Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 399. Updated Tuesday, 04 March 2014

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Mawson centenary commemorated

The Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, has marked the 100th anniversary of Sir Douglas Mawson's return from the Antarctic on 26 February 1914.

Mr Hunt said the two-year Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) represented the genesis of Australia's modern Antarctic program and laid the foundations for the establishment of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

He said their scientific work produced volumes of daily observations of temperature, pressure, humidity, snowfall, wind speed and direction, magnetic and tide measurements, as well as descriptions of the geology and plant and animal life of Cape Denison.

Genesis of Antarctic program

Many of their observations and collections are being used today, providing 100 years of comparative data for monitoring environmental change.

Just as science was a priority for the expedition, it continues to play a key role in the future of Australia in Antarctica, Mr Hunt said.

He said the 20-year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan is due to be delivered in July and will focus on ensuring that Australia remains a leading Antarctic nation.

He said the Antarctic environment must be preserved not just for a short period, but for the long run and Australia has a major role to play in achieving that outcome.

The end of the centenary is being commemorated by the Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart.

It has staged an exhibition of photographs depicting the day-to-day lives and challenges of the 32 expedition members at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

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