Thousands of men and women have travelled south over the years since the establishment of ANARE in 1947. All have lived and worked in one of the most challenging environments on the planet for periods of time ranging from a few weeks to eighteen months.

Today Australia administers three Antarctic stations, Casey, Davis and Mawson, and maintains a permanent subantarctic base on Macquarie Island. It conducts an extensive marine science program on its own icebreaker ship, RSV Aurora Australis.

Scientists, plumbers, electricians, chefs, carpenters, builders, communications technicians, doctors and engineers have all played an important role in the development and maintenance of our Antarctic program.

The way in which people live and work has changed greatly over the past 60 years. Advances in technology have impacted most obviously on communications and travel, but also on other aspects of daily life such as building techniques, food preservation, water supply, clothing and power generation.

Operational advances and local community cultural changes go hand in hand. As people’s experiences of Antarctica change, so too do their responses. There has been a major shift in perception of the expeditioner experience from one of survival in a hostile climate, to one of living responsibly in a fragile, pristine environment. 

Southern stories 

From 2001–2012, various blogs and diaries, and expeditioner stories, helped us follow the changing nature of living and working in Antarctica.

The Australian Antarctic Division currently produces a bi-monthly newsletter, quarterly magazine, weekly station news updates and regular news items to keep the public informed of activities down south.