New bronze sculpture to honour city’s connection with the Antarctic

A THREE-METRE by one-metre bronze sculpture featuring two life-sized huskies and a sledge, modelled after one used by celebrated Australian Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson, will be unveiled in Hobart in September.

Designed by Hobart-based artist Dan Tucker, the sculpture commemorates the hundreds of huskies that played a significant role in Australia’s exploration and work in the Antarctic for more than 80 years.

Commissioned by not-for-profit charity Mawson’s Huts Foundation, the bronze was funded in part by a $58,000 grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund (TCF).

Foundation chairman David Jensen said the bronze would promote Hobart’s historic links with the Antarctic, provide a substantial addition to the city’s public art displays, provide enjoyment for children and an attraction for tourists.

“The Foundation is discussing with the Hobart City Council permission to install the bronze outside the Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum in Argyle Street,” he said.

“When Douglas Mawson departed from Hobart in December 1911 as leader of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition he took a large team of huskies with him.

“These wonderful dogs not only enabled Mawson’s expedition to explore thousands of square kilometres but they also saved his life, and it would be appropriate to have this monument outside the Replica Museum if council gives its approval.”

Artist Dan Tucker said he was tremendously excited by the project.

“From a historical point of view, it’s very important that this monument is installed on the Hobart waterfront,” he said.

“All the huskies used by Mawson and at other Australian bases operated by the Australian Antarctic Division departed and returned from here, making the installation on the Hobart waterfront even more significant.

“I plan to replicate one of Mawson’s wooden sledges which is three-metres long and with the two dogs being life-sized the bronze, when complete, will stand 1.2 metres high, so it will be a substantial piece of art.

“Now the design has been finalised, I’ve started making a model from which the moulds will be made for casting.

“All the work will be down in Tasmania, which is fantastic.”

Huskies were used in the Antarctic between 1899 and 1994 when an environment clause in the Antarctic Treaty banned all non-native species from the continent.

TCF chairwoman Sally Darke said the commissioning of the bronze sculpture was an excellent example of the how the TCF and a group of dedicated volunteers could work together to honour the role of huskies in Antarctic exploration and scientific discovery.

“The TCF is pleased that it could award funding to support such a fascinating and worthwhile project that will provide a uniquely engaging and educative link with Antarctic history and culture,” she said.

“The emotional bond between explorers and their huskies continues to resonate with today’s community and helps to evoke a sense of connection with Australia’s history of Antarctic exploration.”

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 33 visit: www.tascomfund.org

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