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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 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.

Festival 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.

Antarctic Expo

26–28 August

26 August | 12 Noon -4pm

27-28 August |10am-4pm

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The magnificent Princes Wharf No.1 Shed is one of the largest exhibition spaces in the state, set right on the water with fantastic views.

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 tourism operators like Chimu. The Australian Defence Force usually exhibits here as well. The exhibition is free to the public.

Princes Wharf No.1
Antarctic Stamp and Postcard Exhibition

26–28 August

26 August | 12 Noon -4pm

27-28 August |10am-4pm

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The Antarctic Stamp and Postcard Exhibition is a non-competitive exhibition of Antarctic stamps, postcards, postal history and other collectibles.

Mawson’s Huts replica Museum
Family Day 

28 August | 10am–3pm

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

27–28 August | 10am–4pm

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Located in Hunter Street, the Mac 2 TasPorts Cruise Terminal is a modern facility, purpose-built to handle the tens of thousands of visitors who come to Hobart as passengers aboard some of the largest cruise ships in the world.

A stunning exhibition space, the extraordinary colour and creativity of the ‘Penguin Rookeries’ displays 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

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!

Bonjour Expeditioner

23 August – 25 September

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
10am | 4pm

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
3D Virtual Reality Artwork

8–28 August | 10am–4pm

Located close to Hobart’s waterfront, Salamanca Arts Centre is a vibrant arts community that features a combination of galleries, artist studios, theatres, and retail outlets.

3D Virtual Reality is generated from data collected on the last Antarctic voyage of the RSV Aurora Australis by 2022 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellows, John McCormick and Adam Nash.

Antarctic Art

25–28 August | 10am–4pm

A wonderful display of Antarctic-themed art from life-sized penguins painted by some of Tasmania’s best-known and emerging artists, to a rich exhibition of inspired art by painter Alison Lester. The exhibition demonstrates the deep impression that Antarctica can make on contemporary artists.

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.

The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)
Marine Science

25–26 August

27–28 August | 10am–4pm

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

Visit IMAS for a fascinating look at cutting-edge marine science, and enjoy the breezy, pleasant views over the busy Port of Hobart and Sullivans Cove.

Antarctic Research

27–28 August | 10am–4pm

The Waterside Pavilion on Constitution Dock, Mawson Place is an attractive, contemporary venue located in the heart of Hobart’s fabulous waterfront district.

The CSIRO Science Discovery Exhibition provides an opportunity to better understand our planet’s physical system and the many forms of life that depend upon it.

Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)
Phillip Law Lecture


In the beautifully renovated building of the historic Hutchins School on Macquarie Street, CCAMLR is one of the very few international organisations based in Tasmania. The gothic arches and stonework of the beautiful building house a sophisticated multi-purpose conference centre and lecture hall.

Several international conferences will be held here throughout the festival, along with the always compelling Phillip Law Lecture – guest speaker yet to be announced.

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.

Antarctic Film Festival


An icon of entertainment for generations of Tasmanians’ for over 100 years, there is a popular Rooftop cinema, bar & bookstore on the premises.

Antarctic Film Festival …

Choir Recitals


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Situated on one of the finest Georgian streetscapes in Australia, the superior organs and acoustics of this Anglican Church demand frequent concerts.

Details to come



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An historical sandstone building located on Macquarie Street, the town hall has a magnificent auditorium.

Experience the talent of the Derwent Symphony Orchestra, as they present a concert of popular music from Douglas Mawson’s era.



Festival Parking

See the Hobart City Council’s parking information and maps

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