Antarctica and Australia’s responsibilities are the theme for a stunning display of recent Antarctic photographic images opened today (Thursday) by the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Antarctic, Dr Sharman Stone.

“The exhibition provides a showpiece in the nation’s capital for the Antarctic environment in all its drama and beauty”, Dr Stone said.

“Protecting these natural qualities is the focus of Australia’s Antarctic program. Australia claims 42% of the Antarctic continent, where our bases are the focus of ground breaking science and discovery, including important pointers to managing the global environment”.

“I hope this exhibition will give its viewers a sense of why we are so committed to working in this remote, harsh but undeniably beautiful part of the planet”.

The exhibition, titled 'Antarctica valued, protected and understood', features photographs of the animals, plants and places of the Antarctic and Australia’s role in protecting them.

“Migratory albatross, the elephant seals of sub-Antarctic Heard and Macquarie Islands, and penguins are all featured, as well as the iconic Mawson’s Hut, home to Australia’s first expedition to Antarctica under Sir Douglas Mawson almost 100 years ago”, Dr Stone said.

“Next summer will see an expedition to Mawson’s Hut to preserve the fabric of the historic buildings and artefacts”.

“The exhibition also shows why the Australian Antarctic Division are 'cleaning up’ work areas and tip sites, accumulated in past years. In Antarctica the human footprint is large. It is not possible for people to visit without leaving some trace”.

“Remediation work is essential to maintain the almost pristine state of much of the frozen continent and is highlighted in this photographic display”.

“This is a place of rare beauty that all Australians feel an affinity with. Seen through the photographer’s lens, the huge continent becomes much more accessible”, Dr Stone said.