Philately in Antarctica
Most Antarctic stations / bases have an official Post Office in order for the inhabitants and visitors to be able to post letters buy stamps and postcards etc. Although nowadays email would probably be the most popular method of staying in touch with the rest of the world, a letter or postcard from Antarctica has a special significance about it.
I know from when I went to Antarctica one of the crew is selected to be the Postmaster for the year / season. They are in charge of all incoming and outgoing official mail and special Antarctica stamps are issued by Australia Post for use in all postal matters.
For the tourists that visit an Antarctic station the Post Office is a definite “must visit” location, lets face it, what a better way to impress your friends and family than to send them a letter or postcard from Antarctica with an official Antarctica stamp!
The Polar Philately website http://www.polarphilately.com/pposouth.html has a comprehensive list of all the Post Offices in Antarctica as well as the North Polar region. There are also quite a few other Polar Philatelic Societies with websites which dedicate themselves to information and images of the worlds coldest and remotest Post Offices.
Before the days of internet and email the main forms of communication on Antarctic stations were HF Radio and “Snail Mail”. And from Antarctica it really was “Snail Mail” as shipping could only access the Antarctic continent at certain times during the Southern Hemisphere summer months. On average there would be 8 to 10 months where there would be no outside contact with the station other than HF Radio communications. So if one would write a letter to their loved ones just after the last ship sailed home before the winter season, it would be around 8 to 10 months before the letter would arrive to it’s destination (definitely “Snail Mail”).
Today HF Radio communications and “Snail Mail” are still used and the mail in particular is still very popular, however it is more of a novelty than a necessity, and the HF Radio is always there as a backup.
Examples Of Postcards From Antarctica
Below are some samples of Antarctica mail, postcards and philatelic stuff
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