The Aurora Australis has served the Australian Antarctic Program for 30 years. She was the second-last vessel built at Newcastle shipyards and is the only Antarctic icebreaker built in Australia.
We believe that the vessel should have a new life as an emergency response vessel, training vessel, museum, accommodation and function venue and conference centre to share her amazing history with the Australian public that has known and admired the Aurora Australis for three decades.
The Aurora Australis is the perfect vessel for emergency response. As a former Antarctic icebreaker and resupply ship her capabilities are very broad, and include:
- Ability to transport and transfer over 1 million litres of fuel
- A functional hospital including operating capability if required
- A radio room that could restore communication temporarily
- A helicopter pad and refuelling station
- Accommodation for 109 persons over and above crew numbers
- Water making capability
- Storage capacity for emergency equipment, clothes or non-perishable food
The ship, if kept operational, could be used by the Australian Maritime College and Diving colleges as a training vessel in areas such as search and rescue and ship-board fire-fighting and medical response. In this way the Aurora Australis will continue to support Australia's maritime industry by educating our future seafarers.
The Aurora Australis is a ship of national significance and we recognise her unique role in Australia’s Antarctic and maritime history as our only locally-built and longest-serving icebreaker, having been the mainstay of the Australian Antarctic Program for 30 resupply seasons.
A museum will allow the Aurora Australis, when not required for emergency response, to remain in her home port of Hobart and share her story and the experience of being on board with Australian and international visitors.
Through careful planning and design, such as the use of containers to create movable museum capsules, the ship can be both a museum and retain her operational capability.
Her accommodation and internal spaces can also be used for functions and conferences, increasing the capacity of local venues in Hobart.
Adaptation of the Aurora Australis as a museum will also promote greater public awareness of Australia’s work in Antarctica in the past, present and for the future, vital insights into the Antarctic Program that are currently missing from Australia's cultural landscape.
In all her proposed roles the Aurora Australis will provide much-needed economic stimulus and job opportunities.
This ship has performed vital work for our country on its many voyages to and from Antarctica. It now has the chance to be repurposed in a way that will allow her to continue to serve the Australian community.
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