Janet Hughes

Expert Member – Australia (April 2019)

Independent Researcher

Janet Hughes has a PhD in Materials Conservation from the University of Canberra in Australia on deterioration processes affecting Antarctic historic sites and the implications for conservation practice. The thesis provides a first principles examination of the causes of deterioration, the rate at which these occur and identifies issues for conservation practices. The effects studied included temperature and humidity variations inside buildings, corrosion, salt damage to timber, wind damage and human impacts. Janet carried out research at several Antarctic historic sites as part of the PhD research, including Mawson’s huts at Cape Denison.

Janet worked as a materials conservator in Australian cultural institutions for over 30 years and later worked in senior policy roles in environment, education and industry departments in various Australian government agencies. A current interest based on her background in science, government and heritage is to communicate the values of Antarctic heritage research to scientists and policy makers to improve understanding and management of these resources. Janet’s diverse experience includes designing surveys and managing complex statistics, communicating complex scientific and statistical information to politicians, lecturing on Antarctic tourist visits, developing training for government programs, researching corrosion processes in Antarctica and providing conservation advice on design of museums.

Research projects/interests

Documentation of scientific resources of historic sites to improve interactions with Antarctic scientists and policy makers. Historical development of Antarctic clothing and equipment. Conservation of Antarctic historic sites. Contributions of Sami members of Borchgrevink’s Southern Cross Expedition

For publications visit:


To get in touch: janet.hughes@UNSWalumni.com

Areas of interest

Cultural heritage assessment and conservation

Environmental impact assessment

Environmental management

Antarctic history


Cultural heritage conservation, environmental impact assessment, polar heritage, Antarctic history