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2020 Australian Antarctic Festival Postponed

Owing to circumstances well beyond our control, we are compelled to announce a postponement of the Australian Antarctic Festival for 2020. Though the event was not due to begin until late July, the present restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic make it impossible to lay the groundwork for this large and complex event. We deeply regret the disappointment this represents to our staff, volunteers, exhibitors and our audience. Our intention is to resume the Australian Antarctic Festival as soon as conditions allow.

The 2022 Festival Program

The Australian Antarctic Festival presents a five-day program of exhibitions, tours, displays and lectures, almost all of it completely free to the public.

School tours run from Wednesday 24 August to Friday 26th August, then the full program opens to the public on Saturday and Sunday, including ship tours, the Antarctic Exhibition at Princes No.1 and Open Days at CSIRO and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS). Enjoy fascinating displays at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery and other venues around Hobart.

Check back for program details as they are confirmed.

Free Stuff for Schools

There are some great events for schools to attend throughout the Festival. Download our Free Stuff for Schools Guide and book in your visit!

Festival Program & Venues

The Australian Antarctic Festival takes place at several venues, the majority of which are either on, or close by to, the bustling Hobart waterfront. Download our Schedule of Events guide as a quick reference while you’re on the go!

Mobile Antarctic Classroom

8–18 August

The Mobile Classroom is hitting the regions before the Antarctic Festival to entice you to the festival.

An eye-opening presentation of Antarctic Science featuring engaging demonstrations, experiments and activities. Find out more about penguins, biodiversity, climate change, geology, ocean acidification, our atmosphere, Earth’s magnetism and Australia’s Antarctic heritage.

60 minute sessions includes a 30-minute presentation, tours of the Antarctic Bus and activities.

Princes Wharf No.1
Antarctic Expo

26 August | 12 noon–4pm
27–28 August | 10am–4pm

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The Antarctic Expo features the large equipment used in Antarctica (sledges, Haaglund tracked vehicles, boats, helicopters) and numerous displays from companies and agencies that work in Antarctica, including the Australian Defence Force, Elphinstone Engineering, and tourism operators like Chimu. The exhibition is free to the public.

From 11am–3:00pm on 27 & 28 August, a panel of experts will present 30min presentations on the Antarctic continent, from its history and inhabitants, to science, research & travel.

Antarctic Expo Presenters
Dr Joy McCann
Ice Bound: The Australian Story of Antarctica
John Williamson
Hobart Antarctic Links
Prof Nathan Bindoff
Why Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are Critical Elements of the Earth
Greg Holland
What is Mawson’s Huts Foundation
CDR Jeff Platt
Polar Cooperation: Looking to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean to Guide International Cooperation in the Emerging Arctic
Prof Matt King
Antarctic Contribution to Sea Level and What That Means For Us
David Knoff
537 Days of Winter: A modern Antarctic Story
Chimu Adventures
Antarctic Travel Specialists: Travel by Flight, Cruise or Land
David Knoff
537 Days of Winter: A Modern Antarctic Story
Maree Riley
Jobs in Antarctica
Greg Holland
What is Mawson’s Huts Foundation
Dr Jeff Ayton
Health Care in Remote and Extreme Environments: Centre for Antarctic, Remote and Maritime Medicine
John Williamson
History of Australians in Antarctica
Karen Rees
Getting French Expeditions to Antarctica when COVID Locked Us All Up
David Killick
Counting Penguins in the Windiest Place on Earth and Coming Back with All Your Fingers and Toes.
Chimu Adventures
Antarctic Travel Specialists: Travel by Flight, Cruise or Land
HMAS Brisbane Ceremonial Sunset

26 August | 5:30pm
Princes Wharf Forecourt

A guard from members of the visiting HMAS Brisbane and the Royal Australian Navy Band (Tasmanian contingent) will present a traditional ‘Ceremonial Sunset’.

The ceremony consists of the ‘Beat to Quarters’ – which honours the courage and sacrifice of the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy – followed by the guard advancing to commence the age-old naval tradition of saluting the lowering of the Ensign at sunset each day. At five minutes to Sunset, the Evening Hymn, ‘The Day thou Gavest Lord is Ended’ is played. A volley of shots is fired by the guard during the rendering of this hymn which echoes a very old practice of saluting the knell of parting day.

