Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison, East Antarctica are one of just six buildings which remain intact from the “heroic era” of Antarctic exploration which stretched from 1897 to 1917. The huts were used as the main base for two years, by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911-14 led by Dr Douglas Mawson.
Nestled on rocks just 60 metres from the shore at the base of Cape Denison, a 1.2 km long rocky outcrop protruding into Commonwealth Bay and named after Sir Hugh Denison, a patron of Mawson’s expedition, the huts are the jewel in Australia’s rich Antarctic heritage.
Protected under international and national law, the Mawson’s Huts historic site consists of a cluster of buildings with the main building consisting of the living quarters and a workshop, prefabricated in Sydney and Melbourne respectively and erected in just three weeks, a Memorial Cross in memory of the two members of the AAE who lost their lives and three shelters used to conduct scientific observations—two of them, now standing ruins.
The main hut which housed 18 men, was the main base for two years of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911-14 led by a young Australian geologist Dr Douglas Mawson. His was the world’s first truly scientific expedition to the white continent and one of several land based exploratory expeditions from Britain, Norway, France, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Belgium, Japan and Scotland.
Of all the expedition buildings that were erected to survive the severe conditions – only six remain, with Mawson’s Huts fully intact thanks to the efforts of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation.
Funds are urgently needed to continue an expensive conservation and maintenance programme that requires regular visit to one of the remotest places on the continent.
Conservation & Restoration
The Australian Antarctic Heritage Trust (AAHT) began life in 1997 as the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, a not for profit charity established solely to conserve the historic and fragile wooden huts, the main base for Mawson’s expedition.
Between 1997 and 2016 the Foundation, working in partnership with the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) funded and organised 13 major expeditions to the site carrying out critical conservation work which saved the buildings from imploding and from being blown in fragmented pieces into the Southern Ocean.
The Trust is registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) and has endorsement from the Australian Tax Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR). This provides for all monetary donations in excess of $2 to be claimed as a tax deduction. It is also exempt from GST and Income Tax.
A full-scale replica of Mawson’s Huts on the Hobart waterfront just metres from where Mawson’s expedition departed in December, 1911, is operated by the Trust to help raise funds for the conservation of the historic buildings at Cape Denison.
The Foundation also initiated and owns the Australian Antarctic Festival, an award-winning biennial event, aimed at promoting Hobart’s Antarctic history and its position as a gateway to the Antarctic. The next festival is scheduled for 2020 (link to festival website???)
Head office is in Sydney thanks to the support and generosity of Chimu Adventures.
Become involved and support our work
Help conserve Australia’s rich Antarctic heritage.
The Foundation is a not-for-profit charity seeking funds to promote and encourage public interest in the nation’s Antarctic history, including the conservation of Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison, East Antarctica.
The Mawson’s Huts Foundation is a registered Deductible Gift Recipient with all monetary donations tax deductible.