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British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The British Australian (and) New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) was a research expedition into Antarctica between 1929 and 1931, involving two voyages over consecutive Austral summers. It was a British Commonwealth initiative, driven more by geopolitics than science, and funded by the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Douglas Mawson's team claim Mac. Robertson Land for the Crown during the BANZARE expedition
Douglas Mawson's team claim Mac. Robertson Land for the Crown during the BANZARE expedition

The leader of the BANZARE was Sir Douglas Mawson and there were several subcommanders (Captain K.N. MacKenzie, who replaced Captain John King Davis for the second summer) on board the RRS Discovery, the ship previously used by Robert Falcon Scott. The BANZARE, which also made several short flights in a small plane, mapped the coastline of Antarctica and discovered Mac. Robertson Land and Princess Elizabeth Land (which later was claimed as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory).

The voyages primarily comprised an "acquisitive exploratory expedition",[1] with Mawson making proclamations of British sovereignty over Antarctic lands at each of their five landfalls—on the understanding that the territory would later be handed to Australia (as it was in 1933). One such proclamation was made on 5 January 1931 at Cape Denison, the site which Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition had occupied in 1912–13. A hand-written copy of the proclamation was left at the site, enclosed in a container made of food tins and buried beneath a cairn. The letter was retrieved in 1977 by an Australian Antarctic expedition, and is part of the Mawson collection at the National Museum of Australia.[2]

The BANZARE was also a scientific quest, producing 13 volumes of reports, on geology, oceanography, meteorology, terrestrial magnetism, zoology and botany, between 1937 and 1975.[3] Robert Falla was the assistant zoologist.

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There’s no place on earth quite like Antarctica. Its landscape alone sets it apart: a vast white wilderness that can provide a haven for solitude. But Antarctica’s uniqueness isn’t just its scenery. Politically, Antarctica is also an anomaly. There are no permanent inhabitants, no government, and to date, no nation has successfully claimed this territory as its own. But with many outside nations eyeing its resources, the question is, how long can Antarctica remain ungoverned? The people living here seem to be at peace with themselves. My name is Natacha Pisarenko. I’m a professional photographer working for the Associated Press.... My photos were taken in South Shetland Islands, and in the Western Antarctic peninsula.. Natacha came to Antarctica to document scientists who hailed from different fields and different countries around the world. And despite their different backgrounds, during her time on the icy continent, what Natacha observed was peaceful cooperation among the researchers. These relationships were established, and codified, back in 1959, during the height of the Cold War. Antarctica is protected by a treaty as scientists have to investigate Global warming and other important issues. What she’s referring to is The Antarctic Treaty. Twelve countries, including the US and Soviet Union, signed the agreement, which states, “Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available”. Overall, its goal is to foster international relations and cooperative scientific research. The treaty also means that no one “owns” Antarctica. And sure, some countries have tried to lay claim to land here, but these claims have never been universally recognized. Today, there are about 75 research stations here, maintained by various governments. And all of the countries represented still maintain the idea of cooperation that was stated in the treaty 57 years ago. But international harmony isn’t the only draw here. Antarctica’s pollution-free air allows for air quality monitoring with a reliable baseline. Dark winters attract astronomers, and ice core samples can be analysed to provide a climatic record for the planet that dates back hundreds of thousands of years. However, as Natacha realized during her time with the scientists, all of this collaboration can be fragile. many fear that countries will rush to explore its mineral resources and oil. For now, countries are banned from drilling or having military bases, but several nations keep research stations as a way to claim territory. We’re talking about as much as 200 billion barrels of oil...which is perhaps enough to at least ask the question -- could oil break the peace here? We might not know the answer until the Treaty’s review in 2048. Until then, Antarctica might remain the closest thing we have to a Utopia.There have never been any wars, nuclear testing, or any form of military activity despite all the different countries working here. We can’t say nearly as much for anywhere else in the world. It’s a beautiful world, there are no borders, and people rely on generosity and kindness to survive. I really hope it remains untouched, it’s a key place for all of us, and where we keep coming back to ask ourselves, where did we come from, are we alone in the universe, what’s the fate of our warming planet? On the other side of the planet there’s another isolated polar region at the center of a geopolitical debate. Check out this video on how The Bering Strait could become a major trading hub on the scale of the Panama Canal. The agreement was established in the Cold War era, when a group of scientists from 12 different nations convinced the UN to institute the “International Geophysical Year”, an event designed to promote scientific research in Antarctica. It’s success contributed to the Treaty we know today.


See also


  1. ^ Collis, 2004:4
  2. ^ "Sir Douglas Mawson collection". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 2014-09-27.
  3. ^ Price, 1962.


  • B.A.N.Z. Antarctic Research Expedition 1929–1931 Reports (1937–1975), Adelaide: BANZAR Expedition Committee & Mawson Institute for Antarctic Research, University of Adelaide.
  • Collis, Christy (2004) The Proclamation Island Moment: Making Antarctica Australian. Law Text Culture 8:1–18.
  • Price, A. Grenfell (1962) The Winning of Australian Antarctica: Mawson's BANZARE voyages, 1929–31: based on the Mawson Papers, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 January 2019, at 02:27
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