A very cool festival to hit Hobart

AN Antarctic film festival, guided tours of the Aurora Australis and a photography exhibition are just some of the highlights of a pilot program for the new biennial Australian Antarctic Festival, which will be produced in Hobart in September this year.

The initiative has received funding support from Events Tasmania, the Hobart City Council and Latin American and Antarctic tourist tour operators, Chimu Adventures.

Mawson’s Huts Foundation chairman and chief executive officer David Jensen said the new festival celebrated the role of Hobart as Australia’s Antarctic port and involved the Antarctic community of scientists, technicians, tradespeople, government agencies and commercial suppliers.

“The Australian Antarctic Festival acknowledges the contribution made by the Antarctic community to the Tasmanian economy – more than 1,200 fulltime jobs and $450 million in gross turnover directly provided by the Antarctic industry,” he said.

“Antarctic interest tourism is also growing, with Hobart being acknowledged as a key destination for this market.

In addition to film screenings, international photography and art prizes, the festival will feature open days at the Mawson’s Hut replica and University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, lectures, exhibitions and school visits to the Aurora Australis.

Mr Jensen said the Aurora Australis and L’Astrolabe would be open for public inspection for the first time in more than 10 years.

“There will also be a major Antarctic exhibition, free to the public, at Princes Wharf 1, with the Australian Antarctic Division, Tasmania Polar Network and Antarctic tour operators demonstrating what they do on the frozen continent,” he said.

“And the huskies will be returning to town with a re-creation of the famous 1912 return of Roald Amundsen’s expedition that conquered the South Pole.”

The event culminates with an Antarctic Festival fundraising dinner to support the Mawson’s Huts Foundation’s crucial work in preserving Douglas Mawson’s original huts at Commonwealth Bay in the Australian Antarctic Territory, to be hosted by the Hotel Grand Chancellor on Saturday 10 September 2016.

The Australian Antarctic Festival will run from 8-11 September 2016.

For the full program or more information go to www.antarcticfestival.com.au

Caption: Mawson’s Hut Foundation chairman David Jensen addresses the crowd at the launch of the Australian Antarctic Festival. He is joined by Premier Will Hodgman, dog-sled team handler Pru de Vries and school children Adele Harman, Patrick Harman, Lola Lester and Nell Lester.

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