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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

18 September 2006

Extraordinary images of Antarctica on display at Parliament House


An exhibition showing an extraordinary side of the Australian Antarctic Territory has been opened at Parliament House in Canberra.

The photographs show a side of Antarctica rarely seen by the general public.

“Few people in the community have the opportunity to visit Antarctica. A small number of artists, photographers and writers visit Australia’s Antarctic Territory each year through the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowships but usually their stay is short and their opportunities limited by the incredible harshness of the environment”, Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell Senator Campbell said.

“Most of the imagery comes from the scientists and the technical people who live and work there. It’s the people on our stations, research ships and remote field locations who get the best opportunities to witness and photograph the spectacular southern lights or aurora australis; the amazing Antarctic wildlife and the intense colours of Antarctic sunsets.”

This continues a long tradition of capturing Antarctica in pictures, dating back to Captain Cook’s time when watercolour and rough pencil and ink drawings were the only available medium.

“Antarctic photography became very significant when the promise of film of this remote and mysterious part of the world, particularly through the lenses of Frank Hurley, helped finance the early scientific expeditions of Mawson and Shackleton.

“We still rely heavily on photographs from our Antarctic expeditioners and scientists - the people who are in close contact with the animals and the environment – to tell the story of Antarctica and its environmental and scientific significance to the world.

“They play a very important role in promoting the work of the Australian Government Antarctic Division, not only through their leading edge scientific and technical pursuits, but through their cameras.”

Senator Campbell said the Australian Government’s $46.3 million 2005 Budget initiative to introduce a landmark Antarctic airlink to support Australia’s Antarctic programme would bring new opportunities to extend our involvement with Antarctica, with regular flights to begin in the 2007/2008 season.

“Once again we will be relying on photographers and filmmakers to bring this exciting new chapter in our history to the world,” Senator Campbell said.

Images from the exhibition are available for viewing on the Australian Government Antarctic Division’s website www.aad.gov.au. The exhibition is on display at Parliament House until 4 October.

Media contacts:
Rob Broadfield on 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia