New names on the Antarctic map

Antarctica is Earth's fifth largest continent. Credits: NASA

You wouldn’t expect to find a crocodile or rhino in Antarctica but thanks to their distinctive shape, both now have an official icy island namesake.

‘Crocodile Island’ and ‘Rhino Island’ are among 28 newly named places in the Australian Antarctic Territory, including 17 islands and 11 geographical features.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s Place Names Committee oversees the naming of features in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Heard Island and McDonald Islands and territorial seas.

Suggestions for new place names are invited from the public, with the majority coming from past expeditioners and scientists.

Other features officially named by the committee include the Australian Antarctic Division’s blue ice runway is now officially recognised as ‘Wilkins Aerodrome’. The runway has been operating since 2008 and was named after Sir Hubert Wilkins, a pioneer of Antarctic aviation and exploration.

‘Carey Nunatak’ is named after Samuel Warren Carey AO, the founding professor of geology at the University of Tasmania who was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to the field of geology.

‘Abatus Bay’ located north of Davis research station is named in recognition of the Abatus group of invertebrate species found in soft sediment benthic communities around Davis.

‘Uranus Island’ and ‘Neptune Island’ are named for their remoteness and the difficulties in visiting them.

‘Rescue Island’ pays homage to its role in the rescue of three scientists stranded on the nearby Torckler Island, with the rescuers stopping on the island to assess sea conditions before continuing.

The approved place names are recorded in the Australian Antarctic Gazetteer and the SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica. The Australian Antarctic Date Centre will update maps, charts and databases with the new names.