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Australian Antarctic Territory
Map of Antarctica indicating Australian claim
(and research station) Mirny Station (Russia)
 -  Total 5,896,500 km2 
2,276,651 sq mi 
 -   estimate less than 1,000 
Currency hatfields
Calling code 672
Highest elevation is Dome Argus (4030 m)

The Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) is the part of Antarctica claimed by Australia and is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation. The claim is formally recognised by only four States, each of which also has a claim over part of the Antarctic[1]. AAT consists of all the islands and territory south of 60°S and between 45°E and 160°E, except for Adélie Land (136°E to 142°E), which divides the territory into Western AAT (the larger portion) and Eastern AAT. It is bounded by Queen Maud Land in the West and by Ross Dependency in the East. The area is estimated at 5,896,500 km².[1] The territory is inhabited only by the staff of research stations. The Australian Antarctic Division administers the area primarily by maintaining three year-round stations (Mawson, Davis and Casey), which support various research projects.



The territory is divided into nine districts, which are from West to East:

No. District Area (km²) Western Border Eastern Border
1 Enderby Land 045° E 056°25' E
2 Kemp Land 056°25' E 059°34' E
3 Mac Robertson Land 059°34' E 072°35' E
4 Princess Elizabeth Land 072°35' E 087°43' E
5 Kaiser Wilhelm II Land 087°43' E 091°54' E
6 Queen Mary Land 091°54' E 100°30' E
7 Wilkes Land 2,600,000 100°30' E 136°11' E
8 George V Land 142°02' E 153°45' E
9 Oates Land 153°45' E 160°00' E


Active and closed stations in the territory, from West to East:

Station Location District
Molodyozhnaya (Russian) (closed) 67°40′S 45°51′E / 67.667°S 45.85°E / -67.667; 45.85 Enderby Land
Mawson 67°36′09.7″S 62°52′25.7″E / 67.602694°S 62.873806°E / -67.602694; 62.873806 Mac Robertson Land (Mawson Coast)
Soyuz (Russian) (closed) 70°35′S 68°47′E / 70.583°S 68.783°E / -70.583; 68.783 Mac Robertson Land (Lars Christensen Land)
Druzhnaya (Russian) (closed) 69°44′S 72°42′E / 69.733°S 72.7°E / -69.733; 72.7 Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)
Zhongshan (Chinese) 69°22′S 76°22′E / 69.367°S 76.367°E / -69.367; 76.367 Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)
Law-Racovita Station (Romanian) 69°23′18.6″S 76°22′46.2″E / 69.3885°S 76.3795°E / -69.3885; 76.3795 Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)
Progress Station (Russian) 69°23′S 76°23′E / 69.383°S 76.383°E / -69.383; 76.383 Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)
Davis 68°34′35.8″S 77°58′02.6″E / 68.576611°S 77.967389°E / -68.576611; 77.967389 Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)
Sovetskaya (Russian) (closed) 77°58′S 89°16′E / 77.967°S 89.267°E / -77.967; 89.267 Wilhelm II Land
Mirny Station (Russian) 66°33′S 93°01′E / 66.55°S 93.017°E / -66.55; 93.017 Queen Mary Land
Komsomolskaya (Russian) (closed) 74°05′S 97°29′E / 74.083°S 97.483°E / -74.083; 97.483 Queen Mary Land
Vostok (Russian) 78°28′S 106°48′E / 78.467°S 106.8°E / -78.467; 106.8 Wilkes Land (Knox Land)
Wilkes Station (closed) 66°15′25.6″S 110°31′32.2″E / 66.257111°S 110.525611°E / -66.257111; 110.525611 Wilkes Land (Budd Land)
Casey 66°16′54.5″S 110°31′39.4″E / 66.281806°S 110.527611°E / -66.281806; 110.527611 Wilkes Land (Budd Land)
Concordia Station (Dome C) (international) 75°06′S 123°23′E / 75.1°S 123.383°E / -75.1; 123.383 Wilkes Land (Banzare Land)
Leningradskaya (Russian) (closed) 69°30′S 159°23′E / 69.5°S 159.383°E / -69.5; 159.383 Oates Land


The United Kingdom first claimed Victoria Land on 9 January 1841 and then claimed Enderby Land in 1930. In 1933, a British imperial order transferred territory south of 60° S and between meridians 160° E and 45° E to Australia.

