Douglas Mawson reading a proclamation during BANZARE
Douglas Mawson Proclamation during BANZARE
February 7, 1933
I, sir Douglas Mawson, do hereby so claim and declare to all men that from and after the date of the present, the full sovereignty of the territory that we have discovered and explored south of latitude sixty-four degrees and as far as the south pole, this in his majesty King George the fifth, his heirs and successors, forever.
Fuel munching microbes help clean up Antarctica
Environmental Scientist and Field Manager Tim Spedding:
We work on a number of projects looking at the remediation of contaminated sites in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic and that involves looking at old fuel spills and remediating and assessing old fuel spills as well as looking at the best technologies to remediate old tip sites.
Australia does have certain obligations under the Madrid Protocol and that doesn’t necessarily mean full scale remediation but certainly would involve a recognition and risk management of old tip sites and old fuel spills. Almost all of the impacts related to Australian activity in Antarctica are around the old stations, there’s an effect on the soil and the water. There is always the risk of further migration of contaminants and then you will certainly have impacts on wildlife as well. But one of the biggest things certainly with fuel is that visible sheen on the water which is an aesthetic issue as well as toxicological issue.
At Casey we have a team of seven people working on both fuel spill at the main powerhouse, as well as the old tip site at Thala Valley – looking at the final clean up of that. At Casey we have been working for the last 5 or 6 years on the containment of a fuel spill we’ve installed a permeable reactive barrier which basically intercepts any contaminated water flowing from the contaminated area and preventing it from migrating into the ocean and into fresh water lakes.
This year we are also looking at bio-piles, rather than dealing with the material in-situ we actually end up excavating the material and treating it in stockpiles and then once remediated you can return the clean soil back to where it was excavated from.
Fuel is just a source of food for a lot of micro-organisms that naturally occur in the soil and really all we try to do is create the best environment for those micro-organisms to live and break down that fuel, thereby remediating that soil. So what we do is we end up adding oxygen, aerating the soil, as well as adding nutrients, using nitrogen and some phosphorous, again just to encourage the micro-organisms to be very active in degrading and breaking down the fuel in the soil.
At Macquarie Island we have an ongoing fuel remediation program there around the old fuel farm as well as the main powerhouse and we have a team of three people going down there this year. We are using the same principles of encouraging the micro-organisms to break the fuel down. But what we are doing is aerating the soil, so we haven’t excavated the soil at all, we are dealing with contaminated area as it is and we are injecting air as well as nutrients into the ground.
The way most Antarctic nations, and certainly Australia, operate in the Antarctic has changed considerably in terms of waste management practices, certainly over the last 10–15 years. Australian operations these days, almost all of the material that is taken down south that isn’t used is returned to Australia, which is a major step forward.
Mark Williams – Mawson station leader 2011
Mawson Station Leader Mark Williams:
My name’s Mark Williams I’m from Brisbane in Queensland and I am a Police Officer by occupation. I am going down to Mawson for the winter of 2011.
I have been in the Police for over 30 years now and most of that time was spent with criminal investigation anything from basic crime, right through to murders. I love the outdoors, I am tri-athlete, I go bushwalking, surfing, it’s going to be a challenge to realign the things I like to do down south. I’ve looked for this sort of a job for the last 10 years. It’s an opportunity to do something that is really different and to follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest explorers that Australia has ever known.
I’ve worked with people for many years, I really enjoy the interaction with people. The opportunity to work in a small environment with very enthusiastic people is something that I have always dreamed of and to be a platform for the launching of some great scientific expeditions, in particular the Adelie penguins.
Some of the challenges I may face over the next year will be during the winter period, when we have periods of darkness and really bad weather and to keep the morale of the people high and keep them busy so they continue to enjoy their stay.
I am the luckiest guy on earth, if you asked me could I pick a station to go to, I would have picked Mawson. I have been a fan of Sir Douglas Mawson for many many years and to go to Mawson station as the Station Leader for a year is probably one of the highlights of my life.