Port Lockroy is a bay forming a natural harbour on the north-western shore of Wiencke Island in the Palmer Archipelago to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Antarctic base with the same name, situated on Goudier Island in this bay, includes the most southerly operational post office in the world. The base was left unstaffed from 2020 to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though the museum house remained open to individual visits. On 4 October 2022 it was announced that a team of 4 women had been chosen to return to open the base for the summer 2022/23 season.
The bay was discovered in 1904 and named after Edouard Lockroy, a French politician and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, who assisted Jean-Baptiste Charcot in obtaining government funding for his French Antarctic Expedition. The harbour was used for whaling between 1911 and 1931. During World War II, the British military Operation Tabarin established the Port Lockroy Station A on tiny Goudier Island in the bay, which continued to operate as a British research station until January 16, 1962.
In 1996 renovation of the Port Lockroy base buildings was begun by staff from the British Antarctic Survey, funded by the Government of British Antarctic Territory. The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust took over management and conservation of the site in 2006 and operates a museum and post office staffed in the Antarctic summer (usually November–March).
It is one of the most popular tourist destinations for cruise-ship passengers in Antarctica. Proceeds from the small souvenir shop fund the maintenance of the site and other historic sites and monuments in Antarctica. The Trust collects data for the British Antarctic Survey to observe the effect of tourism on penguins. Half the island is open to tourists, while the other half is reserved for penguins. A staff of four typically process 70,000 pieces of mail sent by 18,000 visitors that arrive during the five month Antarctic cruise season. A souvenir passport stamp is also offered to visitors.
Historic site edit
The historic importance of the site relates to both its establishment as an Operation Tabarin base in 1944, and for the scientific work performed there, including the first measurements of the ionosphere, and the first recording of an atmospheric whistler (electronic waves), from Antarctica. It was also a key monitoring site during the International Geophysical Year (1957). The site has been designated a Historic Site or Monument (HSM 61), following a proposal by the United Kingdom to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.
See also edit
- "Four women to run post office and count penguins in Antarctica". BBC News. 4 October 2022. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
- "Royal Navy digs out world's most remote post office from Antarctic snow". BBC News. 4 December 2022.
- Station A British Antarctic Survey
- "Port Lockroy - BAT". British Antarctic Territory. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
- "UK Antarctic Heritage Trust - Port Lockroy: A Brief History". UKAHT. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
- "Port Lockroy Station". British Antarctic Survey. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- Peterson, Kim (18 February 2015). "Wanted: Postmaster at the end of the world". CBS News.
- "Penguin Post Office". Nature. Season 33. Episode 9. 28 January 2015. PBS.
- Schernthanner, Liesl (21 January 2015). "What It's Like to Live and Work Among Antarctic Penguins". PBS.
- "Penguins and Postcards in Port Lockroy, Antarctica". Archived from the original on 15 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "List of Historic Sites and Monuments approved by the ATCM (2012)" (PDF). Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
Further reading edit
- UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (2018). Base A Port Lockroy. Souvenir Guide. Jarrold Publishing.
- "British Antarctic Territory Government: Port Lockroy"
- "Port Lockroy ", UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, Accessed 25 April 2010
- "British Antarctic Survey: Port Lockroy Station ", Natural Environment Research Council, Accessed 25 April 2010
- "Images from Port Lockroy"
- "Panoramas Port Lockroy"