Shared Winning entry – ANTARCTIC FLIGHT COMPETITION 2021

Naomi Leszczynska
Year 12 Gungahlin College

The single flight of Australian Sir George Hubert Wilkins over Antarctica, transformed the field of science in 1928 through the unionisation of aviation and exploration (Swan, 1990).

As only sublime features of nature can do, Antarctica’s powerful landscapes communicated the diverse interdisciplinary character of progress; the necessary amalgamation of exploration, engineering, and wonder, that leads to novel outcomes.

Nine unprecedented decades later, Antarctica once again inspires Australians to innovate solutions to seemingly unconquerable challenges.  No matter the student who ultimately flies over Antarctica, they will return with a nurtured motivation to preserve the natural world.

In the late 1890s, a devastating drought ravaged outback Australia.  As a child, Sir Hubert watched as his farming community suffered, inciting an interest in climatic phenomenon which lasted throughout his entire career.  While most of the pioneer’s plans were faulty, and his data erroneous, the “reconnaissance greatly influenced the course of all subsequent exploration” in the polar regions (Swan, 1990).

Recently, the modern youth of Australia bore witness to horrific bush fires that razed Australia in the Black Summer of 2020, stimulating an increasing attentiveness in the world’s changing climate.  In a reflection of Sir Hubert’s similar experience, Australia’s young are more committed to the condition of the climate than ever.  This parallel lends evidence to the undeniability of the correlation between experience, science and progress; thus, granting credit to the Antarctic Flight Competition and its willingness to inspire change.