Australian Antarctic Festival returns to Hobart

LOCALS and interstate visitors will once again have the chance to glimpse the fascinating world of Antarctic science, history and culture when the Australian Antarctic Festival returns to Hobart in August.

A celebration of Tasmania’s enduring connection to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, the inaugural 2016 festival saw nearly 20,000 people visit Hobart’s waterfront.

This included 900 Tasmanian school children who boarded Australia’s Antarctic flagship, the Aurora Australis.

The festival was held with funding assistance from the Tasmanian Government through Events Tasmania, which committed to the inaugural event, as well as two successive biennial events in 2018 and 2020.

Mawson’s Hut Foundation chairman and chief executive officer David Jensen said the Australian Antarctic Festival celebrated the role of Hobart as Australia’s Antarctic point.

He said the festival involved the whole Antarctic community of scientists, technicians, tradespeople, government agencies and commercial suppliers.

“It acknowledges the contribution made by the Antarctic community to the Tasmanian economy,” he said.

“This includes more than 750 full-time jobs, at least 430 indirect jobs and more than $180 million in direct spending by the Antarctic industry.

“The Antarctic community also makes a significant cultural and social contribution to Tasmania.”

The 2018 Australian Antarctic Festival will include an international photography competition and exhibition and open days at the Mawson’s Hut replica, the CSIRO and IMAS.

Also on offer will be a range of lectures and exhibitions, ship and aircraft tours and a special program to bring Tasmanian children to Hobart to visit the Aurora Australis and CSIRO’s RV Investigator.

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

“Tasmanians are urged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the last great wilderness on Earth and the work of Australians who go there.”

The festival will run for four days from 2-5 August 2018, with a full program soon to be made available at www.antarcticfestival.com.au.

Caption: The official launch of the 2018 Australian Antarctic Festival aboard the RV Investigator. Photo credit: Eric Graudins, BALLANTYNE Photography.

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