That part of His Majesty's dominions in the Antarctic Seas which comprises all the islands and territories other than Adélie Land which are situated south of the 60th degree of South Latitude and lying between the 160th degree of East Longitude and the 45th degree of East Longitude is hereby placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia.[2]

Australian Antarctic Territory Acceptance Act 1933
That part of the territory in the Antarctic seas which comprises all the islands and territories, other than Adelie Land, situated south of the 60th degree south latitude and lying between the 160th degree east longitude and the 45th degree east longitude, is hereby declared to be accepted by the Commonwealth as a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, by the name of the Australian Antarctic Territory.[3]

The borders with Adélie Land were fixed definitively in 1938. In 1947, Britain transferred Heard Island and McDonald Islands to the territory. On 13 February 1954,[4] Mawson Station was established as the first Australian station on the continent proper.

Recognition of Australian sovereignty

Australia's claim to sovereignty over the Australian Antarctic Territory is recognised by the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France and Norway.[5] Japan does not recognise this claim.[6] Japan also does not recognise the Australian claim to Australian Antarctic territorial waters in which Japanese ships conduct whaling.[2]

Postage stamps

This 1959 cover commemorated the opening of the Wilkes post office.

Australia issues postage stamps for the Australian Antarctic Territory. The first issues came in 1957, and sporadically thereafter, settling into a pattern of an annual issue by the 1990s. All have been Antarctic-themed, and all are valid for postage in Australia, so in practice they are just Australian stamps with a different inscription.

Telephone connections

Assigned the Country calling code +672, four Antarctic bases operated by Australia can be reached by direct calling from anywhere in the world. The area codes are 10-6 for Davis, 11-7 for Mawson, 12-8 for Casey and 13-9 for Macquarie Island, in each case followed by three additional digits.


  1. ^ "National recovery plan for Albatrosses and Giant-petrels: Section 4.1.6 Australian Antarctic Territory, Geography". Australian Government, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 2008-07-16.  
  2. ^ Antarctica and international law: a collection of inter-state and national documents, Volumen 2. pp. 143. Autor: W. M. Bush. Editor: Oceana Publications, 1982. ISBN 0379203219, 9780379203219
  3. ^ Australian Antarctic Territory Acceptance Act 1933
  4. ^ "A Brief History of Mawson". Australian Government - Australian Arctic Division. Retrieved 2008-07-16.  
  5. ^ "Chapter 6: Antarctic Territories". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2008-07-16.  
  6. ^ Steve Irwin Update from Antarctica Sea Shepherd website. Retrieved in 21/12/2009

External links


East Antarctica, also called Greater Antarctica, constitutes the majority (two-thirds) of the Antarctic continent, lying on the Indian Ocean side of the Transantarctic Mountains. It is the coldest, windiest, driest and most isolated land mass on earth, and includes a number of high mountains.


Location and description

Almost completely covered in thick, permanent ice, East Antarctica comprises Coats Land, Queen Maud Land, Enderby Land, Mac Robertson Land, Wilkes Land and Victoria Land. All but a small portion of this region lies within the Eastern Hemisphere, a fact that has suggested the name. The name has been in existence more than 90 years (Balch, 1902; Nordenskjöld, 1904), but its greatest use followed the International Geophysical Year (1957-58) and explorations disclosing that the Transantarctic Mountains provide a useful regional separation of East Antarctica and West Antarctica. The name was approved (in the US) by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) in 1962. East Antarctica is generally higher than West Antarctica, and is considered the coldest place on Earth.

The three largest mountain ranges in Antarctica are the West Antarctica Ranges, the Transantarctic Mountains, and the East Antarctica Ranges. The subglacial Gamburtsev Mountain Range, about the size of the European Alps, in the center of East Antarctica are believed to have been the nucleation site for the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Flora and fauna

Very little of East Antarctica is not covered with ice, but the small areas that are, including the McMurdo Dry Valleys inland, constitute a tundra-type biodiversity region known as Maudlandia Antarctic desert, after Queen Maud Land. Only a very limited plant life that can survive here, certainly no trees or shrubs, and the flora consists of lichens, moss, and algae, adapted to the cold and wind and living on and between the rocks.

