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Episode Four of the Voice of Real Australia podcast: Life aboard the Aurora Australis

The only Australian built icebreaker, the beloved RSV Aurora Australis, might soon leave our shores.

The Aurora was built in Carrington Slipways upriver from Newcastle. The ship was launched in 1989 and since then has served the Australian Antarctic program for 30 years. Orange Roughy, as it's affectionately known, helped Australia make its mark in Antarctica. It facilitated advancements in oceanography, climate science, marine research, glaciology and conservation including the management of krill fisheries.

AA hits fast ice off Davis V1 7 Nov 2019. PHOTO: Simon Payne AAD

AA hits fast ice off Davis V1 7 Nov 2019. PHOTO: Simon Payne AAD

The icebreaker was decommissioned this year. There had been a push to preserve the ship as a floating museum and function space based in Hobart. But the ship's owner, P&O Maritime Logistics, was granted an export permit so the ship could be sold overseas.

"The decision-making process regarding the future of Aurora Australis is ongoing. POML has been approached by a number of interested parties from around the world," a spokesperson said.

There Aurora is moored at Princes Wharf in Hobart, awaiting its next adventure.

It is really hard to comprehend that this is actually not a dream. We are miles from everywhere, it is the middle of winter in Antarctica, and your ship is on fire.

Barbara Wienecke

We spoke to scientists, expeditioners and crew about their experiences aboard the icebreaker, including the engine room fire of 1998 and the rescue of a private vessel in 2013. You'll hear actual recordings from aboard the historic ship.

Aurora Australis launch Carrington Slipways Newcastle 18 Sept 1989. PHOTO: AAD

Aurora Australis launch Carrington Slipways Newcastle 18 Sept 1989. PHOTO: AAD

For more on the Aurora Australis check out Sarah Laverick's book Through Ice & Fire.

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This story Climb aboard the only Australian-made icebreaker first appeared on Newcastle Herald.