Cosmic ray observations related to Antarctica commenced in the austral summer of 1947-48 from sub-Antarctic Heard and Macquarie Islands and from the HMAS Wyatt Earp. Muon telescope observations from Mawson station, Antarctica, followed from 1955. The International Geophysical Year was the impetus for the installation of a number of neutron monitors around Antarctica, observing the lowest energy cosmic rays accessible by ground based instruments. In 1971 a new observatory was built at Mawson including the only underground muon telescope system at polar latitudes in either hemisphere. Over more than half a century, cosmic ray astronomy has been undertaken from Antarctica and its surrounding regions and these observations have been critical to our growing understanding of the heliosphere.