Antarctic video gallery

Arts Fellow retrospective

Arts Fellow retrospective

Video transcript

From the earliest expeditions, Antarctica has inspired artists.

Over four decades, our Antarctic Arts Fellowship has enabled many creative people to travel south.

Sculptors forming enduring monuments; authors creating much-loved stories;

Author, Alison Lester “I’m nine years old and I am going to Antarctica with my Dad. He’s the captain of the Aurora Australis. It’s an icebreaker, a ship that can go through ice.”

musicians composing unique melodies; and audio artists recording soundscapes from the frozen continent.

This summer, digital artists will travel to Antarctica.

They will digitally map the Aurora Australis and re-create the ship virtually to provide a life beyond its last voyage.

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Surgical tradies scrub up well

Surgical tradies scrub up well

Video transcript


This patient is suffering from a painful swollen belly and needs urgent medical attention.

It’s a scenario that could happen in Antarctica.

Dr Natasha will be the station doctor at Casey over winter.

>> Dr Natasha Behrendorff, Casey medical officer 2019–2020: Obviously in Antarctica, I’ve got to be the person who either delegates it to someone else or does it.

At each Australian Antarctic research station, there’s one doctor and no nurses.

So each year before they head south, Royal Hobart Hospital trains expeditioners as Lay Surgical Assistants to help the doctor in medical emergencies.

>> Daniel Dardha, Casey plumber 2019–2020: It’s been a massive learning curve, it’s something totally different from being a plumber on the job site to coming into the Hobart hospital, and everyone’s been great here too.

Plumber Daniel finds a bit in common with his day job.

>> Daniel Dardha: Because I was on the anaesthetic side of things, working with the ventilator, so it’s all just air and oxygen and in and out, don’t get them crossed up and make sure there’s no leaks and you’re pretty right to go aren’t you. Q: Just like air-conditioning? A: That’s plumbing, just in a fancy looking box.

Carpenter Glen is on the tools.

>> Glen Pretious, Casey carpenter 2019–2020: Scrub nurse, assisting the surgeon, keeping a sterile field, handling all the instruments for the surgeon. Hand hygiene, as a chippie you don’t normally have clean hands, but you certainly do here.

There are new things for the doctor to learn too.

>> Dr Natasha Behrendorff: It’s interesting, I have to use different language, and guess always be aware they may not recognise when things are deteriorating in the same way that someone else with medical training might.

With a nasty infected appendix removed, this patient will live to train another day.

>> Glen Pretious (Q: after this kind of training, what are you willing to take on?)

I’ll take on anything, after this training! (laughs)


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Designer drill video

Designer drill video

Video transcript

Extreme Antarctic conditions require extreme engineering.

Australian Antarctic Division Project Manager, Matt Filipowski: “The materials being used in the drill need to be able to withstand minus fifty degree ice temperatures and also just to operate continuously in that environment.”

The Australian Antarctic Program is designing and building a unique ice core drill.

This new drill refines a design develop with international partners.

It’s nine metres long and made of specialised stainless steel, aluminium bronze and titanium.

The drill will delve 3000 metres into the Antarctic ice cap to extract some of the oldest ice on Earth.

Matt Filipowski: “There’s a sharp cutting tip at the end that works a bit like a hole saw and that cuts a plug out of the ice. Then the drill chamber actually holds that section of ice, and then we winch the drill all the way to the top, to the surface, and we take that long cylindrical core out and then start the process all over again.”

Three metres of ice core will be extracted at a time.

The cores hold chemicals and tiny bubbles of atmosphere from more than a million years ago.

This snapshot will help scientists better predict how the climate might change into the future.

Once built, drilling is expected to commence in Antarctica in 2021.

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Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Video transcript

TEXT BOX: Getting around Antarctica has always been a challenge.

TEXT BOX: From Mawson’s era…to the modern day.

OPERATIONS MANAGER, ROB CLIFTON: I reckon early explorers would be really jealous of the way we get around. I mean now with GPS and vehicles that have got heated cabins, it’s pretty easy I think compared to what they were probably doing.

