Close this search box.
AM opens Thin Ice VR

Claire Vince, The Greatest Story of Survival Thin Ice VR opens at the Australian Museum, Australian Museum, 6 July 2024

Sydney: Thin Ice VR opens at the Australian Museum (AM) on 6 July, taking visitors on one of the world’s greatest against-all-odds adventures following in Sir Ernest Shackleton’s footsteps on the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, was trapped in Antarctic ice and had to be abandoned by the crew; what followed is regarded as one of the greatest survival stories of all time.

On Thin Ice exhibition – AM Homepage tile. Image: MonkeyStack/Shackleton Epic Expedition. © MonkeyStack/Shackleton Epic Expedition.

Created by adventurer, environmentalist and documentary filmmaker Tim Jarvis AM, the immersive virtual reality experience, which won the Best VR Film at Cannes and Los Angeles Film Festivals 2022, uses cutting-edge technology to allow viewers to experience the monumental challenges faced by Shackleton and his team during the last journey of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

Tim Jarvis AM said Thin Ice VR presents a unique account of humanity asserting its will over the extremes of nature and highlights the environmental challenges faced in the Antarctic today.

Tim Jarvis and emporor penguin. Thin Ice VR 2024. Image: James Alcock. © Australian Museum

“Shackleton’s journey of survival is a lesson in determination, optimism and the leadership needed to prevail against the odds. A hundred years ago, Shackleton’s goal was to save his men from the ice. Today it is the ice that needs saving from the human-induced climate change that threatens it,” Tim Jarvis said.

“The environment traversed by Shackleton has now been radically transformed by the effects of our actions. Just as Shackleton had to change course once his ship Endurance became frozen in the ice, so must we if we are to protect our world – the very foundations we stand upon.”

Australian Museum Director & CEO, Kim McKay AO said Thin Ice VR was a remarkable achievement in storytelling which reimagines an iconic journey for a modern audience.

Thin Ice VR places the viewer into the centre of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s epic journey across high seas on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Supported by a crew of 27, Shackleton’s hopes of becoming the first group of explorers to traverse the Antarctic continent were dashed in dramatic fashion, and the Thin Ice VR demonstrates the courage and conviction these intrepid adventurers had to harness in the fight for their lives,” Kim McKay said.

“This VR experience takes us back in time to a remarkably different environment, but the themes of survival, courage and working collaboratively remain as relevant now as they were more than 100 years ago.”

In 2013, Tim Jarvis re-enacted Shackleton’s open boat voyage from Elephant Island 1500 kms across the southern ocean to South Georgia. His Shackleton Epic Expedition provided the foundation on which Thin Ice VR was created.

“I am privileged to have worked with Tim on his Shackelton Epic Expedition in 2013. Now the Thin Ice VR brings that odyssey to life in a way that can be experienced by visitors to the Australian Museum,” McKay said.

Thin Ice VR will screen in a specially created VR Theatre in the Australian Museums touring exhibition hall. Opening on 6 July until 13 October, Thin Ice VR takes the audience on an unforgettable real-life experience.

Developed with award-winning South Australian studio Monkeystack, and supported by major partner Torrens University Australia, Thin Ice VR is a 22-minute virtual reality film and exhibition which recreates Shackleton’s epic journey across the southern ocean to the extreme cross of the South Georgia Island, blending historical adventure with a powerful environmental message.

  • Thin ICE VR dates: 6 July – 13 October, 2024.
  • Tickets: (prices, age limits, sessions) book here
  • Duration: 23 minutes.
  • Facebook: @ThinIceVR / Instagram: @thinicevr / Twitter: @ThinIceVR
  • Editor’s Note: Images, biographies, footage here:
  • Frank Hurley images here



  • Antarctica Explorers, Breakfast Behind the Scenes: Come behind the scenes and join Tim Jarvis in the Australian Museum’s historical boardroom for breakfast and hear of his adventures, set backs and his lessons on the great south pole landmass. Breakfast followed by the Thin Ice VR. 30 Aug 7.30am.
  • Eureka Talks, Antarctica: Ocean temperatures around the world have hit record highs and the polar sea ice is receding. Hear the facts from the experts in this lunchtime talk, followed by the Thin IceVR experience. Tim Jarvis will be joined by senior researcher, Antarctica Division, Dana Bergstom, hosted by journalist, Jackson Ryan. 31 Aug 11am.

Download the media release

  • MR Thin Ice VR 26 June 2024

    1.4 MB