General issues: Australian territory 1957-Present
Country name on general issues: Australian Antarctic Territory
Currency: 1 Shilling = 12 Pence 1957-1966, 1 Dollar = 100 Cents 1966-Present
Population: No permanent population – a fluctuating number scientific and support staff resides in the territory.
Political history Australian Antarctic Territory
The Australian Antarctic Territory is located in Antarctica. The first part of the future Australian Antarctic Territory is discovered and claimed for Great Britain in 1841 – Victoria Land, an Antarctic region that currently belongs in part to the Ross Dependency and in part to the Australian Antarctic Territory. The Australian Antarctic Territory as such is defined by the British in 1933 as ‘the islands and territories, other than Adélie Land, situated south of the 60th degree south latitude and lying between the 160th degree east longitude and the 45th degree east longitude’. At the same time the claim and administration are transferred from Great Britain to Australia. In 1938, the borders with the French Adélie Land are agreed upon as running along the 136th and 142nd degrees east longitude.
As with all claims to territories in the Antarctic, the claim to the Australian Antarctic Territory is not widely recognized internationally – only France, Great Britain, New Zealand and Norway recognize the Australian claim. Since 1959 – effective 1961 – Australia is a party to the Antarctic Treaty that pertains to the ice shelves, islands and mainland south of the 60th degree of south latitude. The treaty sets aside the Antarctic as a scientific preserve and stipulates that a presence in the Antarctic does not constitute a basis for a claim to de jure sovereignty.
From the early 19th century, numerous expeditions have explored the Antarctic from the Australian Antarctic Territory – among those expeditions led by Arctic explorers such as Mawson and Shackleton. The first permanent station to be established is Mawson Station in 1954. As of 2009, the Australian Antarctic Territory counts 3 permanent Australian stations and 4 permanent stations from other countries.
Postal history Australian Antarctic Territory
The early expeditions to the Australian Antarctic Territory have used stamps of different countries – Mawson in 1911 used stamps of Tasmania, Shackleton in 1921-1922 used stamps of Great Britain and Mawson in 1929-1931 used stamps of Australia. Post offices have been opened from 1954 – the first at Mawson Station. Currently post offices are operated at all three Australian stations. Stamps inscribed ‘Australian Antarctic Territory’ have been issued since 1957. These stamps are valid for use in all of Australia and its other territories and vice versaOn Christmas Island since 1993, on the Cocos Islands since 1994 and on Norfolk Island since 2016 – often the stamps are first released in Australia and a few months later in the Australian Antarctic Territory and on nearby Macquary Island. The stamps issued all have themes related to life in the Arctic.