So it’s a huge area that the Australian Antarctic Territory covers. The distance between stations is equivalent to Melbourne to Brisbane, so it’s a long way.

TEXT BOX: Travel between stations is by small planes.

ROBB CLIFTON: We are operating, obviously, in quite low temperatures, well below zero. And windy conditions as well and often with blown snow, which impedes visibility, which is pretty challenging for aircraft.

TEXT BOX: In winter the sea-ice acts as a highway for expeditioners.

TEXT BOX: They use quad bikes, skidoos and Hägglunds to get out in the field.

TEXT BOX: On the plateau people travel on GPS marked routes.

TEXT BOX: In summer small boats are the transport of choice.

ROBB CLIFTON: You know, in the middle of summer you can be out travelling around by Zodiac boat and then in winter, you can be driving a Hägglunds at exactly the same spot over the frozen ocean. So it takes a bit to get your head around that as a medium.

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Captains announced for RSV Nuyina

Portside with Nuyina

Portside with Nuyina

Video transcript

I’m here in Galati, Romania, to watch the construction of Australia’s newest icebreaker, the research vessel Nuyina.

It’s incredibly exciting to be here and see the ship in such an advanced state of construction, with decks laid, cables pulled, rooms prepared and a team of workers on, working to completion.

This ship is a remarkable addition to our Antarctic capabilities and it will deliver for us opportunities for science research, logistics, passenger transfer and fuel capabilities that we’ve never had before.

When she is launched in Hobart in 2020 she will be the most powerful ship in the Southern Ocean and a terrific contribution to our Antarctic efforts.

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Operation appendix

Operation appendix

Video transcript

This is not a situation you want to be in during an Antarctic winter.

Australian Antarctic Division, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jeff Ayton “The Russian doctor in 1961, Dr Rogozov, having to do his own appendicectomy under local anaesthetic and with assistance from his lay team, which was an extraordinary feat.”

While some people will do almost anything to visit Antarctica. Australian doctors must sacrifice a piece of themselves.

Australian Antarctic Division, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jeff Ayton “The Australian Antarctic doctors since 1950 have had to have their appendix out. It’s a unique request and it’s always a discussion point at the interview and the medical screening.” It’s a unique request and it’s always a discussion point at the interview and the medical screening.”

The appendix removal policy came into force after a doctor on Heard Island fell ill, requiring a complex emergency evacuation.

With only a single doctor on each Australian Antarctic station over winter, they must be in good health.

Australian Antarctic Division, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jeff Ayton “It’s not just the instance of appendicitis, it’s the concern about any abdominal mischief and the diagnosis of that remotely when you haven’t got a doctor on site for the doctor. Because appendicitis is a life threatening condition and you can deteriorate within hours to a ruptured appendix and peritonitis and die.” Because appendicitis is a life threatening condition and you can deteriorate within hours to a ruptured appendix and peritonitis and die.”

Despite the unusual job requirement, doctors are still lining up to go south.

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Southern Ocean soundscape

Southern Ocean soundscape

Video transcript

Jacques Cousteau called the underwater world ‘the silent world’ and he couldn’t have been more wrong about that.

There’s a tremendous amount of information that we can learn about the Southern Ocean simply by listening to it.

[Killer whale clicks]

I study underwater sound and particularly the sounds of whales and other marine mammals in the Antarctic.

Blue and fin whales in particular are endangered species. They are very rarely encountered in the Southern Ocean. But when we listen for them, we can hear them over very large distances, so listening for them is an incredibly efficient way to study them.

[Blue whale song]

TEXT BOX: Sonobuoys are deployed from ships to hear and track whales up to 1000km away.

TEXT BOX: Moorings on the sea floor record ocean sounds continuously for one year.

[Whale and seal calls]

TEXT BOX: These yearly sound recordings help scientists learn more about marine mammal behaviour.

A lot of the questions that we're trying to answer; are how many whales are there, where are they, when do we see them? These are really basic fundamental questions that you need to be able to answer if you want to have any chance of conserving and managing populations of whales effectively.

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