Antarctic Stamp and Postcard Exhibition

26 August | 12 noon–4pm
27–28 August | 10am–4pm

To commemorate the important role that stamps, and postcards played in early Antarctic Exploration. The Australian Philatelic Federation is holding a Stamp and Postcard exhibition of nearly 1,000 pages of material showcasing this fascinating collecting area. In addition, there will be six stamp dealers selling related material.

For further information contact Darryl Fuller or see the exhibition website.

Children’s Story Telling: Antarctic Tales

27–28 August | 11am–3pm

Children stories read by Hobart’s Antarctic Youth Coalition ambassador Chloe Power. Bring your children to meet Hobart’s very own Antarctic Youth Coalition ambassador Chloe Power.

Mawson’s Huts replica Museum
Authentic Origins

25–26 AUGUST

28 AUGUST | 10am–5pm

All other days. See opening times.

A fascinating re-creation of Douglas Mawson’s original expedition hut at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica. The men of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition wintered over here, in one of the most remote and ferociously cold and windy locations on earth. 

The lawns of the Museum hosts family day,  while the interior of the museum is a remarkable immersive experience, full of authentic artefacts and equipment from this historic expedition. 

Meet working sled dogs and speak with team members from Sled Dog Adventures Tasmania on the history of sled dogs. 

We kindly ask attendees to refrain from taking their own dogs near the working sled dog team.

Mac 2 Tasports Cruise Terminal
Penguin Rookeries

25–28 August | 10am–4pm

11am-2pm | Alison Lester, artist in residence will be present. Come along to draw a penguin for the penguin mural

Australian Antarctic Festival, Antarctic Festival, Hobart Festival, Festival Hobart, Mawson's Huts, Mawson's Huts Foundation, Hobart Tourism, Penguin Rookeries

Come visit the Penguin Rookeries located in Hunter Street, the Mac 2 TasPorts Cruise Terminal is a multi-use facility.

150 schools are sent 50 Adélie penguins each to paint and return to the festival. We are hoping to receive more than 8,000 hand-painted Adelie penguin cut-outs by Australian and International school children.

The Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery (TMAG)
Expeditioners’ Exhibition:
Cape Denison 2021-22

25 August – 4 September

Closed Mondays

Life at Cape Denison in the 21st century looks very different to that during Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14. This exhibition showcases photos from the Mawson’s Huts Foundation’s most recent conservation expedition, taken by the expeditioners themselves. Although conservation works dominate the schedule, come and see what else our team gets up to down south – whether it’s surveying penguin rookeries and petrel colonies, installing weather stations and mapping photogrammetry of the huts, or baking bread and preparing a delicious Christmas supper, there’s plenty to do!

Antarctica: A Portrait of Solitary Beauty

25 August – 4 September

Closed Mondays

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands presents:

The world premiere video installation “Antarctica” by René Koster and Michiel Borstlap. A story of Koster’s travels on a 1911 sailing ship, a journey of longing … a search for stillness, harmony and beauty. The haunting piano score offers transformation and abstraction. The two artists, hand in hand, take us to a mystical and mesmeric state.

The Australian premiere of “Stillness I and 11” by Esther Kokmeijer and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek). Capturing stillness and beauty, the meditative collaborations of music and images invites a reflection on the unparalleled beauty of glacial ecology, which appears both vulnerable and resilient in this intense work.

Bonjour Expeditioner!

24 August – 25 September

Closed Mondays

Bonjour Expeditioner! features postcards exchanged between Tasmanian primary school children and Antarctic expeditioners from the French Antarctic Program, which has been coming to Hobart for more than 60 years.

The return postcards, photos and answers to their probing questions provided an exciting opportunity for the children to learn more about the important scientific work done in the region. The project is a collaboration between the Tasmanian Polar Network, the French Antarctic Program, Lansdowne Crescent Primary School and Antarctic Tasmania.

Islands to Ice

Permanent Exhibition

Closed Mondays

The Islands to Ice exhibition provides a brilliant overview of Australia’s Antarctic history, including a fascinating examination of the science of ice, Antarctic animals and climate.

Salamanca Arts Centre
Antarctica: Valued, Protected and Understood

25–28 August | 10am–4pm


More than a century ago, Australia was introduced to the wonder of Antarctica by the great scientist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. Understanding the continent is key to a deeper understanding of climate, weather and sea level changes.

