The Spirit of Mawson - Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 - 2014

Australasian Antarctic Expedition

The 2013-2014 Australasian Antarctic Expedition

The Antarctic remains one of the last great unexplored regions on Earth. In spite of a century of discovery, the southern continent and vast surrounding ocean remain a unique place to learn about how our planet works. Privately funded, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition – the AAE – set out with a team of professional and citizen scientists to work across the Southern Ocean and Antarctica in 2013-2014.

Our aim: to extend over a hundred years of scientific endeavour in the region and communicate the value of science and adventure in this remote and pristine environment. With the return of the AAE 2013-2014 to more civilised climes, this website showcases some of our key discoveries and provides educational material from the expedition.

Delve in, explore and discover. I hope you enjoy what you find.

Professor Chris Turney
Leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014

Expedition route

Leg one

The ‘furious fifties’ westerly winds that encircle the Antarctic play a major role in global climate and the carbon cycle. To better understand what effect recent changes in the winds are having across the Southern Ocean, the first leg of the expedition was dedicated to working across the magnificent New Zealand subantarctic islands Campbell, Auckland and the Snares.

Leg two

Cape Denison was the main base for the original AAE led by Sir Douglas Mawson (1911-1914) but everything changed with the dramatic 2011 arrival of giant iceberg B09B in the adjacent Commonwealth Bay. The appearance of the iceberg has isolated Cape Denison from the rest of the world, with what was unknown consequences for wildlife, climate and ocean circulation.

Program of Work

Trees and climate

The New Zealand subantarctic islands are home to the southernmost-growing trees in the southwest Pacific, a region of global importance climatically and ecologically but for which there is a very little observational data. In sheltered locations, some Dracophyllum have been shown to reach more than four metres in height, with their growth strongly influenced by temperature. By measuring the thickness of annual tree rings, Dracophyllum offers the possibility of developing a natural weather record back to the 19th century to better understand past, present and future change.

Discover more

See more videos from Intrepid Science on YouTube

Trip Blogs


Posts from Prof. Chris Turney during the crucial preparation and planning stages of the expedition.


Posts from the subantarctic islands: Auckland, Campbell and the Snares from the PhD students, and the expedition team. 


Iceberg B90B, Mawson’s Hut, trapped and rescued from the sea ice. Posts from Antarctica by expeditioners, the expedition youngsters and the expedition leader.