FRENCH NAVY LANDS AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION TEAM IN ANTARCTICA

A team of Antarctic expeditioners will start work today on Australia’s most important heritage site at the “Home of the Blizzard”.

Members of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation have been landed by helicopter from the French icebreaker L’Astrolabe at Cape Denison, a remote stretch of windswept coastline 2500km south of Hobart.

For the next month, they will be among the most isolated people on earth.

The team will carry out vital conservation works at the Mawson’s Huts Historic site, the collection of buildings left behind by the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Australia most famous Antarctic explorer, Douglas Mawson

The expeditioners will face sub-zero temperatures and near-constant howling winds, expedition leader Marty Passingham said.

“Antarctica is one of the hardest places on earth to live and work.

“The works we are able to complete this summer will ensure Mawson’s Hut, its surrounding outbuilding and artefacts will be preserved for as a living reminder of Australia’s Antarctic Heritage.

“Mawson described this as the windiest place on earth and it always lives up to its reputation. There’ as 50-knot breeze blowing at the moment and factoring in the windchill it’s about minus 12 outside.

“Just getting here and establishing camp is the hardest part of the expedition, so we’re thrilled to be able to get on with the job ahead.”

Mawson’s Huts Foundation CEO Greg Carter said the work at Cape Denison this summer had been supported by grants from the Australian government – and donations from ordinary Australians. Strong support is also given by the French Polar Institute, and the French Navy.

“This expedition has a tough job. I’m thrilled they’re been able to set up camp and are getting on with our ambitious program of works for this summer, we are very grateful for the support of the French in our expedition, and it really highlights the spirit of Cooperation in the Antarctic.”

Douglas Mawson is best remembered for his lone trek of survival after the loss of two companions on a sledging expedition. He arrived back at Cape Denison to discover his relief ship had sailed just hours before

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ANTARCTIC EXPEDITIONERS TACKLE WORLD’S CHILLEST CONSERVATION PROJECT

— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —

ANTARCTIC EXPEDITIONERS TACKLE WORLD’S CHILLEST CONSERVATION PROJECT

A team of conservation experts will venture to Australia’s remotest Antarctic outpost to carry out works on the relics of our first Antarctic expedition. One hundred and ten years since Douglas Mawson set sail from Hobart, the 2021/22 Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition will spend five weeks in one of the harshest environments on earth in a bid to ensure the survival of the wooden huts they left behind.

Mawson’s Huts are a collection of wooden buildings constructed by the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition at Cape Denison, 2,500km south of Hobart. Mawson is best remembered for his lone trek of survival across the polar icecap after the death of two companions on a sledging journey. He arrived back at the hut only to see his relief vessel sail north over the horizon without him, leaving him stranded for another year. The huts site a largely untouched since Mawson and his men left it and are a listed heritage site.

The place he dubbed “the windiest place on earth” for its constant blizzards is so hard to get to it has not been visited by an expedition for six years. The team will camp on the Antarctic coastline hundreds of kilometres from the nearest Australian base. There are no showers or laundry facilities, they will melt ice for water and the camp toilet arrangements are best described as “basic”.

 

Chosen for their ability to thrive in the extreme cold and isolation of Cape Denison, the team is being supported by a grant from the Australian Government and logistical support from the Australian and French Antarctic programs. They will take advantage of the 24-hour sunlight during the Antarctic summer to complete a program of conservation works, erect an automatic weather station and conduct surveys of the area’s penguin population.

Mawson’s Huts Foundation CEO Greg Carter says:

“Mawson’s Huts are Australia’s most important historic site in Antarctica. The team’s work this summer will help ensure these examples of our priceless Antarctic heritage are preserved for the future. This work is not possible without the generous support of the Australian and French Antarctic programs and the support of the Foundation’s many donors and volunteers.

 

Expedition leader Marty Passingham says:

“Antarctica is never predictable. On previous trips, we’ve faced winds of over 100km/h, blizzards that went for days and temperatures down to minus 20. It can be a challenging place to live. The work we’re doing this summer is the culmination of 14 visits to the site over two decades This work is integral to the buildings’ survival.”