As a nation, Australia has an enduring commitment to protect and preserve Antarctica for future generations.

Last Dance Orange Roughy
3D Virtual Reality Artwork

11-28 August | 11am–4pm

Closed Mondays


Last Dance Orange Roughy depicts the final Australian voyage of the RSV Aurora Australis to the Antarctic continent. Last Dance Orange Roughy is an immersive visual and sonic feast of three-dimensional environments and spatial sound visualising and sonifying the last grand Antarctic dance of the Aurora Australis, crew and expeditioners.

John McCormick and Adam Nash (Wild System) were the 2020 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellows on the final Australian voyage of the icebreaker Aurora Australis to the Antarctic continent.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

The Call of Aurora

25–27 August | 8pm
Tickets: $35 | $28 (conc)


A Chamber Opera about love, death and madness, by Tasmanian composer & librettist Joe Bugden.

Based on Douglas Mawson’s 1911-1914 expedition to Antarctica, this intriguing story focuses on events in 1913 when, having been stranded along with Mawson and his crew, and struggling to endure the eternal darkness of the Antarctic Winter, wireless operator Sidney Jeffryes goes mad, believing himself to be Jesus Christ. The Call of Aurora investigates Mawson’s relationship with Jeffryes, and considers how History can shine its eternal light on some people, whilst casting others into the shadows of obscurity and anonymity.

Decoding the Myth of Sidney Jeffryes

25 August | 6:15pm

Doors open at 6:15 for a 6:20pm start. Please note audience members must leave the theatre immediately after the forum allowing for the pre-show preparations for The Call of Aurora.

Sidney Jeffryes, Mawson’s radioman, famously suffered a psychotic breakdown in midwinter 1913.

Three panellists – a polar psychologist, an Antarctic cultural historian, and the composer of an opera based on Jeffryes’ experience – discuss the factors that produced this situation and how we could interpret it today.


Dr Carolyn Philpott, musicologist (UTAS)

  • Prof Kimberly Norris, Polar psychologist (UTAS);
  • Prof Elizabeth Leane, Specialist in Antarctic cultural history (UTAS);
  • Joe Budgen, Composer of The Call of Aurora.
The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)
Inhabiting Antarctica: Architectural Explorations

22 August – December

The exhibition presents the work of students who joined the Research by Design studios led by IMAS affiliated researcher Dr Miranda Nieboer.

Antarctica is one of the most extreme environments on Earth. Discover in the exhibition alternative modes of inhabitation students have explored through the lens of Antarctica. Designs that embrace the ideas of change, unpredictability, urgency and contingency.

The exhibition also includes the video installation “Ice Blink: Fragments of Antarctic Voyages from Hobart”. This installation is a collection of videos, created by Dr Miranda Nieboer and Dr Frederique Olivier. It shows fragments of crossing the Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties and Screaming Sixties, and moving through the pack ice.

Marine Science

25–26 August

27–28 August | 10am–2pm

Photographer: Mary-Anne Lea

Located on the waterfront at Princes Wharf and Castray Esplanade – just across from Salamanca Place.

Immerse yourself in Antarctic science at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS). What do rocks, ice, ocean temperature, salinity and marine life tell us about one of the most extreme environments on Earth? What kind of gear do scientists use explore these remote and mostly inaccessible ecosystems? Discover how Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are adjusting to a changing climate, meet the marine predators that call it home, and see some bright ideas from students exploring architecture through an Antarctic lens. See you there!

Antarctic Research

25–26 August

27–28 August | 10am–4pm

The Waterside Pavilion is next to Constitution Dock, Mawson Place.

Come and explore the where, why, how and who of the CSIRO Marine Laboratories in Hobart. Learn how everything from computer models to maritime engineering and technology help reveal the mysteries of our oceans and atmosphere – from tiny algae to the global climate.

Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)
Phillip Law Lecture:
Observing Life on the Edge

25 August | 6pm–7pm

A broadcast of the livestream event Antarctic Animals: Tales from the Southern Ocean will follow the lecture.

Antarctic ecologist, writer and science communicator, Dr Dana M. Bergstrom, the 2021 Eureka Prize winner for Leadership in Innovation and Science, explores both personal and scientific lessons learnt from almost 40 years of conducting science on subantarctic islands and Antarctic ice free areas.

