Hobart celebrates its Antarctic gateway

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Lights will throw an icy shade of blue across key Hobart landmarks as the city welcomes hundreds of Antarctic expeditioners from across the globe from next week.

Hobart will be the gathering point for up to 750 expedition leaders, scientists, tradespeople and support staff prior to their Antarctic journey.

“Hobart is recognised globally as an Antarctic Gateway City,” Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said. “We are lucky to be geographically positioned as a natural entry point to the frozen continent.

“As a city, we’ve embraced our custodianship of this gateway and we relish the opportunity to celebrate with those who are passing through it – either having travelled from elsewhere or residing here in Hobart.

“Banners welcoming the expeditioners are already adorning our streetscapes and blue lighting will be used a number of locations to draw attention to our Antarctic Gateway status.

“It’s a small way in which we can acknowledge the importance of the Australian Antarctic Program and continent to our city and celebrate the new expedition season.”

Blue lighting will feature in locations including Kennedy Lane, Elizabeth Mall, the Railway Roundabout fountain, Franklin Square and Mawson’s Place every evening on 21-27 October.

The City of Hobart will hold a civic reception on 22 October to further celebrate the city’s role as an Antarctic Gateway City.

The Hobart-based Australian Antarctic Program operates as part of a collaborative partnership that includes more than 150 national and international research institutions and is estimated to be worth around $186 million a year to the Tasmanian economy.

“As well as supporting vital research and exciting career opportunities, there is a clear economic benefit in supporting the Antarctic Program,” Cr Reynolds said. “And that is only going to grow as a result of major events happening in 2020.”

Next year, Hobart will host two globally significant conferences: the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research – the latter of which is expected to draw 700 scientists from 40 countries.

This will be in addition to the biennial Australian Antarctic Festival, the annual meeting of the Commissions for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources conference and the Tasmanian Government’s Sub-Antarctic Forum.

“This all leads up to the delivery of Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina, which will spend its time between Antarctic voyages docked in Hobart, further enhancing our relationship with the continent,” Cr Reynolds said.

“This is an exciting time for our city and its relationship with Antarctica,” Cr Reynolds said.

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