Macquarie Island Modernisation Project

Aerial view of Macquarie Island research station.
The Macquarie Island research station has been operating since 1948. (Photo: Greg Stone)

The Macquarie Island Research Station Modernisation Project has been established to construct a new research station on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island that is flexible, functional and meets the long term needs of the Australian Antarctic Program and its key stakeholders.

The new station will allow for a continued year-round presence on the island in support of high priority science and long-term monitoring, including the work of:

The existing research station was built in 1948, and has been operating continually ever since. The construction of the new research station will take six years, with completion expected in the 2021–22 financial year. The overall project will be running until the 2026–27 financial year to allow for the full decommissioning of the existing station.

The primary focus of the new construction will be to minimise the station’s physical size, simplify and reduce long-term station maintenance and, where feasible, incorporate new technologies that allow for system improvements, including automation.

The project team will work with key stakeholders to minimise disruptions to priority science during construction. The Australian Antarctic Division will also conduct risk assessments regarding the condition of the current station, to maintain a safe living and working environment until the new station is completed. 

Existing buildings that are surplus to long-term requirements will be decommissioned, with the number and location of buildings reduced and consolidated from 48 to less than 10. At the same time the island’s network of field huts will be updated – with the construction of three new huts and the refurbishment of three existing huts. Waste materials will be returned to Australia for disposal.

The Macquarie Island Research Station Modernisation Project has a responsibility to meet regulatory, statutory and legislative requirements relating to the environmental and cultural heritage management of Macquarie Island, including the following Acts and instruments:

  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth)
  • National Park and Reserves Management Act 2002 (Tasmania)
  • Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and World Heritage Area Management Plan 2006 (Tasmania).