At the turn of the 20th century, expeditioners only received news when their ship returned. This was often more than a year later. By the time they learned of family matters and dramatic worldwide events (such as the outbreak of war), it was ‘old news’ for those at home.
In 1912, Australia pioneered the first radio communications in Antarctica at the Commonwealth Bay base. Communications were sent via a relay station at sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. For the first time, expeditioners could receive regular news and send messages back home.
Satellite technology revolutionised communication in the Antarctic in the 1980s.
Today, expeditioners have regular telephone and email access. The Australian Antarctic Division can now host video links between stations and across Australia.