Sculptures honour legacy of Mawson’s husky history

HOBART’S waterfront is the site of new artwork celebrating some of the lesser-known heroes of our Antarctic history.

A stunning statue of two huskies commissioned by the Mawson’s Hut Foundation and crafted by local sculptor Dan Tucker are standing proud in front of the Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum.

The Tasmanian Community Fund co-funded the project with the Mawson’s Hut Foundation.

Chairman of The Mawson’s Hut Foundation David Jensen said Douglas Mawson took a 50 strong husky team on the Australasian Antarctic expedition of 1911-14.

“The two dogs cast in bronze are Basilisk the leader of the pack and Alexandra, his faithful companion,” he said.

“The two were inseparable and tragically died harnessed together with four other huskies when they plunged down a crevasse with their handler Belgrave Ninnis.”

Claremont-based sculptor Dan Tucker said it was an exciting process to create the memorial, with many hundreds of hours going into the final work.

“To come up with these hefty looking huskies and their sledge has been a long process of creating full-size models from sculpting wax and wood,” he said.

“There was a lot of work done to make the silicon and fiberglass moulds which, in turn, became the final wax shells to be sent away to the foundry for specialist casting in bronze.

“I really enjoyed working with the Mawson’s Hut Foundation to come up with what I hope people will see as a fitting memorial to the huskies of Mawson’s voyage.”

The two dogs also feature in a book by Mr Jensen, which explains in detail the stories surrounding these amazing animals.

Tasmanian Community Fund chairperson Sally Darke said organisations like The Mawson’s Hut Foundation played a significant role in preserving our history, especially our ties to the Antarctic.

“I’m pleased we have been able to play a part in this important and visible memorial, as it helps Tasmanians have more appreciation of our Antarctic history and scientific discovery, as well as adds to Hobart’s waterfront experience,” she said.

“I am sure we will see locals and tourists admire the memorial for years to come.”

The Tasmanian Community Fund was established in 1999 following the sale of the Trust Bank.

An independent funding body, the Fund provides grants to community organisations that make a difference by improving the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the Tasmanian community.

For more information on how to apply for TCF grants and to view grant recipients from Grant Round 34, visit www.tascomfund.org.

Caption: From left, Claremont-based sculptor Dan Tucker, Tasmanian Community Fund senior executive officer Lola Cowle and Mawson’s Hut Foundation chairman David Jensen.