It’s sailed across the sea from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and now a massive LEGO model of
Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina has anchored in the South Australian Museum’s foyer.
The model is on loan from Australian Antarctic Division and was brought to life in LEGO by Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught, it’s 3.2 metres long, uses 117,612 LEGO bricks and took a team of three people 328
hours to build.
Most recently it was featured on the hit TV show LEGO Masters Australia.
The inspiration to build the model came to Mr McNaught while he was in Hobart in 2016 where he learned that a new icebreaker was under construction. RSV Nuyina is the main lifeline to Australia’s research stations and the central platform of our Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research. ‘Nuyina’ (pronounced noy-yee-nah) means ‘southern lights’ in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aboriginal People.
Justine van Mourik, Deputy Director Engagement at the South Australian Museum explained it was a great fit for the Museum to have a LEGO model of RSV Nuyina on display given the Museum’s extensive polar
collections and history of research in Antarctica across several scientific fields.
“The South Australian Museum’s Australian polar collections gallery on level three tells the story of
Australia’s involvement in Antarctic exploration including our extensive collection of material related to Sir
Douglas Mawson. Mawson, the Adelaide-born geologist, and explorer led the first Australasian Antarctic
Expedition from 1911 to 1914. This early expedition with its comprehensive scientific and geographical
program included ship-based research onboard the vessel the SY Aurora, just as contemporary scientists doon Nuyina.
“The Museum also has a dedicated research team who continue to do regular fieldwork in Antarctica, so we understand firsthand the important role these icebreakers play in facilitating scientific research.
“RSV Nuyina is so important to Australia’s current and future research program in the Antarctic region,” Ms
van Mourik added.
Australian Antarctic Division Director Kim Ellis said RSV Nuyina would be the centrepiece of Australia’s
Antarctic Program for the next 30 years.
“RSV Nuyina is the most advanced polar research vessel in the world, an icebreaker, cargo ship and science
super-lab all in one,” Mr Ellis said.
“Over summer it undertook its first two voyages to Antarctica, as well as resupplying sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island research station.”
“We’ve already achieved major milestones in krill research and deep-sea mapping.”
“We’re delighted to be able to share its Lego-lookalike with the South Australian Museum and hope it
inspires a new generation of scientists and expeditioners.”
Each year the icebreaker makes annual resupply voyages to research stations, delivering supplies that will
be needed for the entire year.
“This LEGO model is an engaging and fun way to educate the public, especially children, about the role of
these research vessels and their incredible capability to facilitate contemporary scientific research across a
number of fields as well as carrying expeditioners and cargo. It’s essentially a floating station keeping
everybody going,” explained Ms van Mourik.
“The model is full of lots of fun things to try and find like Star Wars characters, a yeti, animals, aliens and
funny situations with Antarctic expeditioners and crew,” Ms van Mourik added.
LEGO RSV Nuyina arrives today and will dock at the Museum for the next year in the Museum’s foyer.
Admission is free. An extensive program of LEGO and polar inspired events are planned for the July school
holidays at the Museum and as part of the Illuminate Festival. More detail available here.
What are you waiting for? LEGO!