Located in Antarctica, the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) was first claimed by the United Kingdom. In 1933, the British placed AAT under the administration of Commonwealth of Australia, and named Davis Station as its capital. It is the largest of all the Antarctica territories. Davis Station is one of the three Antarctica research bases managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). It is located in Princess Elizabeth Land, off the edge of the ice-free Vestfold Hills. The area, generally triangular in shape, sits between latitudes 600 20’S and 68041’S and 780 36’E and 770 48’E. The Davis Station is situated 4,700 km south west of Perth.
Davis Station is home to nearly 120 expeditioners during summer months, and slightly less than 20 during winter. It was established in 1957 and named after Captain John King Davis. The station sits on frozen deposits of moraine and sand. The town has several buildings that predate the 1970s development program, which hold significant cultural value. Given its pleasant weather and ice conditions, vessels take 10-12 days to reach Davis Station from Hobart. The anchorage point is about 1.5 miles off-shore, from which visitors travel by barge for 12 minutes to arrive at the shore.
Living in Davis Station
During summers and winters, expeditioners may be required to share rooms, especially in the busy summer months. Similar to most stations, shopping at Davis is done in walk-in cupboards referred to as “Woolies.” Expeditioners can purchase basic commodities like toiletries and other essentials from Woolies.
Davis station is characterized by a large dining area and a number of communal sitting zones. Furthermore, there are various amenities and facilities, like laundry, medical, theatre, library, spa and sauna, as well as a mini-climbing wall. Outdoor facilities for soccer, cricket, and golf are available for recreation during summer months. Expeditioners can also play badminton, volleyball, and table tennis in the Green Store. Additional living quarters are currently under construction and should be ready for occupation soon.
Due to the communal nature of life at Davis, expeditioners are expected to make a daily contribution towards the station’s management. A weekly roster is made available for chores such as shoveling snow, cleaning the living area, as well as the cold porches. Some expeditioners are also tasked with helping out in the kitchen. Because of limited water supply during the summer, showers may be restricted to twice or three times a week. During those times, visitors can have the showers on for a maximum of only 3 minutes to conserve water as much as possible.
Davis Station Tourist Sites
Set up in 2002 by Stephen Eastaugh, the Sculpture Garden is one of the major attractions in Davis Station. This garden was designed to be an ongoing development project which receives continuous contributions from visiting expeditioners. To add to the collection, an expeditioner is required to liaise with the station leader for purposes of ensuring that environmental assessment guidelines are observed. The artistic integrity of the garden must not be compromised during the exercise.