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Antarctic and Southern Ocean stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Antarctic & Southern Ocean sector:

Tassie shines in Japan

Premier Will Hodgman has returned from his trade mission to Japan calling it “an important opportunity to showcase the best of our state and support Tasmanian businesses in this key export market". He said key advances include a new Memorandum of Understanding between Tasmania and Japan to pursue research and field trials into Japanese vegetable crop growing in Tasmania. The trade mission also included discussions with Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research on the potential for establishing an office in Hobart and enhancing Antarctic and southern ocean research exchange. Local producers also took centre stage at FOODEX, which is Asia's largest exhibition of food and drink products, along with discussions about ways to promote investment in primary industries, forestry and mining. “With more than 80 per cent of Tasmania’s international exports in Asian markets - and Japan now our second largest export market - it is vital that we maintain and enhance our connections with this key market,” the Premier said.

19 March 2019, Edition 203

Antarctic flights take off

Want to take a sightseeing flight over Antarctica? Well, very soon you will be able to do that from Hobart airport. The first scenic flight over the icy continent to leave from Hobart airport will take off in November. Antarctic Flights offers full day round trips over the Southern Continent with at least four hours hovering above the Antarctic Treaty area. The flight paths are chosen according to weather conditions, and to maximise the viewing potential of the spectacular scenery over dramatic ice formations and mountain ranges. In the past, flights have departed from mainland airports. However, when the polar plane takes off from Hobart on November 25, it will represent another chapter in the growing status of Tasmania’s capital city as the gateway to the icy continent.  

14 October 2018, Edition 199

Hobart’s Antarctic vision

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As Hobart excitedly prepares for the second Antarctic Festival, a recent Senate Inquiry unveiled a bold vision for the city as the gateway to the frozen continent.


11 July 2018, Edition 196

New Antarctic runway

The Federal Government has announced the location of a new Antarctic runway to provide year-round access to the frozen continent. Serviced by a permanent air-link from Hobart airport, this would further position Tasmania as an Antarctic hub. After two years of investigation a site close to the Davis Research Station has been chosen for the new paved runway, to be built at a cost of $10 million. This would be a major boost for Australia’s Antarctic program, enabling year-round air access to the icy continent, something that is currently restricted by a summer only ice-runway near Casey Station. State Growth Minister, Peter Gutwein, said: “The new runway would provide a permanent link between Hobart and Antarctica and improve our ability to conduct year-round research, which in turn will encourage businesses in the industry to base their operations in Tasmania.” While former Antarctic Division Director, Tony Press told The Mercury: “It will certainly revolutionise the way logistics are conducted in Antarctica. Year-round access really changes the nature of how to plan your scientific effort.”

12 June 2018, Edition 195

‘Memorable’ farewell for Aurora Australis

Hobart’s Antarctic Festival in August will be especially ‘memorable’ as it will also be the final farewell for icebreaker RSV Aurora Australis. The distinct red ship has been a popular sight on Hobart’s waterfront for years. And to say goodbye in style, people are being asked to tell their ‘most memorable stories’ about the polar icebreaker. Festival Chairman, David Jensen said: “There are hundreds of expeditioners who have journeyed south on the Aurora Australis, and we are asking them to share with the world their memories of the ‘AA’ in the lead-up to the festival.” Organisers are also interested hearing from members of the public, who for example, may have waved the ship off at the docks on one of its many voyages. Prizes for best stories are exclusive passes to tour the ship during the Antarctic Festival. The Aurora Australis is to be replaced by new icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, currently under construction in Holland and due for delivery in 2020. The Antarctic Festival will be held at Hobart’s Princes Wharf from August 2-5. For competition details visit www.antarcticfestival.com.au 

12 June 2018, Edition 195

Polar adventurer home in Hobart

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Hobart is gateway to the Antarctic and home to a passionate group of polar experts. Among their ranks the intrepid Dr Frederique Olivier – adventurer, scientist and documentary film-maker.

8 May 2018, Edition 194

Navy ship bid

The Bay of Fires is already a tourist drawcard with its stunning beaches and orange lichen-covered boulders. But it is hoped this East Coast destination could soon have a new attraction – under the water. The Tasmanian Government has made a bid for the decommissioned navy ship, HMAS Darwin, which had its final voyage last year. It is planned that the ship would be sunk a few hundred metres from the shore, with the wreck used as a dive site. Peter Paulson who has been leading the campaign for an old navy ship to sink in the Bay of Fires for the last 17 years, told ABC News this would be “a fantastic asset to the community.” He added the stunning location, combined with proximity would make it “one of the most accessible dive sites in Australia. We’re probably only three minutes from the boat ramp, probably 800 metres…onto the dive site, so it doesn’t get any closer than that.” If Tasmania does secure HMAS Darwin it will be scuttled 30 metres under the ocean in Skeleton Bay. In 2016 Tasmania missed out on securing HMAS Tobruk for the Bay of Fires.

3 May 2018, Edition 194

Hobart hosts international scientists

Hobart further cemented its role as the Antarctic gateway, as scientists from across the globe gathered to take the ‘temperature’ – or geothermal heat flow – of the icy continent. Accurate ‘temperatures’ are needed to understand how the Antarctic Ice Sheet contributes to rising sea levels. However, getting these measurements has been hampered by logistic problems with drilling, caused by thick ice cover and bedrock. Organiser, Dr Jacqueline Halpin, from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) said: “In Antarctica, 99 per cent of the continent is covered in ice, so geothermal heat flow patterns are difficult to map, but hotspots may significantly affect how ice flows and melts in different areas.” Scientists from the US, UK, China, Japan, Belgium, Ireland and New Zealand met in Hobart in late March to discuss the sharing of data bases and models of geothermal heat flow. “Models which predict the future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet need to take into account the continent’s underlying temperatures,” Dr Halpin said. “It’s an exciting time in the development of research in this field, as we combine expertise from a range of disciplines to explore the underlying temperature of the Antarctic continent.”

11 April 2018, Edition 193

Icebreaker namers win trip

Six students at Hobart’s St Virgil’s College are heading for Antarctica after winning a competition to name Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker. The Hobartians worked with six youngsters from Secret Harbour Primary in Perth, WA, to suggest the winning name RSV Nuyina (noy-yee-nah). The name means Southern Lights in palawa kani, the reconstructed language recognised by many Tasmanian Aborigines. More than two years ahead of the $1.9 billion ship’s expected completion, the name was announced by the Australian Antarctic Division in October after a nationwide competition that attracted almost 800 entries. ‘‘Using the name Nuyina for the Hobart-based ship recognises the long spiritual connection Tasmanian Aboriginal people have with the frozen continent, as the most southerly humans on the planet during the last ice age,’’ The Minister for the Environment, Josh Frydenberg, said.

6 November 2017, Edition 189

Reconciliation theme for Mac Point

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A Truth and Reconciliation Art Park addressing Tasmania’s greatest tragedy — the 30-year war between British invaders and Aboriginals; and its aftermath — is the centrepiece of a comprehensive proposal by MONA for Macquarie Point.

12 December 2016, Edition 179

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Latest news

Ceramics fire up

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Hobart’s night sky will fire up early next month, as one of the country’s landmark artistic events – the Australian Ceramics Triennale – draws to a close in spectacular style.

16 April 2019, Edition 204

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