Breaking the ice

A child holding a cardboard picture of the ship and other little vehicles.
The Aurora Australis, ROV and other special scientific instruments, pre-primary style. (Photo: Holly Miller)
Little boys in a room full or toys, with one child in cot pretending it is a boat.

Friday 2 November

Australia's Antarctic history is peppered with tales of ships beset in the ice. Unlike those in the 'Heroic Era' of exploration, we have modern comforts, entertainment and plenty of food to make the wait easier. We also have satellite technology and an ice strengthened steel ship to help us break free of the ice sooner than explorers of the past could.

A few of us have discussed ways of trying to free the ship from the ice, including dynamite (apparently it doesn't work in ice) and putting all our energy into shovelling and drilling a big trench in front of the ship. However the pre-primary boys at Christ Church Grammar School in Western Australia have turned their problem-solving skills into some great ideas for our release. Here’s what they had to say.

Dear Crew of the Aurora Australis,

We are making a boat in our room into the Aurora Australis. We have been talking about you all being stuck in the ice. We have some good ideas that might work so that the boat could keep going to Antarctica. We have drawn pictures and done some writing about sea animals and birds.

Here are some of our ideas and a photo of our ship:

James C: You should call someone to come in a rocket and the fire from the rocket will melt the ice.

Aidan: By sticking a long pole in the ice to make a crack and break the ice.

Kai: Use a drill – you make circle on the ice and drill through the circle.

Oliver C: Get a digger and smash the ice in half – maybe you could use a laser and make the ice hot or use steam from the engine to melt the ice.

Lewis: Use steam from the engine or go back and forth to crush the ice or use a digger to break the ice.

Oliver T: Light fires to melt the ice.

Aaron: Drill the ice with monster drills.

Jeremiah: Making some fire to melt the ice and get a knife and then cut the ice.

Callum: I would use my muscles to crush the ice.

Ben: Use a laser gun to break the ice.

Sam: Drop boulders on the ice from a crane.

Cam: Back the ship out of the ice.

Declan: Make four thick knives to cut the ice.

Hamish: Throw big rocks onto the ice.

Gabe: Use a stick that has a button that makes a laser with electricity that makes a fire that hits a ruby that makes a light laser that hits a diamond that makes a laser.

Ashley: Use lots of big poles to stab at the ice.

Alex: Use a few helicopters to pull up the ship.

Tom: Use a gun to shoot the ice.

Lachlan: You need to heat the ice.

Harry: Use a laser to melt the ice.

Best of luck,

From the pre-primary boys at Christ Church Grammar School.