Japanese issue mittens, presented to Australian Antarctic Division Director Dr Phillip Law by the Japanese Antarctic Expedition. They are part of Museum Victoria's collection of artefacts from the post-war era of scientific exploration of Antarctica.

Phillip Law was the first Director of the Antarctic Division of the Commonwealth Department of External Affairs, now the Australian Antarctic Division of the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage. Under Dr Law's Directorship Australia established a permanent presence in Antarctica.

Physical Description

The mittens are large in size, probably reaching the elbow in length on the average person. They are yellow in colour and lined with fur. The shape of the mittens around the fingers are oval with only a separate enclosure for the thumb. The mittens are gathered at the wrist area for added warmth. Attached to the opening of the mittens is a tape, dark brown in colour. This tape is attached to each mitten.


Protective clothing is extremely significant for Antarctic exploration. In the early days of ANARE, clothing specifically designed for Antarctic conditions was not available. Instead clothing designed for similar conditions, such as mountaineering, skiing and some Army uniforms, needed to be sourced. ANARE relied heavily on Australian, British and US surplus military clothing. Protective clothing for hands was particularly important, and difficult to manufacture. Even after Australian suppliers were found for most Antarctic clothing, gloves were still sourced from overseas suppliers.

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