Ross Dependency
Encyclopedia
The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector
Circular sector
A circular sector or circle sector, is the portion of a disk enclosed by two radii and an arc, where the smaller area is known as the minor sector and the larger being the major sector. In the diagram, θ is the central angle in radians, r the radius of the circle, and L is the arc length of the...

originating at the South Pole
South Pole
The South Pole, also known as the Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole, is one of the two points where the Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth and lies on the opposite side of the Earth from the North Pole...

, passing along longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

s 160° east
160th meridian east
The meridian 160° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

to 150° west
150th meridian west
The meridian 150° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

, and terminating at latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

60° south
60th parallel south
The 60th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 60 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. No land lies on the parallel—it crosses nothing but ocean...

. New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

's claim to the region was formalized in 1923, when the Governor-General of New Zealand
Governor-General of New Zealand
The Governor-General of New Zealand is the representative of the monarch of New Zealand . The Governor-General acts as the Queen's vice-regal representative in New Zealand and is often viewed as the de facto head of state....

was appointed as the Governor of the Ross Dependency by an Imperial Order in Council made in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article 1 of which states "The treaty does not recognize, dispute, nor establish territorial sovereignty claims; no new claims shall be asserted while the treaty is in force", most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica.

The Dependency takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross
James Clark Ross
Sir James Clark Ross , was a British naval officer and explorer. He explored the Arctic with his uncle Sir John Ross and Sir William Parry, and later led his own expedition to Antarctica.-Arctic explorer:...

, who discovered the Ross Sea
Ross Sea
The Ross Sea is a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land.-Description:The Ross Sea was discovered by James Ross in 1841. In the west of the Ross Sea is Ross Island with the Mt. Erebus volcano, in the east Roosevelt Island. The southern part is covered...

, and includes part of Victoria Land
Victoria Land
Victoria Land is a region of Antarctica bounded on the east by the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ross Sea and on the west by Oates Land and Wilkes Land. It was discovered by Captain James Clark Ross in January 1841 and named after the UK's Queen Victoria...

, and most of the Ross Ice Shelf
Ross Ice Shelf
The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf of Antarctica . It is several hundred metres thick. The nearly vertical ice front to the open sea is more than 600 km long, and between 15 and 50 metres high above the water surface...

. Ross Island
Ross Island
Ross Island is an island formed by four volcanoes in the Ross Sea near the continent of Antarctica, off the coast of Victoria Land in McMurdo Sound.-Geography:...

, Balleny Islands
Balleny Islands
The Balleny Islands are a series of uninhabited islands in the Southern Ocean extending from 66°15' to 67°35'S and 162°30' to 165°00'E. The group extends for about in a northwest-southeast direction. The islands are heavily glaciated and are of volcanic origin. Glaciers project from their slopes...

and the small Scott Island
Scott Island
Scott Island is a small uninhabited island of volcanic origin in the Ross Sea, Southern Ocean, northeast of Cape Adare, the northeastern extremity of Victoria Land, Antarctica. It is long north-south, and between and wide, reaching a height of and covering an area of...

also form part of the Dependency, as does the ice-covered Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island, Antarctica
Roosevelt Island is an ice-covered island, about long in a NW-SE direction, wide and about in area, lying in the eastern part of the Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica...

.

## Habitation

The scientific bases of Scott Base
Scott Base
Scott Base is a research facility located in Antarctica and is operated by New Zealand. It was named after Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Royal Navy, leader of two British expeditions to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica...

(New Zealand) and McMurdo Station
McMurdo Station
McMurdo Station is a U.S. Antarctic research center located on the southern tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand-claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National...

(USA) currently form the only permanently occupied human habitations in the area – unless one includes the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
The Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is the American scientific research station on the high plateau of Antarctica. This station is located at the southernmost place on the Earth, the Geographic South Pole, at an elevation of 2,835 meters above sea level.The original Amundsen-Scott Station was...

located just inside the very southern corner of the territory. The Dependency has a snow runway at Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field or Willy Field is a United States Antarctic Program airfield in Antarctica. Williams Field consists of two snow runways located on approximately 8 meters of compacted snow, lying on top of 80 meters of ice, floating over 550 meters of water...

, and depending on conditions and time of year, two Ice Runways. This guarantees accessibility by wheeled and ski equipped aircraft year round.

Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

conducts scientific research each summer at their Zucchelli Station
Zucchelli Station
Zucchelli Station is an Italian research station located at Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica and named for Mario Zucchelli, late director of the Italian Antarctic Program. This facility is operated during the summer months and hosts a variety of scientific projects...

in Terra Nova Bay
Terra Nova Bay
Terra Nova Bay is a bay which is often ice free, about long, lying between Cape Washington and the Drygalski Ice Tongue along the coast of Victoria Land, Antarctica....

, and from 1969 to 1995 New Zealand operated a summer-only base called Vanda Station
Vanda Station
Vanda Station was an Antarctic research base in the western highlands of the Ross Dependency, specifically on the shore of Lake Vanda, at the mouth of Onyx River, in the Wright Valley...

in the Dry Valley
McMurdo Dry Valleys
The McMurdo Dry Valleys are a row of snow-free valleys in Antarctica located within Victoria Land west of McMurdo Sound. The region is one of the world's most extreme deserts, and includes many interesting features including Lake Vida and the Onyx River, Antarctica's longest river.-Climate:The Dry...

area of the dependency.

Greenpeace
Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

maintained its own Antarctic station in the Ross Dependency called World Park Base
World Park Base
World Park Base was a non-governmental year-round Antarctic base located at Cape Evans on Ross Island in the Ross Dependency. The international environmental organization Greenpeace established World Park Base in 1987 in order to press its demand for the Antarctic Treaty nations to declare all of...

