Industrial Decay

A. B. Dobrowolski Polar Station: An Antarctic Ghost

Dobrowolski Station

In 1956 the Soviet Antarctic Expedition established a station on the edge of Algae Lake in the Bunger Hills region of Antarctica. In less than ten years it was abandoned.

Dobrowolski Station Ka-20

The station was established as the Oasis Station to study gravimetry and geomorphology. Its magnetic observatory is listed as one of the Historic Monuments in Antarctica. What is more intriguing is how quickly this station was abandoned. In 1959, the Soviet Academy of Sciences handed the station over to the Polish Academy of Sciences. The Polish Academy of Sciences occupied the station only for a short time. Nobody seems to know how short. It’s generally believed that the Poles permanently occupied the station for only a few years, then teams would occasionally visit and use the equipment, then quickly leave. The date of official abandonment is sometime in the 1960s or 1970s. What is known is that the station was abandoned due to budget issues.

Dobrowolski Station Collage

It’s fascinating looking at the photos. They show that the station was quickly abandoned. I can only imagine the crew received a radio message of, “Plane on the way. Pack your bag. You’re going home.” Kitchen supplies, maps, record players, a photo collage, and a helicopter (looks like a Kamov Ka-20) were left behind. It’s almost as if the crew went for a walk and never returned.

Dobrowoslski Station Living Area

[Image Credits: Wikimapia]

  • Comrade leave the helicopter take the borscht!

    <img src="; width="400">

  • Is that a disco ball on the axle of the record player?

    • Tiller188

      Poles know how to party, kolego!

  • Adam

    "The date of official abandonment is sometime in the 1960s or 1970s."

    Uh… but there's a photo collage from 1987 inside?

    Also, that helo's not a Ka-20 – the engine pods are all wrong. Looks much more like a Ka-27, which came into use in the early 80's.

    Not knowing anything other than what is written in the article and shown in the photos, I am fairly confident in guessing that this base was abandoned at the very end of the Soviet Union, in the 1988-1991 timeframe – not the 60's or 70s.

    • I used the word "official" for just that reason. While the Polish Acadamy of Sciences officially abandoned the outpost in the 1960s or 1970s (no good records exist and some references said 1979 while others quoted earlier years), it was visited from time to time even after it was officially abandoned.

      Thanks for clarifying the helicopter. I thought some of the lines were still off from the Ka-20, but didn't have time time to research more.

  • So Plan C in case of Zombie Apocalypse is now go to Antarctica and find abandoned and fully stocked research station.

    • Except there are already zombies there–the overwinterers.

    • B72

      Watch "the Thing" (1982 version by Carpenter) , and let us know if you still think that is a good idea!

  • Felis_Concolor

    And there's a GAZ 340xx series crawler just sitting there. Oh, poo.

  • So this could be the new Atomic Toasters Lair? I wonder how the wifi is on the South Pole…

  • jalopjackie

    Sooo…. what you're saying is that there's a free Kamov helicopter in Antarctica.

    Pack my boots, honey — we're going a-scrounging today!

    (I also packed a can of WD-40 and a couple of socket spanners. That should be enough to revive the helo, right?)