Antarctica’s cultural heritage

Bauer (the Macquarie Island Headsman) pointing out the best anchorage at Macquarie Island
Bauer (the Macquarie Island Headsman) pointing out the best anchorage at Macquarie Island (Photo: Frank Hurley)
Sealers moving barrels of penguin oilThe Macquarie Island wireless station – operating and engine houses

Although relatively short, Antarctica's human history has been rich and colourful. Captain Cook was the first recorded approach to the continent in 1772, but it was over a hundred years later that the first group intentionally overwintered at Cape Adare in 1899.

The legacy of human history in the Antarctic includes portable artefacts, buildings, sites, monuments and shipwrecks; documentary evidence such as letters, diaries and administrative documents; and oral and written histories.

The AAD has a commitment to conserve and manage our cultural heritage places and artefacts in the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic regions. The AAD takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding conservation issues and developing appropriate measures, including input from historians, archaeologists, scientists and other specialists. Some sites owned or controlled by the AAD have been designated as nationally and/or internationally important for their cultural heritage significance, and others are being assessed for potential heritage values.