Bidding farewell to the Aurora Australis

LOCAL residents will have a final chance to bid farewell to the Aurora Australis at the upcoming Australian Antarctic Festival, to be held from 2-5 August.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to tour the Antarctic Icebreaker, as well as the CSIRO’s RV Investigator during the festival.

Bookings for these tours are scheduled to open in July.

Festival chairman David Jenson said the Aurora Australis was to be replaced by Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, which is currently under construction by the Dutch shipbuilder Damen and due to arrive in Hobart in 2020.

“The Aurora Australis has been the primary supply lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations carrying expeditioners, equipment and provisions to and from Antarctica since 1989,” he said.

“As well as being the central platform of Australia’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research, the Aurora Australis has been a familiar site in Hobart, regularly berthed alongside Princes Wharf.

“There are hundreds of expeditioners who have journeyed south on the Aurora Australis and we are offering them the opportunity to share with the world their memories of the ‘AA’ in the lead-up to the Australian Antarctic Festival.

“We’re also interested in stories told by those who waved from the dockside as a partner, parent, son or daughter sailed off for the ice, or came home again after a long Antarctic season.

“Prizes for the best stories are exclusive pre-release double passes to tour the ship during the Australian Antarctic Festival.

“These will be the hottest tickets in town when bookings open in July.

“As the Antarctic Festival comes around every two years, there may not be another chance for the public to tour the ship.”

Details are now available on the festival website at www.antarcticfestival.com.au where expeditioners can upload their most memorable Aurora Australis moments.

Caption: Aurora Australis amid the sea ice, Southern Ocean © Jessica Fitzpatrick/Australian Antarctic Division. @AusAntarctic  #AusAntarctic