Although relatively short, Antarctica's human history has been rich and colourful. Captain Cook made the first recorded approach to the continent in 1772, but it was over 100 years later when the first group of expeditioners intentionally overwintered at Cape Adare in 1899.

The legacy of human history in the Antarctic includes:

  • physical objects such as portable artefacts, buildings, sites, monuments and shipwrecks
  • documentary evidence such as letters, diaries and administrative documents
  • 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 conservation measures. This includes 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. More sites are being assessed for potential heritage values.

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