Borchgrevink’s Hut
Cape Adare

Borchgrevink’s Hut was constructed at Cape Adare during Carsten Borchgrevink’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1898-1900. Consisting of two huts, one used as living quarters and the other as a storeroom, it was built in less than a month when the expedition arrived in February 1899. The expedition became the first to successfully winter over on the Antarctic Continent, and the hut withstood the harsh conditions. Whilst preparing to leave, the men began to dismantle the stores hut with the intention of moving it south, removing the roof before changing their mind. On leaving, the party also left stores, and erected a cross in memory of Nicolai Hanson, who had died during the expedition.

1902

Scott’s National Antarctic Expedition made several visits to the site during 1902, noting an ‘appalling mess’ left outside with supplies badly deteriorating, but finding the interior of the hut well ordered. The hut was not then visited until 1911, during Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition, when members of the Northern party built their own hut twenty metres north of Borchgrevink’s hut. They used the original stores hut as their living quarters (fashioning their own roof for it) whilst their hut was being constructed.

1911

Borchgrevink’s living hut was mostly used for photography and recreational purposes. Wintering over at the site, the Northern Party carried out biological, meteorological and geological studies, as well as undertaking some sledging and completing the first detailed study of an Adelie penguin rookery. In December 1911, whilst on the lookout for Terra Nova, a camp and depot were also established before the party was picked up in early January for a month’s geological work at Evans Cove. They did not return to the hut.

1912

Since 1912, the site has been visited infrequently, with the huts observed as 'intact' by a Norwegian whaler in 1924, and Borchgrevink’s living hut cleared of ice in 1961. In 1982 Canterbury Museum (Christchurch) carried out maintenance on Borchgrevink’s huts, and in 1990 the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZAHT) sent their first party to the site. In 1972 all three huts were listed as Historic Site and Monument (HSM) 22 at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, with the grave of Hanson listed as HSM 23. The site now has the highest level of protection as part of Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) 159.

Conservation

The Northern party’s hut has now fallen into disrepair, with only the porch standing in 2002. However a Conservation and Implementation Plan was completed by NZAHT. With funding from the Norwegian Government, a four year programme of work began during the 2015-16 Antarctic season, despite the logistical challenges faced by the remote location.

For more information about the site visit the NZAHT website.

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