The Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell today welcomed home the expedition team which has spent the last two months battling extreme elements to complete vital conservation work to protect the iconic Mawson’s Huts in Antarctica.

The five member team of conservators and carpenters from the Mawson’s Huts Foundation arrived in Hobart this morning from Cape Denison aboard the privately operated Australian charter vessel the Sarsen.

“Despite some early delays due to the poor weather, the team did a fantastic job over-cladding the most fragile part of the National Heritage-listed Mawson’s Huts site — the roof of the Main Hut,” Senator Campbell said.

“The building was in danger of eventually being blown to pieces and could have been lost forever in the extreme Antarctic environment without this work.

“The team has also brought home the original Main Hut flagpole which had severely deteriorated due to wind-blown snow and ice. They have brought it back to Australia for heritage assessment and restoration work before it is returned to the site in a future expedition.”

The expeditioners also undertook conservation work on artefacts within the huts and checked and reprogrammed remote sensing equipment.

“I extend my hearty congratulations to the expedition team, led by West Australian Museum conservation scientist Dr Ian Godfrey, for completing this critical programme of work in one of the harshest environments on earth,” Senator Campbell said.

“It has been a very successful project by the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, supported by the Australian Government, and has helped preserve for future generations an outstanding part of Antarctic history and the history of our Nation.”

Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison were used as an exploration base for the 1911–1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition organised by Australian pioneer Sir Douglas Mawson. They include the Main Hut used as living quarters and three smaller scientific huts and have been the focus of several expeditions spearheaded by the Mawson’s Huts Foundation since 1997.