Davis research station turns 60

At 4 pm on 13 January 1957, expeditioners gathered at the flagpole to officially recognise the establishment of Davis research station.
At 4 pm on 13 January 1957, expeditioners gathered at the flagpole to officially recognise the establishment of Davis research station. (Photo: Phil Law Collection)

Davis research station marked the 60th anniversary of its establishment on 13 January 2017.

A team of expeditioners, led by former Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Dr Phillip Law, established Davis station in the Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica, in January 1957.

The station consisted of seven buildings and was erected in just eight days, before a hardy team of five expeditioners was left at the site for the winter ahead – led by Officer In Charge Bob Dingle (Australian Antarctic Magazine 31: 24, 2016).

The station was named after famous Antarctic navigator and ship Master, Captain John King Davis. Captain Davis was a central figure in the early exploration of Antarctica, as Master of the Aurora and the Discovery during several expeditions led by Sir Douglas Mawson and Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The research station has since become a hub for international engagement and a significant base for a range of scientific studies. As Davis is very close to the Chinese, Indian and Russian stations, Australia is developing collaborations on joint science and logistical projects with these countries.

Today’s modern research station now supports up to 90 expeditioners in summer and 20 in winter, with research focussing on environmental protection, climate processes and change, conservation and management of Antarctica, and flora and fauna.

Davis is the second oldest of Australia’s Antarctic stations. Mawson research station was established in February 1954 and construction of the current Casey research station started in 1964. The sub-Antarctic research station on Macquarie Island was established in March 1948 and has been operating continuously since.

Corporate Communications
Australian Antarctic Division