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Ross Dependency

Ross Dependency
No coat of arms
(In Detail)
(no map)
Political status Dependency of New Zealand
Governor Dame Silvia Cartwright, ex officio as Governor-General of New Zealand
 - Total

450 000 km²
Population Negligible
Currency New Zealand dollar

The Ross Dependency comprises an area of Antarctica between the Ross Sea and the South Pole claimed by New Zealand. It lies between longitudes 160 degrees east and 150 degrees west and to the south of the Antarctic circle. The Dependency takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross, who discovered the Ross Sea.

The British government took possession of the territory in 1923 and entrusted it to the administration of New Zealand. Neither the Russian Federation nor the United States of America recognizes this claim, and the matter is left unresolved (along with all other Antarctic claims) by the Antarctic Treaty, which serves to mostly smooth over these differences.

The Governor of the Ross Dependency is (as of 2004) the Governor-General of New Zealand. Officers of the Government of the Ross Dependency are annually appointed to run the Dependency.

The Dependency includes most of the Ross Ice Shelf. The scientific bases of Scott Base (New Zealand) and McMurdo Station (USA) currently form the only permanently occupied human habitations in the area - unless one includes the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The Dependency has an ice runway at Williams Field , normally only suitable for landing ski-equipped aircraft during the summer season.

The Ross Island, Balleny Islands and the small Scott Island also form part of the Dependency, as does the ice-covered Roosevelt Island. New Zealand had a summer-only base in the Dry Valley area of the dependency called Vanda Station, which operated from 1969 to 1995.

Greenpeace maintained its own Antarctic station in the Ross Dependencey called World Park Base from 1987 to 1992, which was on Ross Island. As this base was a non-governmental entity, the official policy of the signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty was not to give any support or assistance to it.

Postage Stamps

The Dependency originally bore the name King Edward VII Land - a name still used for the area around Cape Colbeck to the west of the ice shelf - and the New Zealand Post Office overprinted some 23,492 postage stamps with that name for use by the 1908 Shackleton expedition. Ernest Shackleton was sworn in as the first postmaster. In later years, the New Zealand Post Office issued stamps under the name "Ross Dependency" for use by expeditions in the Dependency. Stamp issues ceased for a time after the Scott Base Post Office closed as part of the rationalisation of New Zealand Post in 1987. But they were reintroduced again in 1994 due to demand.

External links

  • Government of the Ross Dependency -- official description
  • Half a dozen profiles of relevant websites
  • History - From University of Canterbury
  • Stamps of Ross Dependency

Areas associated with New Zealand
Cook Islands | Niue | Ross Dependency | Tokelau

Last updated: 02-21-2005 12:23:06