Commonwealth Bay

Aerial shot showing the bay, the peninsula and the wooden hit that looks very small compared to the sea and icy landscape.
Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay and Mawson's Huts (Photo: Alisdair McDonald)
Looking across the bay towards the icy land the water looks wild and cold.The hut still stands with old wooden boxes strewn on the ground behind.An old wooden chair sits in a small room by a hard bunk bed. Books on a shelf are frozen and drip ice.

‘So it came about that the Main Base was finally settled at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay,’ reported Mawson with satisfaction.

Commonwealth Bay is the site at which Douglas Mawson established the headquarters of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) in 1912. Today the wooden buildings in which the 18 men of the Cape Denison party lived for up to two years still stand, although the ferocity of the weather has taken its toll. The Australian Government provides grants to assist in the maintenance of the structures.

Read the stories of the AAE and learn more about the place that was Australia’s gateway to Antarctica.

Current tidal predictions [PDF] for Commonwealth Bay are also available to download.

This page was last modified on 14 September 2012.