SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER AT THE OPENING OF THE ANTARCTIC DIVISION HEADQUARTERS - KINGSTON, HOBART
Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983
Release Date: 22/04/1981
Release Type: Speech
Transcript ID: 5572
Document: Original Transcript (PDF 167.73 KB)
7~ EMBARGO: 3: 30 pm
Zr 22 APRIL, 1981
SPEECH B3Y THE PRIME MI1NISTER AT THE OPENING OF THE
ANTARCTIC DIVISION HEADQUARTERS KINGSTON, HOBART
Your Royal Highness, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
it gives me great pleasure to be in Kingston today to join
in welcoming his Royal Highness to this part of Australia and
to participate in this official opening of the new headquarters
of our major Antarctic Research Agency.
Tasmania is becoming the focal point of Australia's Antarctic
endeavours and an international centre as well. The complex
to be opened today has been built at a cost of $ 8.9 million.
Parliament approved the proposal in October 1977 and it has
beon finished well ahead of schedule by a local Hobart firm,
and has already won a design award for architectural excellence.
All -the functions of Antarctic Division are now located in a
single building and a t tal of 107* staff will use the building
incl. uding expeditioners. And I might say that while it is a
research support centre for the Antarctic expeditions, special
provision has been made for an historical display area to be
open to the public for exhibits associated with Australia's~
There are many advantages to be gained from bringing our
Antarctic and related endeavours -together and especially from
doing so in Tasmania, which is relatively close, and where the
snowfields and wilderness areas provide ideal training grounds
for staff. The Australian Maritime College in Launceston was
opened last year and it is, as is well known, the " practical
seamanship and fisheries training centre". Hundreds of Australian
seafarers will receive both basic and specialised training at
that College. Then there is the new marine science complel:, which
is to be the headquarters of the CSTRO Divisions of Fisheries
It reflects the Government's decision to devote substantial
resources -to marine science.
The Marine Centre is exnected to be fully operational within
five years it will have a new multi-purpose oceanographic
vessel and tenders closed for this vessel last month. The
secretariat of the international commission established by the
convention on conservation of Antarct-ic marine living resources
will be located in Hobart.
The concentration of these Antarctic. and marine research
activities in Tasmania will encourage co-operation between the
people involved and contribute more to the effective
functioning of all the agencies. More than this, Tasmania will
increasingly become a world centre in all these fields.
Australia's Antarctic territory is an immense area almost as
large as the Australian continent itself. Australia has a
long arid proud record of concerned stewardship over our
Antarctic territory it is a fragile as well as a hostileenvironmuent.
Both science and bitter experience have helped
human beings to survive in the Antarctic. It is my hope that
it will only be science and not bitter experience that will
help human beings to understand and manage the resources of the
Antarctic. To this end, we have committed ourselves to increasing
and updating the facilities at all Australian Antarctic stations
Casey, Davis and Mawson. The resulting program will be
implemented over a ten year period at a cost of over $ 58 million.
We are pursuing a balanced program of research in Antarctica.
The Antarctic Research Policy Advisory Committee, set up in
1979 comprises top level industrial and academic research
interests, together with relevant departments as observers.
This Cormmittee has completed a report of priorities, and many
of its eighteen recommendations have already been implemented
by the Government. In particular, the Government has accepted
the notion of developing the Antarctic Division as a. centre of
excellence in southern ocean marine biology. In 1980-81
$ 1.2 million was provided for the first stage of this program.
Australia's official involvement in Antarctic goes back to
1899, when a Tasmanian scientist, Louis Bernacchi, was a
member of the first expedition to winter there. And then there
were the great Australasian scientific expeditions led by
Sir Douglas Mawson, in 1911, and again in 1929 to 1931. In
1936, the Australian Antarctic Territory was proclaimed, and
in 1959 the Antarctic Treaty was established, In 1947, the
Government established the Australian National Antarctic Resea:_+ ch
Expeditions ( ANARE) which have been co-ordinated and supported
by the Antarctic Division.
Our commitment has been to scientific research and to exploration.
Research activity has been directed towards a basic understanding
of the Antarctic environment, and the relationslhips betwe. n it
and the global environment. Particular studies 1-ave been made
of phenomena which are peculiar to the area such as changes in
the earth's magnetic field. Research has also been done on the
marine living resources of the southern ocean and the
environmental effects of their possible exploitation. Year
round meteorological observations are part of the informati'on
used in daily weather forecasts for Australia and the Southern
We have sought to gain a better understanding of the Antarctic,
and to play a useful and constructive part in managing that
Australia's Antarctic Division is now part of the Australian
legend; In 35 years, it has made enormous contribution to man's
knowledge and experience of Antarctica.
Australia is proud of the tradition that has been established,
and that will no doubt be continued in this new headquarters.