Dana first travelled south to Macquarie Island as an energetic 21 year old, on board the MV Nella Dan, and southern realm has captured her heart and mind ever since.

NOTE: This event will require a mask to be worn.

Hobart Function & Conference Centre
Australian Antarctic Festival Gala Dinner

27 August | 7pm–11pm
Tickets: $220–$2000

Celebrating all that is Antarctica, with iconic Australian speakers, giveaways, entertainment and a charity auction, a fun filled Antarctic night awaits.

Tickets include pre dinner drinks, a 3 course meal and an unlimited Tasmanian beverage package.

All proceeds go towards the Mawson’s Huts Foundation and their mission to inspire and educate the next generation of Antarctic explorers and preserve Australia’s unique Antarctic Heritage.

Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Ice in the Rigging – Antarctic Shippping

19 August – 13 November

The Southern Ocean is a most forbidding stretch of water. Any ship that deems to cross it must be well prepared with a stout-hearted crew. This exhibition features some of the vessels that have made the perilous journey to the icy continent, and the increasing role of Hobart as a gateway to the south.

Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts
Chilled: Antarctic life, Inside and Out

8 July – 29 October
Mon to Fri: 9:30am–5pm
Sat: 9:30am–2pm

Discover the incredible resilience of the people chosen to be Antarctic expeditioners and the many creative ways in which they tackle the dangers, isolation and responsibilities of living on the world’s iciest continent.

Don’t miss the curator Bruce Kay’s insights into the exhibition with the Curator Talk on 25 August from 2pm–3pm.

See the National Archives of Australia website for further details.

French Antarctic Science: A Historical Cooperation with Australia

24–25 August | 10am–4pm

©Armand Patoir, Institut Polaire Français

Through an exhibition, films, models and scientific equipment, the French Polar Institute invites you to discover the French polar stations, the research carried out there and the links between French and Australian scientists and logistics operators in Antarctica.”

Please note: on FRIDAY 26th AUGUST the exhibition will move to PRINCES WHARF No.1

Footage & Facts Antarctica

22–28 August
Check the THE LOOP Daily Schedule for screening times

Screening daily on THE LOOP, Hobart’s Digital Art Platform. Check your knowledge on our City’s relationship with and the importance of our amazing icy neighbour.

HMAS Brisbane
open to public

28 August | 10am–2pm

Members of the public are invited to inspect the Hobart Class guided missile destroyer, HMAS Brisbane.

PLEASE NOTE: Visitors must be at least 6 years old and able to transit the ship with minimal assistance. There are plenty of steep stairwells, so caution is advised. Enclosed footwear must be worn, and masks may be required on the day.

Antarctic Animals: Tales from the Southern Ocean

25 August | 7pm–8pm

Hear stories from scientists who have been to the Antarctic and witnessed animals in the wild. Discover the challenges faced by elephant seals as they swim the Southern Ocean searching for food. Uncover the amazing role of krill in the polar regions and find out what they’re telling us about the changing climate.

Understanding the challenges faced by Antarctic animals is central to improving our knowledge of the ocean’s role in climate change, and for understanding the impact that change is having on Earth.

  • Dr Stuart Corney, Senior Lecturer and Associate Head of
    Learning and Teaching, Centre for Oceans and Cryosphere, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
  • Dr Jaimie Cleeland, Fisheries Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division and University of Tasmania
  • Dr Devi Veytia, Centre de Synthèse et d’Analyse sur la Biodiversité (CESAB)
  • Dr Virginia Andrews-Goff, Senior Marine Mammal Research Scientist, Science Branch, Australian Antarctic Division
Count the Penguins.
You can help save them!

Want to be involved in a community science research program?

An Oxford University research team in the UK have launched a project that marries community support and online technology in the name of penguin conservation.

It’s called PenguinWatch – volunteers are asked to count penguins in a series of photographs taken across the continent of Antarctica. After a brief tutorial, anyone can use simple tools to mark chicks, eggs, and adults in each penguin colony, to assist with the team’s conservation and research efforts.


We’re looking forward to seeing you at the Festival!
Download our Schedule of Events guide and refer to the map below, to help plan your festival outings.

Coordinates of this location not found
Coordinates of this location not found

Festival Parking

See the Hobart City Council’s parking information and maps

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