Aurora Australis heads south for season's last voyage

20 February 2005

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said that Mawson missed out on supplies earlier this month when sea ice prevented access to the station’s Horseshoe Harbour by Vasiliy Golovnin.

“Conditions have eased since then and it’s hoped that Aurora Australis will be able to get through to resupply the station for the year ahead. If not, helicopters will be used to transfer provisions which have been packed in easily-transportable containers.”

Senator Campbell said expeditioners would be well provided for over the next year with fresh fruit and vegetables being delivered, along with more durable foodstuffs that would last the distance.

“Apart from food, supplies include much the same as you would need to keep any large household running for a year, with ample supplies of domestic products, enough fuel for vehicles and other station needs, spare parts for machinery and all-important mail from family and friends and personal effects,” Senator Campbell said.

“Our expeditioners, who will be spending the next 12 months in Antarctica, endure particularly harsh weather conditions during the winter months and we need to ensure their needs are met.”

The ship will also collect summer personnel from Casey then sail to Macquarie Island for resupply and changeover of personnel.

Also sailing south aboard Aurora Australis are three Australian Antarctic Arts Fellows.

Margot Foster is Executive Producer of the ABC’s Bush Telegraph radio program who will be capturing the sounds of Antarctica for a series of specialised projects including a soundscape for the Macquarie Island house at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and a radio documentary.

Frances Evans is a music teacher and composer from Geelong Grammar School, who plays a range of string and keyboard instruments. Ms Evans plans to compose new music inspired by the sounds of Antarctica.

Alison Lester is a teacher and children’s author/illustrator with more than 25 published books. Her journey to Antarctica will produce another book and a traveling, educative project for schools.

Background – Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowships

Australia seeks to promote its Antarctic activities in several ways.

The Fellowship program is open to people involved in the broader arts community including visual artists, musicians, journalists, film makers, writers, historians, researchers and teachers.

The Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowships provide berths on appropriate voyages for people to visit Antarctica for the duration of a voyage, or sometimes to stay at a station between voyages.

The program began in 1984/85. Since then more than 80 people have taken part.