Australia's new icebreaker name providing students with the trip of a lifetime

Icebreaker - RSV Nuyina

Video transcript

Nick Gales

I am really excited about this.

We had about 800 entries from right around Australia; every state and territory participated.  About a fifth of the names used indigenous languages from all around Australia.

Nuyina is a name from the palawa kani language, a southern Tasmanian aboriginal language, it means Southern Lights.  It’s the aurora australis.

It’s wonderful for so many reasons. It’s wonderful because it continues the theme of the aurora from Sir Douglas Mawson’s first ship the Aurora, through to our own wonderful current ship the Aurora Australis.

It celebrates the view of the children around the importance of linking it back to Australia’s first people and its worth remembering in terms of links between Tasmania and Antarctica that some 20,000 years ago when Aboriginal Australians were living here they were the southern-most people on Earth at that time. They would have been seeing the Southern Lights which are very much a link between here and there.

I think it’s something that all Australians can look at the name Nuyina on the bow of our new ship and really celebrate something that we can all be really proud of and identify as our next major iconic ship.

[end transcript]

RSV Nuyina announcement

Video transcript

Daisy Allan – Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

The word Nuyina was first shared by Aborigines with government agent George Augustus Robinson in August 1831. He wrote in his journal, the natives last night saw an electric spark in the atmosphere, the natives of Cape Portland call it nuyina.

The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP – Minister for the Environment

Now we are using the beautiful Tasmanian aboriginal language with Nuyina, to be the name of our new vessel. And what is so special about this name is that it continues the tradition that started with Mawson, because Mawson’s vessel was Aurora, which also means Southern lights, today’s vessel is Aurora Australis.

Haider Alnasser – St Virgil’s College student

Once in a lifetime opportunity, most people never go to Antarctica. For us to be so young, but to do something so amazing is just a life changing experience.

Daisy Allan – Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

(In language) Safe travels and all the best for Nuyina, the icebreaker, as you travel under the southern lights that our old people spoke of many years ago.

[end transcript]

Students posing with Minister and model ship
Secondary school winners of the Name Our Icebreaker competition from St Virgil's College, Hobart, with Department of the Environment and Energy Minister, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP. (Photo: Glenn Jacobson)
A319 plane on ice runwayRendered 3D image of the new icebreakerStudents with a map of AntarcticaSchool students trying on Antarctic clothing

Twelve school students are set to become the first children to fly to and set foot on Antarctica as part of the Australian Antarctic Program, following their win in the Turnbull Government’s national “Name our Icebreaker” competition.

The winning students from St Virgil’s College in Hobart, Tasmania, and Secret Harbour Primary School near Perth in West Australia named the new $1.9 billion ship RSV Nuyina (noy-yee-nah), meaning “Southern Lights” in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.

Minister’s media release on the new icebreaker name