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Image: Mittens - Louis Trudel, Hubert Wilkins, 1938-1939
Source: Museum Victoria
The conditions of Antarctica mean that protective clothing is of particular importance. These conditions are of two main types: wet-cold and dry-cold.
Wet-cold conditions prevail on sub-Antarctic islands, and around parts of the Antarctic coastline. In these conditions, staying dry is vital so outer layers, and especially footwear must be reasonably waterproof.
On the Antarctic continent itself, conditions are generally dry-cold, with lower humidity and much lower temperatures. In these conditions adequate ventilation is crucial. Otherwise too much sweat builds up and freezes, creating a layer of ice on or inside the clothing.
Early Antarctic explorers adopted clothing that had used in Arctic exploration, or mountaineering expeditions. Much of this clothing was not well suited to the dry-cold conditions of Antarctica and proved to be too bulky and not sufficiently ventilated.
Established after World War II, the Australian Antarctic division initially sourced nearly all of its clothing from military surplus, from Australia, Britain and the USA. As experience with Antarctic conditions grew, clothing items began to be specifically designed by the Division, although footwear and handwear were particularly difficult items and continued to be purchased from military supplies for some time.
Today Australian Antarctic Division clothing is obtained from both off-the-shelf sources, as well as being manufactured to Antarctic Division specifications. Although new synthetic fibres have greatly changed the look and feel of much Antarctic clothing, many basic items have proved themselves of enduring value.
Items per page: 10 50 (showing 21 - 30) 30 items
Pair of grey wool socks, Navy issue. They were used by ANARE Director Phil Law on the vessels Wyatt Earp and the Labuan between 1947 - 1951. They were for shipboard use only and not use ...Images: 1
Pair of brown woollen socks used in Antarctica, circa 1954 - 1966. These long socks were the standard light weight socks. They were replaced by the shorter ski sock as the men wore lon ...Images: 1
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Pair of indoor slippers made by Henke with vibram, a new type of rubber sole. These shoes were purchased in Norway and used experimentally in Antarctica by Australian Antarctic Division ...Images: 0
Pair of brown, rubber fleece-lined calf lined boots. Reinforced toes, double slide fastners at front, lace-up at back, zips at front. Four pairs of eyelets. Used by George Rayner in Ant ...Images: 2
Alternative Name(s): Ski Cap Green cloth helmet or hat, lined with synthetic fur. Manufactured by the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factories for ANARE and issued to Australian geol ...From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 2
Blizzard mask used by Australian radio operator Bernie Shaw at Mawson Station, Antarctica, in 1957. The mask is used in extreme blizzard conditions for protection of the face. Part of ...Images: 5
Pair of 1936 pattern black leather fleecy-lined flying boots. Used by George Rayner in Antarctica. Made by Bedggood Shoes Pty Ltd, Melbourne. This is part of Museum Victoria's collecti ...From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 1
Experimental issue brown leather cap issued by ANARE circa 1958 to all Antarctic expeditioners. This is part of Museum Victoria's collection of artefacts from the post-war era of scien ...Images: 1
Green cap with grey flecks, with side flaps. Fur-lined. manufactured by Commonwealth Government Clothing Manufacturers (CGCM), and worn in Antarctica by Dr Phillip Law between 1954 and ...From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 2