Australian Construction Services is the Australian Federal Government's construction authority, and as such has been involved in Australian Antarctic Buildings since the late 1940's when Australia commenced Antarctic operations, first on the Sub-Antarctic Heard and Maquarie Islands, and then in 1954 at Mawson on the Antarctic continent. The main building types used by Australia in Antarctica are described, including circumstances and needs governing the design, a technical description, experience in use, and comments on strengths and weakness of the designs. Current directions of development are provided as a conclusion.
Australia's Antarctic activities have their rationale in the proximity of Australia to the, Antarctic. The discovery of, Australia was bound up with the, search for a nebulous continent further south - as for example in the voyages of James Cook. This historical connection continued with whalers and then explorers using Australia as a supply base and with expeditions organised by Australians. Immediately following the second world war the Australian Commonwealth Government established meteorologioal and scientific research stations on Heard and Maquarie Islands in December 1947 and March 1948 respectively. Mawson station on the coast of MacRobertson Land was opened in February 1954, followed by Davis in the Vestfold Hills in January 1957. In 1958 the US Wilkes station was transferred to Australian administration. This station was replaced by Casey, a few kilometres away, in 1969.
The first buildings described will therefore be those specifically designed for the establishment of a foothold on the Antarctic continent at Mawson in 1954. Improvements and Variants To accommodate caterpillar tractors and other vehicles steel framed buildings were developed to provide larger internal spaces, at first by adding cold rolled steel frames to stiffen a basic timber structure, such as the 1959 Garage, Power House and Workshop for Mawson.