The Assistant Minister for the Environment and Water Resources John Cobb and the Australian Antarctic Division invite public comment on the management of Australia’s most significant historic site in Antarctica.

The Mawson’s Huts Historic Site contains the remains of the base established in 1912 at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica by Australian geologist and explorer, Douglas Mawson.

Mr Cobb said that Dr Mawson was a major player in the Heroic Age in Antarctic exploration and ranks alongside Amundsen, Shackleton and Scott.

“Mawson instigated what became the forerunner of Australia’s current Antarctic endeavours, as it was he who lobbied the government of the time to fund Antarctic research.

“His forays into Antarctic research and exploration earned him a knighthood in 1914 from King George V.

“Cape Denison is an inhospitable part of Antarctica — the place Mawson named ‘the home of the blizzard'.

“The buildings and artefacts have withstood the elements since Mawson and his men left late in 1913.

“The site comprises the intact main hut where Mawson and his men lived and worked, and the magnetograph building which housed his measuring instruments. Two other are in ruins,” Mr Cobb said.

The Mawson’s Huts Historic Site is registered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on the National and Commonwealth Heritage lists. It is protected as a Historic Site, an Antarctic Specially Protected Area, and an Antarctic Specially Managed Area under the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol).

The closing date for public comment is 27 August, 2007.