RSV Aurora Australis – image Robyn Everist

On Sept 18th 2019, RSV Aurora Australis will turn 30.

RSV Aurora Australis in Hobart – image Wiki Commons

Within a year RSV Aurora Australis will be replaced by the RSV Nuyina. Nuyina (noy-yee-nah) means southern lights in palawa kani, the language of the Tasmanian Aborigines. Southern lights are also known as the aurora australis. The naming of both vessels gives a nice connection between the two. Nuyina is expected to arrive in Hobart in mid-2020, for its first voyage to the Antarctic in summer 2020. For more information on the RSV Nuyina click here.

RSV Nuyina

RSV (Research Vessel) Aurora Australis, affectionately known as the big orange roughy, was built and launched in Newcastle, NSW, on 18th September 1989.

orange roughy – image Australia Fisheries Management Authority
18th Sept 1989 – Launch of RSV Aurora Australis in Newcastle, NSW
image Australian Antarctic Division

The vessel is owned by P&O Maritime Services and is chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) over the summer to undertake scientific research and resupply the Australian Antarctic bases.

Image – Australian Antarctic Division

The vessel is a common sight in Hobart, spending winters here then venturing out through the Southern Ocean, the roughest open water in the world.

RSV Aurora Australis resupplies the Australian Antarctic bases of Mawson, Davis and Casey, as well as the sub-Antarctic bases on Macquarie Island, Heard Island and McDonald Island.

Image – Australian Antarctic Division

An interesting book on the history of RSV Aurora Australis has been released in time for the 30th anniversary of the launch of the vessel:

Image – Australian Antarctic Division

You can listen to an ABC radio interview by Richard Fidler with the author Sarah Laverick. Click here.

For those keen on comparisons and the vital statistics of each vessel, this chart is useful. Click here.

Below are some photos taken during a tour of the RSV Aurora Australis in September 2016.

cargo hold
One of the many science officers
the view from the bridge
Helicopter pad and storage for 3 helicopters
ocean exploration vessel held in deck cradle.
A typical expeditioner’s cabin, live model used to indicate size of berths
briefing room becomes the cinema at night
Dr Andrea Walters, mesopelagic ecologist & experienced Antarctic expeditioner, explaining how the trawl deck works.
One of the many labs
Inside the trawl deck
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