Mawson and Mirnyy Stations: the spatiality of the Australian Antarctic Territory, 1954-61

Collis, Christy ORCID: (2007) Mawson and Mirnyy Stations: the spatiality of the Australian Antarctic Territory, 1954-61. Australian Geographer, 38 (2). pp. 215-231. ISSN 0004-9182


This article focuses on the spatiality of the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) in the important 1954-1961 period. Attending particularly to three key components of polar spatiality—geopolitics, international territorial law, and the built environment—the article analyses the development of the AAT as a unique Australian space. The 1954-1961 period is particularly significant: during this period, the International Geophysical Year brought an unprecedented number of people to Antarctica; the continent’s first permanent colonies were constructed; and, despite Cold War tensions, the 1961 Antarctic Treaty established the spatial configurations and rules which continue to govern the continent today. The article focuses particularly on two key stations in the AAT constructed during this period: Australia’s Mawson Station and the Soviet Mirnyy Station. Mawson is a legal colony, designed to cement Australia’s claim to 42% of the Antarctic continent; Mirnyy, in contrast, is an anti-colony, designed to reject Australia’s claim. How the individual spatialities of these two stations articulate to the broader politics of Antarctican territoriality—and particularly Australia’s claim to the AAT—is the focus of this article.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2022 04:59
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2022 04:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australian Antarctic Territory; Cold War; Colonialism; Cultural geography; Mawson Station; Mirnyy Station
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440601 Cultural geography
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2303 International relations > 230399 International relations not elsewhere classified
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