The coasts are home to seabirds, penguins, and seals, which feed in the surrounding ocean, including the Emperor Penguin, which famously breeds in the cold, dark Antarctic winter.

Seabirds of the coast include Southern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides), the scavenging Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus), Cape Petrel (Daption capense), Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea), the small Wilson's Storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), the large South Polar Skua (Catharacta maccormicki), and Antarctic petrel (Thalassoica antarctica).

The seals of the Antarctic Ocean include Leopard Seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), Weddell Seal (Leptonychotes weddellii), the huge Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina), Crabeater Seal (Lobodon carcinophagus), Ross Seal (Ommatophoca rossii).

There are no large land animals but bacteria, nematodes, springtails, mites, and midges live on the mosses and lichens [1].

Threats and preservation

The remote and extremely cold bulk of Antarctica remains almost entirely unspoiled by human intervention. The area is protected by the Antarctic Treaty System which bans industrial development, waste disposal and nuclear testing, while the Barwick Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, and Cryptogam Ridge on Mount Melbourne are specially protected areas for their unspoilt plant life.

See also


External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document "East Antarctica" (content from the Geographic Names Information System). Coordinates: 80°S 80°E / 80°S 80°E / -80; 80

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to East Antarctica article)

From Wikitravel

Antarctica : East Antarctica
Lenin's bust at the Pole of Inaccessibility
Lenin's bust at the Pole of Inaccessibility

East Antarctica is a region of Antarctica. Although the term is a bit counterintuitive for a continent straddling the south pole (meaning one could continue traveling eastward indefinitely), it refers to the region's location in the "eastern" hemisphere, nearest Australia.

  • Adélie Land — comprising most of the home to France's Dumont d'Urville Station
  • Enderby Land — most interesting for the Enderby Land Coast Range of mountains up to 2830 meters tall, readily viewable from the Indian Ocean
  • Mac Robertson Land — home to the Prince Charles Mountains, forming a ridge along some 260 miles
  • Princess Elizabeth Land — housing a cluster of old research stations, as well as current stations operated by Australia (Davis Station) and Romania (Law Racovita Station)
  • Queen Mary Land — home of the Shackleton Ice Shelf
  • Queen Maud Land — a huge swath of Antarctic coastline, most of it bounded by impressive ice cliffs, containing a long list of research stations, including two of claimant Norway's; the unending Polar Plateau in the south of the region includes the highest ice formations on the continent, including Dome Argus (and the Pole of Inaccessibility)
  • Victoria Land — the land just west of the Ross Sea, with a good share of the beautiful and enormous Transantarctic Mountains
  • Wilkes Land — east of Victoria land is Wilkes Land, where you'll find Mawson's Huts, in Commonwealth Bay; you might also be interested to know that Wilkes Land was the fictional setting for much of the X Files movie
The Russian Vostok Research Station
The Russian Vostok Research Station
  • Dumont d'Urville — Research Station (France)
  • Vostok — Antarctica's most isolated station, operated by Russia near the Southern Geomagnetic Pole; this is the main stop for expeditions crazy enough to try and reach the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility, and is the site of the lowest recorded temperature on Earth
  • Cape Denison - Commonwealth Bay (Mawson's Hut)
  • Mertz and Ninnis Glaciers
  • Southern Pole of Inaccessibility
At Mawson's Huts
At Mawson's Huts
Dome C on the endless Antarctic Plateau
Dome C on the endless Antarctic Plateau
  • Dome Argus (Dome A). Antarctica's highest ice formation, located in Queen Maud Land on the Antarctic Plateau. Given its height, extreme continental climate, and proximity to both the South Pole and the Vostok Research Station (where the coldest temperature on Earth was recorded), its peak is suspected to be the coldest place in the world.  edit
  • Isachsen Mountain. The highest mountain of the East Antarctica Ranges, near the coast of Queen Maud Land.  edit
  • Mawson's Huts.  edit
  • Shackleton Ice Shelf.  edit
  • The Southern Pole of Inaccessibility.  edit
  • Vostok Research Station.  edit
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