Invitation from the Convenor
Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 kilometres to the south of the Australian mainland, separated from it by the Bass Strait, with the archipelago containing the southernmost point of the country. With the Indian Ocean to the West, the Pacific to the East and the Southern Ocean to the South, Tasmania is no stranger to all things maritime. Laying smack bang in the path of the roaring forties, Tasmanians have a strong relationship and respect for the sea.
While Australia is well known for its red centre, full of Koalas and Kangaroos, the reality is that most of the population lives in coastal regions. While not typically thought of as a seafaring nation, Australians most certainly have salt in the blood. It is a right-of-passage for all young Aussie’s to learn to surf. Ownership of a recreational fishing boat or “the boat”, is an aspirational expectation of most Australians. With temperate and tropical blue waters surrounding the country, much of which is sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef, recreational cruising by sail or under power is truly world class. As an island nation, a strong sovereign Naval capability is a must. So, from surfboards to submarines, Australia is very much a maritime nation.
The Australian Maritime College, at the University of Tasmania is the national institute for maritime education, training, and research. Following nearly two decades of dedicated work, legislation to establish AMC was passed in 1976 and the doors were opened in 1980. Initially formed to service Australia’s merchant fleet and fishing industry, it evolved to deliver Australia’s tertiary education and maritime research needs. The first hydrodynamic facility was a circulating water channel, established in 1982. It was followed by a 60-metre Towing Tank in 1984 that was extended to 100-metres in 2005. A 35- by 12-metre shallow water Model Test Basin was added in 2001. AMC’s first Cavitation Tunnel was established in 1996 and later replaced with the existing tunnel in 2008. Delivering both a tertiary education and vocational training, the AMC has, over the years, owned and operated various ships. It also has a comprehensive suite of contemporary maritime ship-handling simulators. More recently, the AMC has pushed the boundaries of maritime research, innovating, and building an underwater collision experimental facility and developing autonomous underwater vehicle capabilities for Antarctic and Southern Ocean research.
Being the national and sovereign hydrodynamic testing facility AMC has, since establishing its first towing tank, been involved with the ITTC. AMC representative(s) have attended all full conferences since the 17th term in 1984. AMC has been an ITTC member organisation since the 18th term, and had continuous representation on the Advisory Council since the 26th term. There have been AMC technical contributions since the 21st term, with over the years, members contributing to a total of seventeen individual committees.
Tasmania is historically well known for growing apples and nowadays has a reputation for a wide variety of high-quality produce. Its most notable heavy industry produce is ‘Wavepiercing catamarans’, built at the Incat shipyard in Hobart and exported globally. In recent years, Australia has made a commitment to future naval capability, in the order of hundreds of Billions of dollars. With a 50-year plan to build and operate naval ships and submarines, there is a clear need to both educate maritime engineers and have world-class hydrodynamic facilities. Moreover, the magnitude of the investment warrants a decadal-plan for growing the scientific capacity and capability of the nation in all corners of the maritime sector. This not so much about building submarines but more a case of equipping the next generation of Australian maritime engineers with the skills needed to innovate and thrive in the evolving landscape.
Surrounded by ocean and being the step-off point for Antarctica, Tasmania is pushing the boundaries of the most contemporary technologies. Biological organisms in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica are being shown to be key indicators in climate research. Conducting research in these unforgivingly harsh environments needs dedicated and novel maritime engineering solutions, for which AMC is well placed to respond. Tasmania is at the forefront of developments in aquaculture and marine renewable energy. In recent years an AMC staff member was instrumental in landing the largest ever research grant in the field, securing total funding of AUS$330 Million. The University of Tasmania, of which AMC is a part, has in 2023 been recognised as a world leading institution for Sustainability; with sustainable use of the world Oceans being a major focus.
I have myself been involved with the ITTC since the 24th term; hard to imagine it has been a quarter of a century! In 2005, as an academic working at Newcastle University in the UK, I assisted in the planning and arrangements for the full conference in Edinburgh. Now however I am an Australian citizen live in Australia, which I can say is a direct consequence of my involvement in the ITTC, and the friendship it helped me forge. It is now with the very greatest of pleasure, I extend an invitation to those friends. An invitation to come together, to talk, to listen, to think, to push the boundaries of our chosen science, all while enjoying the uniqueness of Tasmania.