History of the station
1957 - the beginning
The station was erected in July 1957 by the Polish Academy of Sciences Expedition within the framework of the International Geophysical Year. The expedition was led by Stanislaw Siedlecki, geologist, explorer and climber, who a veteran of Polish Arctic expeditions in the 1930's (including the first traverse of West Spitsbergen island). A reconnaissance group searching the area for a future station site had been working in Hornsund in the previous summer, and selected the flat marine terrace in Isbjørnhamna. The research station was constructed during three summer months in 1957.
The initial research programme consisted of two summer projects and one year-round programme (1957-1958) on meteorology, actinometry, ionospheric, astronomic and permafrost studies. Summer projects conducted research on hydrology, botany, zoology, geology, magnetism and geodesy.
The main building contained one-bed rooms, a kitchen, living room, laboratories and storage area. Heating was organised with hot air from diesel fuelled ovens. Electric light and electricity of 220 V was provided using battery sets originally built for submarine. Batteries were loaded from diesel generators. The station was equipped with a belted bulldozer, 4-wheel-drive vehicle, Nansen wooden sledges, and wooden boats.
During this period the station was used by summer research groups from Polish universities and the Polish Academy of Sciences, as well as occasional British and Norwegian research groups. Trappers hunting polar bears and seals used the station between 1967 and 1971, before the hunt was banned in 1973. The non-maintained facilities were slowly deteriorating.
In 1973 the South Spitsbergen National Park was established, covering a large area including Hornsund.
The station was modernized in 1978, in order to resume a year-round activity. A new generator house was built, and in 1987 a sewage treatment system was installed (upgraded in 2001). Since 1978, the Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences has been responsible for organising year-round and seasonal research expeditions to the station.
The 10 m high wooden cross was erected on Wilczekodden rocks in 1982, and has become a symbolic feature of the local landscape.
The branch of Norwegian Royal Post Office, with the post cancelation stamp Hornsund 9177 was operating since February 1, 1990 till September 20, 2002.
In summer 2001 the satellite communication system and the new sewage treatment system have been installed. Since then the station has been under renovation.
My first Arctic trip started 50 years ago. It was the first Polish Polar Expedition, that spent winter of 1932-33 on Bjørnøya. Twenty five years later, with the group of great colleagues, we have been erecting Polish Polar Station on empty coast of fascinating beauty. Until today, hundreds of scientists, film makers, climbers, journalists, and other visitors mainly from Poland and abroad passed through the station. I have been considering this station as My Home, through the years of hard work, thoughts and feeling of heart. This home has been erected against the difficulties of polar nature.
Stanislaw Siedlecki - Entry to the memorials