Sir Douglas MawsonAUSTRALIANS should know more about the heroic efforts of Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson in cementing science at the centre of the icy continent’s future, the head of the Australian Antarctic Division says.

Dr Tony Fleming left Hobart late yesterday on the icebreaker Aurora Australis bound for Commonwealth Bay to commemorate the centenary of Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

A commemorative party plans to lay a time capsule and raise the Australian flag near Mawson’s wooden huts at Cape Denison to mark his ground-breaking 1911-14 scientific and mapping expedition.

”I think he should be known by many people, he’s a true heroic figure and Antarctica is really important to Australia,” Dr Fleming said yesterday.

”From Australia’s point of view it’s about recognising our origins in Antarctica.”

Dr Fleming said Mawson, an Adelaide-based geologist with a passion for Antarctic exploration, was a key figure of the ”heroic age of exploration” and the only scientist to lead one of the great pioneering expeditions to the southern continent.

He said the biggest legacy of Mawson’s expedition was to ensure that science was at the centre of Antarctica’s future.

The commemorations planned for next week will include the reading of a message from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Her message will be in a time capsule that will also contain winning entries from Australian school children who wrote about what they saw as the future of Antarctica.

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