WHILE the Australian Antarctic ice breaker Aurora Australis has been sold, a little work boat that was once attached to it has remained in Hobart.
Independent MP for Clark, Tasmania Andrew Wilkie said the Aurora Australis II was a miniature reminder of its mother ship, fondly known as the Orange Roughy, and should be permanently displayed on Hobart’s waterfront.
“We couldn’t save the mother, but we can save the baby,” Mr Wilkie said.
“This little orange work boat would wonderfully illustrate Hobart’s long history as a gateway to Antarctica since the early 19th century.”
Professor Emeritus at the University of Tasmania Dr Michael Stoddart said he and Mr Wilkie were working collaboratively with the Hobart City Council, TasPorts and Macquarie Point Development Corporation to find space for the 9.8-metre-long boat.
Dr Stoddart was chief scientist with the Australian Antarctic division from 1998 through 2008 and he established the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at UTAS, according to his LinkedIn page.
“Hobart had a huge fondness for the Aurora Australis, but many don’t realise we have a little part of it left,” Dr Stoddart said.
“This was its workboat that was kept at the bow and lowered over the side to clear ice from the hose used to refuel the stations, enable scientific work away from the ship, or run mooring lines from ship to shore. It has some neat little features including a heated hull to melt the ice.”
The Aurora Australis Foundation bought the baby Orange Roughy for $1 from P&O and is babysitting it for the Maritime Museum of Tasmania during the hunt for display space on the Hobart waterfront. Cleanlift Marine is providing in-kind support to store the boat.
Dr Stoddart said the obvious home for the boat would be the proposed Antarctic and Science Precinct at Macquarie Point.
“However, that’s years away yet, so we are really keen to find a space on the waterfront to display the boat temporarily,” he said.
“It would generate a huge amount of interest.”