The impressive CSIRO research vessel Investigator was the host for the media launch of the 2018 Australian Antarctic Festival (AAF) recently. Nic Street, MHA, Liberal Member for Franklin officiated, describing the festival as ‘a celebration of a thriving part of our Tasmanian economy and a wonderful source of pride for all Australians’. David Jensen, Chairman of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation acknowledged the tremendous support of the State Government through Events Tasmania, the Hobart City Council, the Australian Antarctic Division, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and the CSIRO and the Tasmanian Polar Network. Mr Street confirmed that the State Government had already acknowledged the importance of the Antarctic Festival by providing funding through three festivals, in 2018, 2020 and 2022.
The festival program includes a major Antarctic Exhibition in Princes Wharf No.1, the Antarctic Photography Exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, school tours of Antarctic ships and a creative project that invites school across Australia to contribute colourful painted penguins to ‘rookeries’ on the Hobart waterfront. ‘We saw more than 110 schools participate last time and we aim to achieve 10,000 penguins on display in 2018’, said David Jensen. There are open days at IMAS and CSIRO, where members of the public can learn about the fascinating world of Antarctic science.
“There are more Southern Ocean and Antarctic scientists based here in Hobart than anywhere else on earth. The city is Australia’s Antarctic port and has a history that goes back to the earliest days of Antarctic exploration. The Australian Antarctic Festival couldn’t take place anywhere else in the country. It’s unique to Tasmania.” – Paul Cullen, Festival Director
Running from Thursday August 2 to Sunday August 5, 2018, the festival presents four days of exhibitions, lectures, tours and activities, nearly all of which are completely free to the public. Donations collected for ship tours go directly to the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation that sends expeditions to East Antarctica to preserve Australia’s oldest Antarctic heritage – Douglas Mawson’s original 1911 expedition huts at Denison Point in Commonwealth Bay. A replica of Mawson’s Hut has become a major tourist attraction on the Hobart waterfront.
Antarctic Heavy Lift Aircraft Debuts
The Royal Australian Air Force will be part of the festival program, with a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III on the tarmac at Hobart Airport and guided tours of the aircraft open to the public.
The Australian Antarctic Festival runs from 2-5 August 2018.