The quarter century has seen the introduction of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft for deep field support. For almost 40 years, huskies were used to explore otherwise inaccessible parts of the Australian Antarctic Territory. Their departure in 1993, as a result of the 1991 Environmental Protocol, saw vehicles and aircraft take over this role. Our CASA 212–400 aircraft now provide logistic and scientific capacity between stations and into the field.
We are proud of our contribution to Hobart and the state of Tasmania. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Hobart welcomed and supported a large number of Antarctic pioneers, including Dumont d’Urville, James Clark Ross, Roald Amundsen and Douglas Mawson. For some 50 years, however, the city was passed over in favour of other ports. That all changed in 1981. Hobart has since played host to hundreds of Antarctic research and tourist ships from many nations, and employs some 800 people in Antarctic-related activities.
The importance of Hobart as an Antarctic gateway will escalate this summer with the commencement of trial flights of a jet aircraft between Hobart and Antarctica. In our 25th anniversary year here, it is fitting that the AAD is again embarking on a venture that promises significant changes in the way we plan for expeditions, conduct science and operate in Antarctica.
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Australian Antarctic Magazine, celebrating 25 years of service and Antarctic endeavour in Hobart. While it is impossible to capture 25 years in 36 pages, this edition provides a snapshot of some of our major achievements. It also points towards some of the challenges that await us and, in our historical section, reflects on such pioneering spirits as Douglas Mawson and Alf Howard, who helped lay the groundwork for today’s successful, modern Antarctic programme.
TONY PRESS, Director, AAD