Mawson's Huts, Cape Denison
Mawson’s Huts are a collection of buildings located at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, in the far eastern sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory. The buildings were built and occupied by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911–14, led by geologist and explorer Dr (later Sir) Douglas Mawson.
Mawson’s Huts are of national and international heritage significance. They are rare in a world context as one of just six complexes surviving from the ‘Heroic Era’ of Antarctic exploration: a period of great human adventure, exploration, research and discovery on the last continent to be explored.
The buildings are unique in the context of Australian history as the only surviving site representing the work of an Australian Antarctic expedition during this period. The site also has great heritage values for Australia’s Antarctic interests, since Douglas Mawson’s AAE was the foundation of the modern Australian Antarctic science program.
Mawson’s huts have suffered over the years from the effects of wind, ice and time. A number of recent expeditions by the AAD and the Mawson’s Huts Foundation (a non-profit organisation whose expeditions have been largely funded by the Australian Government) have sought to stabilise the remains.
In 2001, the Mawson’s Huts Foundation commissioned a conservation management plan for the site, which guided works at the site for several years. In 2007, the AAD developed a management plan, to meet its obligations arising from the inclusion of the site on the National Heritage List (in 2005) and Commonwealth Heritage List (in 2004), and to reflect the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty management plans for the Cape Denison Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) and Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA). This plan was reviewed and revised in 2013 and a management plan is available: Mawson’s Huts Historic Site Management Plan 2013–18 [PDF]. In 2014, ASMA No. 3 was de-designated and the boundary of ASPA No. 162 expanded to coincide with the previous ASMA boundary.
Explore the Home of the Blizzard website to find out more about Mawson’s Huts and the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.