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.

## Jurisdiction

Following his discovery of Victoria Land
Victoria Land
Victoria Land is a region of Antarctica bounded on the east by the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ross Sea and on the west by Oates Land and Wilkes Land. It was discovered by Captain James Clark Ross in January 1841 and named after the UK's Queen Victoria...

in 1841, James Clark Ross took possession of this territory, along with the surrounding sea, on behalf of Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. On 30 July 1923, the British government passed an Order in Council under the British Settlements Act 1887, which defined the current borders of the Ross Dependency as follows,
"From and after the publication of this Order in the Government Gazette of the Dominion of New Zealand that part of His Majesty's Dominions in the Antarctic Seas, which comprises all the islands and territories between the 160th degree of East Longitude and the 150th degree of West Longitude which are situated south of the 60th degree of South Latitude shall be named the Ross Dependency."

The Order in Council then went on to appoint the Governor-General and Commander-in Chief of New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

as the Governor of the territory. This Order in Council was published in the New Zealand Gazette on 16 August 1923, and on 14 November 1923, the Governor-General issued regulations extending New Zealand law to the Ross Dependency.

After the Order in Council was read in the New Zealand House of Representatives
New Zealand House of Representatives
The New Zealand House of Representatives is the sole chamber of the legislature of New Zealand. The House and the Queen of New Zealand form the New Zealand Parliament....

by the Rt. Hon. William Ferguson Massey, a clarification was made by the Attorney-General Hon. Sir Francis Bell in the legislative council
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

. Sir Francis stated that,
"The boundaries of New Zealand are not extended to include the Ross sea and adjacent lands. His Majesty's delegation to the Governor-General of New Zealand did not confer upon the government or parliament of New Zealand the same powers as were vested by the Constitution Act
New Zealand Constitution Act 1852
The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that granted self-government to the colony of New Zealand...

in respect of the Dominion itself. It might be assumed that in the administration of the Ross Dependency that he would invite advice from his New Zealand ministers and it was certain that details would be entrusted to the New Zealand government. But his excellency was required in all matters of legislation and regulation for the Ross Territory to comply with instructions from the colonial secretary
Colonial Secretary
Colonial Secretary may refer to:* Secretary of State for the Colonies, British Cabinet minister who headed the Colonial Office, commonly referred to as Colonial Secretary...

. There was no reason to believe that the Colonial Office
Colonial Office
Colonial Office is the government agency which serves to oversee and supervise their colony* Colonial Office - The British Government department* Office of Insular Affairs - the American government agency* Reichskolonialamt - the German Colonial Office...

would give such instructions without prior consultation with the Government of the Dominion, but the part which the New Zealand Government had agreed to take in enabling His Majesty to exercise jurisdiction in and over the Ross Territory must be taken on behalf of the Empire as a whole and not specially in the interests of New Zealand."

At an Imperial conference in 1930, it was agreed that the Governor-Generals of the Dominions would be appointed by the King on the advice of the Dominion in question. And following the passing of the Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

in 1931 (which was adopted in full by New Zealand in 1947), the government of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

relinquished all control over the government of New Zealand. This however had no bearing on the obligations of the Governor-General of New Zealand in his capacity as Governor of the Ross Dependency on the appointment of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. Then in the year 1959, the Antarctic Treaty
Antarctic Treaty System
The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System or ATS, regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land...

was signed by twelve nations which included both the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

The actual amount of land mass claimed is not large; most of the area defined as being in the Ross Dependency is either in the Ross Sea or the Antarctic Ocean
Southern Ocean
The Southern Ocean comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean, generally taken to be south of 60°S latitude and encircling Antarctica. It is usually regarded as the fourth-largest of the five principal oceanic divisions...

. It is the second-smallest of the claims which were made prior to the implementation of the Antarctic Treaty System and the suspension of all territorial claims to Antarctica proper. Officers of the Government of the Ross Dependency are annually appointed to run the Dependency. The New Zealand Geographic Board
New Zealand Geographic Board
The New Zealand Geographic Board is constituted under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 2008, formerly under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946. Although an independent institution, it is responsible to the Minister for Land Information...

has named many features within the Dependency.

In the summer of 1985, when the British non-governmental exploratory vessel Southern Quest sank in the Ross Sea, United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

helicopters rescued the crew, who were taken to McMurdo Station. The expedition was criticised by scientists in the Antarctic because the rescue and return of the crew disrupted their work.

In 2006, the New Zealand police reported that jurisdictional issues prevented them issuing warrants for potential American witnesses who were reluctant to testify during the Christchurch Coroner's investigation into the poisoning death of Rodney Marks
Rodney Marks (astrophysicist)
Rodney Marks was an Australian astrophysicist who died from methanol poisoning while working in Antarctica.-Life and death:Marks was born in Geelong, Australia and educated at the University of Melbourne, later obtaining a PhD from the University of New South Wales.Marks had wintered over at the...

at the South Pole
South Pole
The South Pole, also known as the Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole, is one of the two points where the Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth and lies on the opposite side of the Earth from the North Pole...

base.

## Flag

Currently, only the New Zealand national flag
Flag of New Zealand
The flag of New Zealand is a defaced Blue Ensign with the Union Flag in the canton, and four red stars with white borders to the right. The stars represent the constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross....

serves in an official capacity in the Ross Dependency. The only other 'official' flag seen in photographs was the New Zealand Post flag to denote Scott Base
Scott Base
Scott Base is a research facility located in Antarctica and is operated by New Zealand. It was named after Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Royal Navy, leader of two British expeditions to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica...

's post office.