The year 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of the Australian government’s scientific research program in Antarctica. It all began in 1947 with the founding of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE), now known as the Australian Antarctic Program. The issue date of the anniversary stamp series was August 9, 2022.
ANARE led directly to the establishment of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) in 1948, which has since directed and managed all Australian activities in Antarctica, as well as supporting the work of both governmental and non-governmental scientific and educational organizations.
AAD’s first director was physicist Dr. Phillip Law, who led the science program on the first ANARE trip in 1947-48. While this first expedition had unsuccessfully attempted to reach the Antarctic mainland to explore a site for a permanent research station, it did lead to the establishment of bases on the sub-Antarctic Heard and Macquarie Islands for data collection and scientific monitoring and to support future Antarctic expeditions.
There are now three Australian research stations in Antarctica that operate year-round – Mawson, Davis and Casey. Together with a number of smaller “summer” field camps and bases, they have supported exploration and scientific work in Antarctica since the first station, Mawson, opened in 1954. Today, AAD’s diverse and comprehensive program includes a range of terrestrial, marine, and atmospheric sciences. Important research aims to address environmental challenges, including climate change, the human footprint in Antarctica, wildlife conservation in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and fisheries sustainability in the Southern Ocean.