In November, 2011, as a way of involving Australian school students in the Mawson centenary, the Australian Antarctic Division invited those in grades 5 to 9 to take part in a competition.

The challenge? What is your vision for Antarctica 100 years from now? Tell us, in 100 words or less, your thoughts and ideas for Antarctica by the time we reach Mawson’s bicentenary in 2111.

Hundreds of students from around the country took the opportunity to have their say, and the range of views was diverse.

The winning entries are among a range of documents contained in a time capsule installed at the Mawson’s Huts site at Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica, during a ceremony to mark the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by Douglas Mawson.

For those opening the capsule in 100 years it will be interesting to see whether the thoughts, visions and concerns of these young people about the Antarctic continent were realised.

Competition winning entries

Grade 5

In a hundred years, the poles will shift,
There'll be a continental drift,
Just stand there still, and close your eyes,
And picture 30,000 flies.

The arid air,
So hot but nice,
Where used to be,
Antarctic ice.

Anton Korsun
Caringbah North Primary School
New South Wales

Grade 6

I think in Antarctica’s future, a good thing to change might be to introduce a new, scientific station. This station could be open to schools, camps or even interested tourists. By visiting this station, the visitors can see for themselves the place that they have only read about. If we let more people into these stations to learn about the wildlife and sites of Antarctica, we could be training and teaching the future scientists of the world. The ones that in 10 years’ time might be following Mawson’s uncovering the secret to the icy continent of Antarctica.

Molly Chapman
Wilderness School
Medindie, South Australia

Grade 7

My view for Antarctica in 2111 is that it will be an open sanctuary; a home for both land animals and sea creatures. Scientists can go there to study ecosystems and climate, but they will not live there permanently. People don’t live in a science laboratory, and neither will they live in Antarctica. Tourism will be possible, but will tightly controlled, and only in certain seasons. Many nations will cooperate to conserve Antarctica, and prevent exploitation of the land and wildlife. I hope that Antarctica can help us understand how to preserve our planet from climate change.

Sophie Anderson
Danebank: An Anglican School for Girls
Hurstville, New South Wales

Grade 8

In 100 years, Antarctica should have a fully-operating station and town. People should be able to visit the continent for school excursions and camps. These excursions would educate the youth of Australia and provide awareness of global warming and its impact on Antarctica’s animals. By this stage, a new clothing line would be developed to be able to live in Antarctica without the risk of frostbite. This clothing would be light, durable and would come in many designs, sizes and patterns. There would also be an Antarctic zoo that protected endangered species. This zoo would be visited by people who have travelled to Antarctica. In 100 years from now, Antarctica will be just as developed as the rest of the world.

Alyssa Murray
St John’s College
Nambour, Queensland

Grade 9

As eager tourists, we should be excited for the future of Antarctica. In 100 years, Antarctica will be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Newly improved buildings will be constructed including hotels, recreational facilities, services, shopping centres and more scientific laboratories. It will be the ultimate holiday place for people looking for adventure and wanting to see one of the most amazing sceneries in the world. But what about the animals? Their habitat will be ruined by these facilities and pollution from us humans. Antarctica’s beauty will decrease dramatically without these animals.

Tara Lewis
St Aloysius Catholic College
Kingston, Tasmania