The team is made up of both Antarctic veterans and newcomers. They are in hotel quarantine and will depart Hobart aboard the French Antarctic program Vessel L’Astrolabe at the end of the week. The team is expected to return in late January.

TEAM: expedition leader Marty Passingham, of Hobart Tasmania; conservation team leader Ian Godfrey of Perth, Western Australia; materials conservators Karina Acton and Eoin Eoin O’Suilleabhain of Sydney; expedition doctor Roger Booth and base camp manager David Killick, both of Hobart.

Foundation CEO Greg Carter and expedition members are available for interviews prior to departure and during the expedition. Contact: Greg Carter 0411 484 101 OR greg.carter@mawsons-huts.org.au 

 

File images and vision of the expeditioners and the Mawson’s Huts site are available: HERE.

 

www.mawsons-huts.org.au

 

Media Release – Antarctic Festival 2022

MEDIA RELEASE

1 November 2021

 

MAWSON’S HUTS FOUNDATION CALVES A NEW-LOOK ANTARCTIC FESTIVAL WITH SUPPORT FROM THE CITY OF HOBART

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Support from the City of Hobart will ensure the ever-popular Australian Antarctic Festival will have a new prominence internationally when it re-emerges from its Covid-mandated hiatus in August next year.

Announcing the new-look festival, Mr Greg Carter, CEO of the Mawson’s Hut Foundation, thanked the City of Hobart for its support and said the festival would now have greater international involvement to reflect Hobart’s growing reputation as the home-base for Antarctic-related activities for many countries.

“All the countries with a presence in Antarctica appreciate the fact that their endeavours rely on the cooperation of all other nations working there, and it is this spirit of cooperation that we wish to celebrate,” Mr Carter said.

“The renewed Australian Antarctic Festival will be rebranded to embrace its international relevance and has been scheduled to run over four days (24–28 August) next year.

“The festival will feature free events in venues around Hobart and will further promote the city as the Asia-Pacific region’s premiere gateway to the Antarctic,” he said.

Mr Carter said that the 2022 festival will be the biggest to date, having already attracted significant interest from around Australia and globally.

“International participation in the 2022 Australian Antarctic Festival is set to reach record levels with several Antarctic Treaty Nations planning to attend and present an extensive range of exhibits.

“As well as the usual opportunities for members of the public to examine the latest Antarctic and marine research, there will be a program of fascinating, entertaining and educational events from many of the countries represented.

“Full details of all the festival’s events and highlights will be released when we launch the rebranded festival early next year,” Mr Carter said.

“Suffice to say that the festival will have broad appeal ranging from academia, exhibitions and displays, a planned ‘road show’ for regional areas and entertainment including Antarctic-related comedy and quiz nights.

“The Frank Hurley Photographic Competition will be expanded to establish a stunning new and historical Antarctic photography exhibition, and there will also be a collection of artefacts and equipment from Australia’s history of exploration in Antarctica.

“The usual ship and aircraft visits, the informative Law Lecture and the popular Australian Antarctic Festival Gala Dinner are also being planned.

“All proceeds from the Gala Dinner will go towards the Mawson’s Huts Foundation which seeks to educate the next generation of Antarctic explorers and preserve Australia’s Antarctic heritage,” he said.

As well as the support from the City of Hobart, the festival is sponsored and supported by Events Tasmania, the Australian Government, Australian Antarctic Program, Royal Australian Navy, University of Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the Mawson’s Huts Foundation.

In addition, Chimu Adventures is supporting the festival by offering visitors the option to participate in a three-day tour based around the science, discovery, and Antarctic expeditionary history.

“Chimu Adventures has chartered a Qantas 787 Dreamliner which will take off from Melbourne on the 25 August, landing in Hobart the morning of the 26 August after a visit to the Southern Lights from 40,000 feet,” Mr Carter said.

“This is a first for Tasmania.

“The three-day itinerary includes an historic walking tour, a visit to Mawson’s Huts replica museum and a tour of visiting ships, among other Antarctic themed activities,” he said.

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ends   27 October 2021

 

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