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Australian Antarctic Territory
Map of Antarctica indicating
Australian territorial claim (red area).
|Largest research station||Mirny Station (Russia)|
|Government||Australian external territory|
|Sir Peter Cosgrove|
• Chief Scientist
|5,896,500 km2 (2,276,700 sq mi)|
|less than 1,000|
The Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) is a part of Antarctica administered by the Australian Antarctic Division, an agency of the federal Department of the Environment and Energy. The territory's history dates to a claim on Enderby Land made by the United Kingdom in 1841, which was subsequently expanded and eventually transferred to Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation by area. In 1961, the Antarctic Treaty came into force. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. As a result, only four other countries—New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, and Norway—recognise Australia's claim to sovereignty in Antarctica.
Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is a division of the Department of the Environment. The Division undertakes science programs and research projects to contribute to an understanding of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. It conducts and supports collaborative research programs with other Australian and international organisations, such as the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia, as well as administering and maintaining a presence in Australian Antarctic and sub-Antarctic territories.
The Department of the Environment and Energy is an Australian government department.
AAT consists of all the islands and territory south of 60°S and between 45°E and 160°E, except for Adélie Land (136°E to 142°E), which divides the territory into Western AAT (the larger portion) and Eastern AAT. It is bounded by Queen Maud Land in the West and by Ross Dependency in the East. The area is estimated at 5,896,500 km2.
The 60th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 60 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. No land lies on the parallel — it crosses nothing but ocean. The closest land is a group of rocks north of Coronation Island of the South Orkney Islands, which are about 54 km south of the parallel, and Thule Island and Cook Island of the South Sandwich Islands, which both are about 57 km north of the parallel.
The meridian 45° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.
The meridian 160° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.
The territory is inhabited by the staff of research stations. The Australian Antarctic Division administers the area primarily by maintaining three year-round stations—Mawson, Davis, and Casey—which support various research projects.
The Mawson Station, commonly called Mawson, is one of three permanent bases and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Mawson lies in Holme Bay in Mac Robertson Land, East Antarctica in the Australian Antarctic Territory, a territory claimed by Australia. Established in 1954, Mawson is Australia's oldest Antarctic station and the oldest continuously inhabited Antarctic station south of the Antarctic Circle.
The Davis Station, commonly called Davis, is one of three permanent bases and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Davis is situated on the coast of Cooperation Sea in Princess Elizabeth Land, Ingrid Christensen Coast in the Australian Antarctic Territory, a territory claimed by Australia. Davis lies in the Antarctic oasis, a remarkable ice free area known as the Vestfold Hills.
The Casey Station, commonly called Casey, is one of three permanent bases and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Casey lies on the northern side of the Bailey Peninsula overlooking Vincennes Bay on the Budd Coast of Wilkes Land in the Australian Antarctic Territory, a territory claimed by Australia. Casey is 3,880 kilometres (2,410 mi) due south of Perth, Western Australia.
The territory is divided into nine districts, which are from west to east:[ citation needed ]
|No.||District||Area (km²)||Western border||Eastern border|
|1||Enderby Land||045° E||056°25' E|
|2||Kemp Land||056°25' E||059°34' E|
|3||Mac. Robertson Land||059°34' E||072°35' E|
|4||Princess Elizabeth Land||072°35' E||087°43' E|
|5||Kaiser Wilhelm II Land||087°43' E||091°54' E|
|6||Queen Mary Land||091°54' E||100°30' E|
|7||Wilkes Land||2,600,000||100°30' E||136°11' E|
|8||George V Land||142°02' E||153°45' E|
|9||Oates Land||153°45' E||160°00' E|
These regions are split into two separate areas geographically, with George V Land and Oates Land lying to the east of the French Territorial claim of Adélie Land, and all other districts lying to its west.
Adélie Land is a claimed territory on the continent of Antarctica. It stretches from a coastline area along the Great Southern Ocean inland all the way to the South Pole. France administrates it as one of five districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands since 1955 and apply the Antarctic Treaty System rules since 1961. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. France has had a permanent station in Adélie Land since April 9, 1950. The current Dumont d'Urville Station has a winter population around 33, but this goes up to about 78 during the Antarctic summer.
Australia claims an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from the Australian Antarctic Territory. However, the Australian proclamation of an Antarctic EEZ is contested. The effect of Article IV of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty (which prohibits new territorial claims or the extension of existing claims in the Antarctic) would seem to be that an EEZ cannot be claimed in relation to territory to which that Treaty applies (south of 60° South). The provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) define the exclusive economic zone of a coastal state as up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured.
