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Dr Phillip Law, Scientist, Explorer & Administrator (1912-2010)

Mittens - Japanese, Yellow

Image: Mittens - Japanese, Yellow

Source: Museum Victoria

Dr Phillip Garth Law - known as 'Mr Antarctica' - led Australia's Antarctic exploration for nearly twenty years. Under Dr Law's leadership Australia established a permanent presence in Antarctica; the Australian Antarctic coastline was mapped, much of it for the first time, and a strong focus was maintained on scientific research in Antarctica.

Dr Law joined the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) in 1947 as an upper-atmospheric physicist, and in 1949 was appointed as the second Director of the Antarctic Division of the Commonwealth Department of External Affairs (now the Australian Antarctic Division of the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage). He held this post until his retirement in 1966.

Phil Law was instrumental in the development of the Antarctic Division and the ANARE programs and led the expeditions that established Australia's three Antarctic stations: Mawson in 1954, Davis in 1957, and Casey in 1964. Dr Law was also personally responsible for much of the international cooperation between Australia and other national expeditions in Antarctica, and as such played a crucial role in the International Geophysical Year of 1958-59.

After resigning from the Antarctic Division, Phillip Law took a position as Vice-President of the newly created Victorian Institute of the Colleges where he remained until 1977. In his time there he oversaw the creation of two new colleges, the Victorian College of the Arts and the Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences.

Phillip Law was also President of the Royal Society of Victoria between 1967 and 1969 and was foundation President of the Australia/New Zealand Scientific Exploration Society between 1978 and 1980. Dr Law received many honours including the Polar Medal, the Royal Geographical Society's Founders Medal and a Companion of the Order of Australia.

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