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Memento : Issue 35
10 NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA Halfway to Antarctica: Australia's subantarctic islands The history of Macquarie and Heard Islands features dramatic rescues, unusual diets and an environment under threat. Dr Bernadette Hince has visited these remote territories and researched many files in the National Archives to write her PhD thesis, an environmental history of the islands In the high latitudes of the Southern Ocean are some of Australia's most spectacular landscapes. The small subantarctic Heard and Macquarie Islands in the 'furious fifties' are so remote that few people see them, and far fewer have lived on them. They can be reached only by ship -- and have no safe harbour or anchorage. But these Australian territories are meccas for researchers studying global warming, glacier history, island biogeography, albatross breeding patterns and elephant seal ecology. The Australian Antarctic Division involved in administering the islands has its headquarters at Kingston, Tasmania. Records from the Division, now held at the Tasmanian Office of the National Archives, ell us a huge amount about these s, such as what Australian scientists ere in the 1940s and 1950s, the als they studied, what the weather ke, and where the field trips went. d Island more remote of the two islands, Heard d, is as far from Australia (2500 km) s from Africa. It is roughly circular, a sand and gravel spit fingering out wards into the sea towards Australia. pectacular volcanic peak of Big Ben nates the island, rising 9005 ft (2745 m) e the surrounding sea. e] A member of the Australian National ctic Research Expeditions with royal uins on Macquarie Island, 1978. NAA: A6135, K10/1/78/106 an environmental history of the islands. can te island ate th anima was li Heard The m Island asitis with a eastw The s domin above [above Antarc pengu