An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a sea zone prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind. It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (nmi) from its coast. In colloquial usage, the term may include the continental shelf. The term does not include either the territorial sea or the continental shelf beyond the 200 nmi limit. The difference between the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone is that the first confers full sovereignty over the waters, whereas the second is merely a "sovereign right" which refers to the coastal state's rights below the surface of the sea. The surface waters, as can be seen in the map, are international waters.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which took place between 1973 and 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. The Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced four 1958 treaties. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty. As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention. It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.
Whaling in Australian Antarctic territorial waters is controversial and has received international attention.Anti-whaling protest groups, in particular Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, have been active within the Australian Antarctic territorial waters. Sea Shepherd small boat crews have had multiple encounters with Japanese ships that claim to be on research expeditions while opponents argue this is only a "cover" for banned commercial whaling. The Australian Whale Sanctuary, in Australian Antarctic territory, is not recognised by the government of Japan. Anti-whaling legislation passed by the Australian Government applies to Australian territorial waters. However, Australia's claims of sovereignty over the Australian Antarctic Territory—and thus sovereignty over Australian Antarctic territorial waters—are recognised by only the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France and Norway.
Active and closed stations in the territory, from West to East:
|Molodyozhnaya (seasonal)||Enderby Land|
|Mawson||Mac Robertson Land (Mawson Coast)|
|Soyuz (closed)||Mac Robertson Land (Lars Christensen Land)|
|Druzhnaya (closed)||Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)|
|Zhongshan||Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)|
|Law-Racovita Station||Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)|
|Progress Station||Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)|
|Davis||Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Land)|
|Sovetskaya (closed)||Wilhelm II Land|
|Mirny Station||Queen Mary Land|
|Komsomolskaya (closed)||Queen Mary Land|
|Vostok||Wilkes Land (Knox Land)|
|Wilkes Station (closed)||Wilkes Land (Budd Land)|
|Casey||Wilkes Land (Budd Land)|
|Concordia Station (Dome C)||Wilkes Land (Banzare Land)|
|Leningradskaya (closed)||Oates Land|
The United Kingdom first claimed Victoria Land on 9 January 1841 and then claimed Enderby Land in 1930. In 1933, a British imperial order transferred most of the territory south of 60° S and between meridians 160° E and 45° E to Australia.
That part of His Majesty's dominions in the Antarctic Seas which comprises all the islands and territories other than Adélie Land which are situated south of the 60th degree of South Latitude and lying between the 160th degree of East Longitude and the 45th degree of East Longitude is hereby placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Australian Antarctic Territory Acceptance Act 1933
That part of the territory in the Antarctic seas which comprises all the islands and territories, other than Adelie Land, situated south of the 60th degree south latitude and lying between the 160th degree east longitude and the 45th degree east longitude, is hereby declared to be accepted by the Commonwealth as a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, by the name of the Australian Antarctic Territory. C2004C00416 / Australian Antarctic Territory Acceptance Act 1933 ( Cth )
The borders with Adélie Land were fixed definitively in 1938. In 1947, Britain transferred Heard Island and McDonald Islands to the territory. On 13 February 1954,Mawson Station was established as the first Australian station on the continent proper.
Australia's claim to sovereignty over the Australian Antarctic Territory is recognised by the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France and Norway.Japan does not recognise the Australian claim to the Australian Antarctic territorial waters in which Japanese ships conduct whaling.
During the early 1980s there was a brief debate in Australia on whether or not to allow mining on the mineral-rich continent.Several mining proposals have been discussed and have all been rejected.
On the 9 August 2011, influential Australian think-tank, the Lowy Institute, published a report warning Canberra against complacency when it comes to its claim.The global treaty banning resource exploitation becomes reviewable in 2041, and some states may then decide to withdraw from it considering the continent's mineral deposits. These include coal seams, manganese, iron and uranium, while Antarctica's forecast oil reserves are estimated as among the largest in the world after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Lowy's national security fellow Ellie Fogarty said in the paper that Australia cannot adequately patrol its claim, lacking the kind of ski-planes it needs to reach some areas. It also lacks an ice-breaking ship in the region.
Australia issues postage stamps for the Australian Antarctic Territory. The first issues came in 1957, and sporadically thereafter, settling into a pattern of an annual issue by the 1990s. All have been Antarctic-themed, and all are valid for postage in Australia and its territories, including Antarctica.
