Antarctic and sub-Antarctic cultural heritage
Dr Estelle Lazer
prepared for the 2006 Australian State of the Environment Committee, 2006
There are a number of sites that reflect different periods of occupation and exploitation of the Sub-Antarctic Islands and the Antarctic mainland. The condition of sites varies from destroyed or partially dismantled to largely intact. These sites are at risk from various factors, although isolation and climate change are perhaps the major ones, especially for sites that are not associated with continually occupied bases. All buildings and artefacts will deteriorate without some intervention. Overall management plans are being finalised by the Australian Antarctic Division to ensure that conservation and restoration work are not done in an ad hoc manner, as has been the case in the past. The Antarctic Heritage Register will provide another means of monitoring portable heritage assets on sites and should dissuade theft. Constant monitoring of change of condition and deterioration would assist decision-making about management of cultural heritage assets in the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic. It is essential that sufficient funding is made available in the budget for the Australian Antarctic Division to enable it to fulfil its obligations under the EPBC Act with respect to the implementation of conservation management plans for sites in these remote areas.