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The Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition.

In the years post World War II, Sir Douglas Mawson, noted Antarctic explorer and scientist, appealed to the Federal Government of Australia for funding to establish a scientific program in Antarctica. The fact that the Government readily agreed was unfortunately not only due to scientific philanthropy. The years immediately after the war saw many countries clamoring for a piece of the Antarctic pie and Australia wanted their slice.

A committee was formed in December 1946 to investigate the feasibility of establishing research stations in the Sub-Antarctic and on the continent itself. Appointed as chief executive officer was Group Captain Stuart Campbell, with Dr Phillip Law, a physics lecturer from the University of Melbourne as chief scientific planner. Mawson would act as a consultant.

Using naval surplus LST 3501 ships the expedition established stations at the Sub-Antarctic islands of Heard and Macquarie in December 1947 and March 1948 respectively. Unfortunately the LST's were not up to the task of the notoriously dangerous Southern Ocean. The LST was designed to land tanks ashore and therefor had a shallow hull and were extremely slender and long. There are harrowing reports of the journey, including the deck bending to improbable degrees and bolts popping out of metal.

At the same time another vessel, the Wyatt Earp, was headed for Antarctica itself. It too, was unsuitable for the job and could not penetrate the pack ice that surrounds Antarctica even in high summer.

Despite these setbacks, ANARE's future was assured in January 1949, when Law was appointed director of the Antarctic Division, A newly formed sub-portfolio of the Department of External Affairs. It was a position he would hold for the next 17 years.

By 1954 Australia had chartered a vessel worthy of reaching the Antarctic coast. It was a light icebreaker, the Kista Dan. In February of that year, Australia established it's first continental station, Mawson. ANARE added Davis as a second station in January 1957, named in honour of Captain John Davis. Wilkes, a gift from America, became the third station in February 1959. This station was abandoned due to constant snowdrifts that made it uninhabitable, and was replaced by Casey station in 1969.

The Australian Antarctic Division maintains 4 year round stations to this day. Mawson, Davis and Casey in continental Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.

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