Assigned the country calling code +672 1[0-4] XXXX, the four stations and the Aurora Australis operated by the Australian Antarctic Division can be reached by direct calling from anywhere in the world. The area codes are 10 for Davis, 11 for Mawson, 12 for Casey, 13 for Macquarie Island and 14 for Wilkins and the Aurora Australis, in each case followed by four additional digits.
As of the December Quarter of 2016 the AAT was believed to have a population of 57 people.
The history of Antarctica emerges from early Western theories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, believed to exist in the far south of the globe. The term Antarctic, referring to the opposite of the Arctic Circle, was coined by Marinus of Tyre in the 2nd century AD.
The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. It is claimed by New Zealand. Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article IV of which states: "No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica," most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica.
The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its 14 British Overseas Territories, of which it is by far the largest by area. It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole, overlapping the Antarctic claims of Argentina and Chile.
The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems (aquifers), and wetlands.
The Svalbard Treaty recognises the sovereignty of Norway over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, at the time called Spitsbergen. The exercise of sovereignty is, however, subject to certain stipulations, and not all Norwegian law applies. The treaty regulates the demilitarisation of the archipelago. The signatories were given equal rights to engage in commercial activities on the islands. As of 2012, Norway and Russia are making use of this right.
Prior to 2002, Antarctica had no flag, as the condominium that governs the continent had not yet formally selected one. The consultative members of the Antarctic Treaty System officially adopted a flag and emblem in 2002, which is now the official symbol of the continent. Several unofficial designs have also been proposed.
Scullin Monolith is a crescent-shaped rock fronting the sea 6 km (3.7 mi) west of the similar Murray Monolith, and 8 km (5.0 mi) from Torlyn Mountain, in Mac. Robertson Land, Antarctica. Early in January 1930 the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) under Douglas Mawson made an aerial flight from the ship over the area. Mawson set foot on the rock on 13 February 1931 and named it for James Scullin, Prime Minister of Australia in 1929 - 31. The rock was charted in January and February 1931 from Norwegian whale catchers exploring the coast, and named "Mount Klarius Mikkelsen" for Captain Klarius Mikkelsen, master of the whale catcher Torlyn. Mikkelsen Peak is retained as the name of the highest peak of the outcrop.
Cape Denison is a rocky point at the head of Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica. It was discovered in 1912 by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911–14) under Douglas Mawson, who named it for Sir Hugh Denison of Sydney, a patron of the expedition. The cape was the site of the expedition's main base. Called by Mawson "the windiest place on Earth", the site experiences fierce katabatic winds.
Enderby Land is a projecting land mass of Antarctica. Its shore extends from Shinnan Glacier at about 1⁄24 of the earth's longitude. It was first documented in western and eastern literature in February 1831 by John Biscoe aboard the whaling brig Tula, and named after the Enderby Brothers of London, the ship's owners who encouraged their captains to combine exploration with sealing.to William Scoresby Bay at , approximately
The Chilean Antarctic Territory or Chilean Antarctica is the territory in Antarctica claimed by Chile. The Chilean Antarctic Territory ranges from 53° West to 90° West and from the South Pole to the 60° South parallel, partially overlapping the Argentine and British Antarctic claims. It is administered by the Cabo de Hornos municipality in the South American mainland.
The Australian Whale Sanctuary was established in 1999 to protect dolphins and whales from hunting in waters within the Australian government's jurisdiction.
There are seven sovereign states who have territorial claims in Antarctica: Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories; however, a number of such facilities are located outside of the area claimed by their respective countries of operation, and countries without claims such as Russia and the United States have constructed research facilities within the areas claimed by other countries.
Queen Maud Land is a c. 2.7 million square kilometre (1.04 million sq mi) region of Antarctica claimed as a dependent territory by Norway. The territory lies between 20° west and 45° east, between the claimed British Antarctic Territory to the west and the similarly claimed Australian Antarctic Territory to the east. On most maps there had been an unclaimed area between Queen Maud Land's borders of 1939 and the South Pole until 12 June 2015 when Norway formally annexed that area. Positioned in East Antarctica, the territory comprises about one-fifth of the total area of Antarctica. The claim is named after the Norwegian queen Maud of Wales (1869–1938).
Queen Elizabeth Land is portion of mainland Antarctica named by the government of the United Kingdom and claimed as part of the British Antarctic Territory, which is the largest of the 14 British Overseas Territories. Situated south of Weddell Sea and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, stretching from Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole. That territory was unnamed until 2012, though most of it was unofficially known as Edith Ronne Land in 1947–68 and includes areas claimed by the United Kingdom, Chile and Argentina.