Australian National Antarctic Program

Photo: Australian Antarctic Division

About Australia’s National Antarctic Program

COMNAP Representative (MNAP): Charlton Clark, General Manager Operations and Safety
(DMNAP): Robb Clifton, Operations Manager

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is the government organisation responsible for leading and delivering Australia’s Antarctic program.

Australia has established and maintains three year-round Antarctic stations on the coast of Wilkes Land, East Antarctica, and one subantarctic station, on Macquarie Island.

Australia’s first station, established in 1954, is named Mawson Station, after Sir Douglas Mawson. This was followed by Davis Station in 1957 and Casey Station in 1969. The AAD also administers the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands and manages Mawson’s hut in Commonwealth Bay. The icebreaker RSV Aurora Australis, resupplies the stations and conducts research in the Southern Ocean. Since 2004, flights have also run between Hobart, Tasmania, and Antarctica. Smaller aircraft and helicopters are used for intra-continental shuttling to other stations and field camps.

Mawson Station. Photograph by Christopher Wilson, Australian Antarctic Division.

The AAD advances Australia’s strategic, scientific, environmental and economic interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean by protecting, administering and researching the region. Australia actively participates in the Antarctic Treaty System to promote Australia’s Antarctic interests and to manage and protect the Antarctic environment.

The Australian Antarctic research program addresses critical issues such as climate change, the human footprint on Antarctica and the increasing demands for food, energy and security caused by human population growth. The diverse program covers physical and life sciences in the atmospheric, terrestrial and marine domains, as well as human biology and medical research. It is also responsible for a broad suite of ongoing observational activities, including a network of meteorological facilities; ionospheric activity monitoring; seismic, magnetic and GPS networks; and hydrographic and bathymetric mapping.

Moon over Casey Station. Photograph by Christopher Wilson, AAD.

About the Organisational Structure of the Australian Antarctic Division

The Australian Antarctic Division is located in Kingston, Tasmania. Over 300 permanent staff are employed, including support staff, summer and wintering expeditioners and scientists. The AAD is an agency under the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities of the Australian Government. This department is responsible for implementing the Australian Government’s policies to protect our environment and heritage, and to promote a sustainable way of life.

The AAD is run by the Director who oversees the various branches and liaises with Parliamentary and Ministerial bodies.

The total budget for the AAD and Australian Antarctic program, for the 2012-13 year is $AUS112.8 million, including capital funding.

The Australian Antarctic Science Program

Mawson. Photograph by Christopher Wilson, AAD.

The Australian Antarctic science program is directed by the Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan 2011-12 to 2020-21, developed in consultation with the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee and approved by the Australian Government on 19 July 2010. This plan focuses on four major themes: Climate Processes and Change; Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems – Environmental Change and Conservation; Southern Ocean Ecosystems – Environmental Change and Conservation; and Frontier Science.

A copy of the plan can be found at

Checking fuel load prior to ship to shore refueling. Photograph by Todor Iolovski, AAD.

The AAD works closely with other National Antarctic Programs in collaboration efforts toward logistics and science. Scientists from over 28 countries and 176 institutions take part in AAD projects, along with around 90 Australian graduate students. Applications for AAD science are taken on a biennial model.

Our Contact Details

Postal Address
Australian Antarctic Division
203 Channel Highway
Kingston Tasmania 7050

Phone (03) 6232 3212 (or 3209); international: +61 3 6232 3212 (or 3209)
FAX (03) 6232 3288; international: +61 3 6232 3288