Arts fellows return from Antarctica

Fish-eye view of expeditioners at Wilkes station
L to R. Guide Vonna Keller, arts fellow Craig, 1961 expeditioner Bill Burch and arts fellow Lynette at Wilkes station.
Photo: Todor

This season's Australian Antarctic Arts Fellows have returned keen to work on their projects.
Visual artist Nick Hutcheson, historian Lynette Finch and research writer Craig Cormick recently returned from a six-week tour of Australia's Antarctic stations aboard the research and resupply ship Aurora Australis.


When asked about their experiences, they were enthusiastic -

'For an artist, Antarctica is a visual overload. It is far bigger, bluer, brighter, harsher, and more intriguing than I had imagined, and many of the memories I take away are of landscapes I had never contemplated seeing. I return to Australia and my studio with many books of drawings and a head full of ideas for paintings.' - Nick Hutcheson

'I can't recall a period when I've been so inspired to work at such a pace – I feel extraordinarily privileged to have so many experiences to write about, whether seeing my first iceberg, climbing mountains up on the Antarctic plateau,… smelling elephant seals...' - Craig Cormick

'For me, in writing the biography of surveyor Syd Kirkby, it was essential to know the places in which the events occurred. This arts fellowship has been crucial to my being able to craft this extraordinary story into a book manuscript.' - Lynette Finch

Wind-scoured blue ice
Wind-scoured blue ice
Photo: Vonna Keller

Joining them at Casey station, where she spent the summer as a field guide for science projects and visiting arts fellows, was Vonna Keller.

Her diary gives an insight into their experience -


'… three out of the six of us decided to bivvy outside (no tent, just a light little bag that your sleeping bag fits into). It was -7°C. Now it's starting to get cold. I had two sleeping bags and my down jacket and beanie on and slept comfortably. During the night as we lay sleeping a grumpy penguin on his usual track to the rookery stumbled upon us. Well, we were just in his way so he didn't just simply walk around but decided to give us a couple of pecks, which resulted in a squeal from one sound asleep arts fellow, Craig…' – Vonna Keller


The voyage took in Casey, Davis and Mawson stations before returning to Hobart.

This page was last modified on 16 April 2008.