Photo: Australian Antarctic Division Director Kim Ellis, Minister for State Growth Roger Jaensch, Honorary Antarctic Ambassador for Tasmania Sir Guy Green cutting the cake at the 40th celebrations held at Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. (Alistair Bett Photography)
2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the Australian Antarctic Division’s move to Tasmania and the establishment of Hobart as an Antarctic Gateway City in 1981.
For 40 years now, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has attracted world-class experts from science to policy, polar medicine to operations to work locally in Tasmania.
To mark this anniversary, celebrations were held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in recognition of the role AAD and generations of Antarctic families play in the local southern Tasmanian community.
Minister for State Growth, Roger Jaensch attended the anniversary and commented on the achievements of the Australian Antarctic Division.
“Supporting the Australian Antarctic Division to deliver our national Antarctic program is an honour, and provides Tasmania with an opportunity to showcase our capacity to supply quality produce and develop highly specialised equipment custom-designed for Antarctic conditions,” said Minister Jaensch.
The Antarctic Division was established in Melbourne in 1948 as a part of the Federal Government Department of External Affairs.
In 1973, in a move aimed at promoting regional development and decentralisation, it was proposed the Division be relocated to Hobart.
In April 1981, the newly built AAD headquarters in Kingston was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles.
Since then, Tasmania has grown to support the sector, establishing industries producing specialised equipment, produce, and other supplies that support Australia’s Antarctic program as well as several international partner programs.
This growth continues, with the sector contributing $229.4 million in value to the economy in 2019-20, of which $158.7 million was spent directly in Tasmania.
The sector also employs nearly 950 people locally, both directly and indirectly.
With October marking the start of the Antarctic season, Hobart is set to become a hive of activity around Macquarie Point and Wharf with the deployment of supplies, equipment, and expeditioners to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
A new era for the AAD and the broader Australian Antarctic Program will begin in just days, when the nation’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina, arrives in Hobart for the first time.
“We thank the Australian Antarctic Division for being part of Tasmania’s community and identity, and I wish all expeditioners well for the coming season,” Minister Jaensch concluded.