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Antarctic Tasmania

Hobart’s Antarctic history

Tasmania has a proud and enduring heritage of supporting Antarctic and Southern Ocean endeavour.

Believed to be a remnant of the super continent, Gondwana, which incorporated Antarctica as well as South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia, Tasmania’s Antarctic connections date back to 1773 when the English mariner, Tobias Furneaux sailed the ship Adventure into an unnamed bay on Bruny Island.

Thirty years later the English established the first permanent European settlement on the Derwent and Hobart Town was soon a haven for whalers and sealers working in the Southern Ocean. One sealer, John Briscoe, reprovisioned his ships in Hobart in 1831 during a successful circumnavigation of Antarctica. During the voyage Briscoe discovered Enderby Land where Australia’s Mawson station was later established.

From the mid-19th century, trail-blazing explorers such as Jules Dumont d’Urville, James Clark Ross, Carsten Borchgrevink, Roald Amundsen, Louis Bernacchi and Douglas Mawson relied on the Port of Hobart and the expertise of skilled Tasmanians to support their expeditions to and from Antarctica.