Replicating history

Mawson's Huts at Cape Denison, Antarctica.
Mawson's Huts at Cape Denison, Antarctica. (Photo: Dean Lewins)

A replica of Douglas Mawson’s historic Main Hut at Cape Denison opened on Hobart’s waterfront in December (2013), as part of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE, 1911–1914) centenary celebration. The replica venture is an initiative of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, with $350 000 in assistance from the Australian Government.

The hut was constructed in Hobart by a team of heritage carpenters who have worked on the actual huts at Cape Denison, as well as students. It was then transported in three sections to its final location near the Hobart waterfront and the interior was fitted out to replicate the hut as it was when occupied by the AAE. The replica is expected to be a major tourist attraction that will help fund future conservation of the original huts.

Conservation of the original huts received a further boost, after the Australian Government this year provided $472 725 in funding through the Your Community Heritage grants program, for conservation expeditions to Cape Denison.

The main priorities for the conservation work in Antarctica, conducted by the Mawson’s Huts Foundation and the Australian Antarctic Division, are the stabilisation of the Main Hut and associated structures, removal of interior ice and the prevention of snow getting inside the structures.

For more information about the replica project see the Mawson's Huts website.