPY explored new scientific frontiers, deepened our understanding of polar processes and their links to global processes, increased our ability to detect changes, attracted and developed the next generation of polar scientists, engineers and logistic experts, and captured the imagination of the global community.
The IPY contributed to six major themes
- determine the present environmental status of polar regions;
- quantify and understand change in the polar regions;
- advance our understanding of connections between the poles and the rest of the globe;
- investigate the frontiers of science in the polar regions;
- use the unique vantage point of the polar regions to investigate from the Earth's inner core to the Sun and the cosmos beyond; and
- investigate the cultural, historical, and social processes of circumpolar human societies.