Cultural heritage at Davis
In 1957, in time for the International Geophysical Year (IGY), Australia established its second Antarctic station, Davis, named after the outstanding Antarctic mariner, John King Davis, captain of Mawson's Aurora (1911-14) and Discovery (1929-31). The history of Davis station differs from other ANARE stations as it is the only one not to have been continuously occupied.
Davis station was closed from 1965 to 1968 to concentrate limited resources on building Australia's third station, Casey. Because of its benign coastal climate on the edge of the Vestfold Oasis, Davis is known as the Riviera of the South.
The station was registered on the Register of the National Estate on 26 October 1999. Some 37 station buildings are included in the assessment. Three buildings are identified as having exceptional cultural significance, four as having considerable cultural significance, and 15 as having some significance.
The following sites and buildings are also listed:
- Platcha Hut is the oldest surviving field refuge in the Davis area, and is the only example of this type of ANARE field refuge remaining in near to original condition. It is also the only example of an early ANARE automatic weather station.
- Brookes and Watts Huts. Of these four huts, two represent a small number of surviving Post Tensioned Boxes (PTB) Mark 111 structures used as field refuges at ANARE stations.
- The Mikkelsen Cairn marks the discovery of the Vestfold Hills, and the first known landing by a woman, Carolyn Mikkelsen, in Antarctica in 1935.
- Walkabout Rocks, one of three Wilkins' Sites in the region, marks the location at which Sir Hubert Wilkins asserted Australia's territorial claims, the only memorial of early Australian visitation to this part of the AAT.
- Law Cairn marks the first ANARE landing in the Vestfold Hills. This visit by Phillip Law was an important precursor to the later establishment of an Australian presence in the area.