The Antarctic work expands

The following season a new Lauritzen vessel, Thala Dan, was brought into service for ANARE. The expedition conducted a coastal survey in Oates Land, in the eastern sector of AAT, completed the annual relief of Davis and Mawson stations, and concluded with a survey westward to Enderby Land. This complemented extensive inland surveys that had been completed by the winter parties. Thus, by the time the IGY commenced, Law had established Australia’s ability to visit most parts of the AAT and to collect data simultaneously from a station in the sub-Antarctic, two permanently occupied continental stations, and an automatic weather station which had been installed on Lewis Island in Wilkes Land.

The conclusion of the IGY saw Australia firmly committed to continuing exploration and research in AAT and in 1958 Law was able to negotiate the transfer to Australian administrative control of Wilkes Station which had been established for the IGY by the United States. Wilkes, on the coast of what is now Law Dome, was permanently placed in Australian custody on 4 February 1959.

The IGY had proved to be a hugely productive scientific experiment and had demonstrated that many nations could amicably work together in the Antarctic. The spirit of cooperation that evolved during IGY prompted proposals that this uniquely successful scheme should be continued. These led ultimately to the signing, by 12 nations, of the Antarctic Treaty in December 1959. Australia’s credibility in Antarctic matters gave it a significant influence in the establishment of the Treaty. When the Treaty was ratified in 1961, Australia had become a leading nation in Antarctic science and exploration.