Australian Antarctic Division established

Dr Phillip Law
Dr Phillip Law

Despite the setback in not achieving the continental part of the program, the first expedition had proved a success and the government therefore resolved to put ANARE on a permanent footing. This was achieved with the decision in May 1948 to create the Antarctic Division of the Department of External Affairs to be a permanent agency to administer and coordinate ANARE. In January 1949, Phillip Law was appointed Director of the Antarctic Division and leader of ANARE – a position which he was to hold for the next 17 years.

The work on the subantarctic islands continued to develop with a wide range of scientific disciplines being studied. Law, however, wanted the ANARE effort extended to the continent, where the greatest scientific opportunities were to be found, and devoted considerable energy to seeking vessels that could safely support extended journeys into the Antarctic pack ice. His solution to the problem was to look to the Northern Hemisphere where ice strengthened vessels lay idle during the northern winter. In 1953 he found a ship that would prove ideal for his purpose of penetrating the Antarctic. His plans to establish a permanent station on the continent could be realised.

This page was last modified on August 5, 2015.