Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke today made a flying visit to Antarctica to officially open the Wilkins Runway Living Quarters.
The Hon R J L Hawke AC Living Quarters, or Hawke’s Hut, is a two-storey facility housing a mess, kitchen, lounge, laundry and bathroom facilities for runway crews during the summer season.
The Hut is sledmounted to ensure minimal impact on the environment and can be easily moved during winter months to avoid snow buildup.
During his visit Mr Hawke met expeditioners working at Wilkins and nearby Casey station. He was accompanied by the Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Dr Tony Fleming, on the planned, scheduled flight returning research and support personnel from Antarctica
More than 20 years ago, Mr Hawke’s Government led a push to reject mining in Antarctica. That action eventually led to the signing of the Madrid Protocol in 1991, designating the frozen continent as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.