Antarctic video gallery
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Nuyina construction timelapse
An Antarctic adventure
Child 1: It was crazy stepping on ice knowing that I’m the first kid to step on Antarctica. It was just awesome.
Dr Nick Gales: Welcome to Antarctica! And today is all about you guys. It’s all about congratulating you for coming up with a brilliant new name for our icebreaker – Nuyina. And it’s also about teaching you about Antarctica and showing you what an amazing place it is and all of the wonderful work that goes on down here.
Child 2: We’ve taken an ice core, survival tent, looked at people’s houses - where they live. It’s pretty cool.
Josh Frydenberg MP: You are the lucky ones and today you are making history for Australia. For you are the first Australian students to fly and set foot on, Antarctica. You are continuing a more than 100 year proud Australian tradition of adventure and heroism.
Child 3: It’s just been incredible, amazing. A once in a lifetime trip.
Terra Bus Arrives in Antarctica
Antarctic road trip
EDDIE: I'm Eddie and this is Leon and this is what going on an Antarctic road trip looks like. We've got the trailer packed full of tents, and all our survival gear and all our cooking gear is in the back of the hagg. We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of oz!
So we're nearly at our destination - Mt Hordern. And, Alex, how you going, mate?
ALEX: Ah yeah, swell.
EDDIE: Alex gets a little bit car sick! So, we've nearly finished putting up our tents here and once you've pegged it down to the ground then you have to bury the aprons, which is what Alex is doing right now. You shovel snow or rocks on there to keep the tent from blowing away if the wind picks up.
HEIDI: It's not a glass of wine, but a cup of tea is just as good!
ALEX: So we're inside the polar pyramid and we're building our sleeping quarters. So we're running four layers on the ground. We've got these - that I'm sure everyone is familiar with and loves very dearly, a self-inflating air mattress, two layers of sheepskin and then over here we run a double bag sleeping system with extension liners. There is one in here, an extension liner, outer, extension liner and you hop in there and you have a good sleep. How do I turn this off?
Dr Simon Alexander: This is brand new research. We have so little understanding of clouds in the Southern Ocean. This is the first time we'll have this major experiment to look at these special type of clouds, which exist at temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, yet they remain as liquid. They're called supercooled liquid clouds. To do this research over summer, we'll have three main platforms. We'll have the Aurora Australis, our ice breaker. We'll have CSIRO's RV Investigator, and we'll have a United States research aircraft. From the surface, we will have LIDARs and radars on the ships, looking at clouds from the surface. We will also be launching radiosondes - weather balloons - over the ocean, so that we can get profiles of temperature and relative humidity all the way from the surface up to the top of the troposphere. We want to know about them so that we can produce a book called Climatology - how often they occur, where they occur, what altitudes they occur, how thick they are - so that we can then compare these data with output from forecast models and climate models.
East Antarctic marine protected area proposal
Antarctic station leaders – season 2017–18
Robb Clifton: In my normal role, it’s as the operations manager, and I work really closely with the station leaders daily to coordinate the program, to manage the projects that we’re doing; shipping, aviation, and station resources. So for me to kind of get back on the tools and go and do it at the coalface, if you like, on the ice, is a really great opportunity to reconnect with that.
It’s fantastic working with the Australian Antarctic Program and the challenge of actually delivering the program on the ice. We’ve got some really exciting science, with a large ice core drilling camp. We’ll also be working up on the glacier, looking at glacier dynamics. We'll be doing some seabird research. We're also running a project looking into a potential new runway site in the Vestfold Hills. It’s great to live in a small community, in a small remote community, and we recruit some fantastic people. So I really enjoy the people side of it as well. And then there’s just the pure leadership aspect of leading a team, of you know 80 to 100 people, a long way away from Hobart, with a lot to do, and the joys of the Antarctic weather making it difficult for us.
Rebecca Jeffcoat: Station leader was an opportunity for me, not having a trade, to go to Antarctica. I’ve always been interested in Antarctica. I grew up reading about Mawson and Shackleton and Hurley’s pictures. I was lucky enough in 1999 to do a resupply voyage on Aurora Australis, to get experience forecasting in the southern ocean. And then with the Navy, I did fisheries patrols down the Herd Island, McDonald Island. So I love, love, that environment. My experience in the Navy for the last few years has been in command and leadership roles. I just finished a role as the commanding officer HMS Kuttabul in Sydney, at Garden Island, and I was in charge of nearly 2,500 sailors, keeping a port operation running. It's a similar job, just a lot more isolated, less people, and a bit colder. Casey is very busy this season. With the aerodrome and the ski way, we’ve got lots of air operations coming through, and we are supporting some international programs.
Esther Rodewald: I’m most excited about going to Antarctica, and specifically Mawson, because everyone has told me how extraordinarily beautiful it is, and that it’s basically on a mountain and the landscape everywhere is amazing all year round. The idea of going to Antarctica was looking for a challenge, looking for something new, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. We go down on the Aurora, so it’ll take about 10 days to get actually from Hobart down to Mawson.
We’re looking at mostly monitoring projects, automatic systems that go all year round. So there’s climactic systems, there’s atmospherics, there’s seabird monitoring, as well as geoscience and ARPANSA who’ve been there for years.
So I was lucky enough to spend last year living on Macquarie Island, and it's a lot like living in a David Attenborough nature documentary. It’s extraordinary. Living down in Antarctica, I imagine will be different to living on Macquarie Island, mostly because of the weather and the restrictions that that imposes on what you can do. On Mawson, as the other Antarctic stations, you have to travel in pairs. You have to be together. And I believe Mawson’s very windy, so you're often quite restricted just to even how you can travel around the station. So I think that will present its own challenges, just as to how the group connects, and how you actually function when you're in each other's pockets the whole time.
Jason Ahrens: This will be my fifth trip south. I've been station leader at Davis on another occasion, and I’ve also been at Macquarie Island, and Casey last season. What gets me back to Antarctica is the environment and the remoteness of the place. I really enjoy the fact that you are so remote, and you’re a small community who have to look out for each other, and you are a team, one team. There’s no one coming down to help in anything we do. It’s just us.
I think one of the biggest challenges for me is having to leave my family behind. It is one of the toughest things about working in Antarctica. It’s a joint decision for my family and myself, to be able to go to Antarctica and work down there. So, at Davis, we don't see the sun for six weeks, which certainly has a – plays a bit of a part on people’s moods and how they feel and how they go. And we certainly enjoy when the sun comes back up, and we know we're starting to head out to the other side of winter. Sitting up in the lounge, looking out the windows, over the bay when it’s all nice and frozen, is just magnificent. And watching the sun go down shining off the icebergs – what more could you ask for?
Icebreaker - RSV Nuyina
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.
RSV Nuyina announcement
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.