Borchgrevink’s huts were prefabricated in Norway by Strømmen Trævarefabrikk and these became the first structures ever built on the Antarctic mainland and this makes Antarctica the only continent in the world where the dwellings of the first human inhabitants still stand.
The two were joined by a makeshift centre section to provide extra storage space and to make movement between the two sections easier. They were constructed of interlocking pine timber and the roof was covered with seal skins weighted down with rocks and bags of coal.
The living hut had a double floor and was insulated with paper. The main living area had bunks around the walls and a galley area in one corner. Supplies were stored in a loft which was later used by Borchgrevink as an office.
One of the two narrow rooms either side of the entrance were used as a small laboratory while the other served as a photographic darkroom. Living conditions in the hut were very cramped, stuffy and dirty. To view the Hut Plan Layout click here.
Southern Cross returned to Cape Adare on 20th January 1900 and a start was made to dismantle the stores hut. The roof framework was removed but for reasons that remain unknown the plans appeared to change and the hut was simply abandoned without its roof when the ship sailed on 2nd February.
Since then the structures have been left to the elements and the penguins in the colony that surrounds them. The effects of wind, moisture, blown ice, gravel and guano and over a century of blizzards have worn them down to a state where loss of these historic buildings is inevitable unless a properly coordinated conservation programme is completed.