The British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) led by Sir Douglas Mawson sailed along the Antarctic coast in 1929-1931 and claimed the land that later became the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT). In 1936, the Australian government formally took possession of the Territory.
Maps are public acts of political activity and possession. In 1939, the Property and Survey Branch, Department of the Interior, published a map which defined Australia's territory. The place names on the map commemorate the sponsors of Antarctic expeditions, eg. MacRobertson Land, named in 1930 after the Australian confectionary manufacturer who sponsored BANZARE, and earlier explorers eg. Wilkes Land, after American Charles Wilkes who explored the area in 1840 with the United States Exploring Expedition 1838-1842.
At an estimated 6,119,818 km², the AAT is approximately 42% of the Antarctic continent. It consists of all the islands and territory south of 60°S and between 44°38' E and 160°E, except for Adelie Land (136°11' E to 142°02' E).
The State Library of NSW holds an original 1939 copy of the Antarctic map with its accompanying handbook and index. It is considered the 'world's first reliable map' of Antarctica. The map was widely distributed at the time of publication and were out of stock by 1946. The second edition was finally published in 1956.