A Message from the Director

I remember that 2020 was a year that was frequently looked upon as the future. For me as a child 2020 was the far-distant future. Well here we are in 2020 reflecting upon a very busy and productive year at Questacon during 2019 and the possible futures of the young students who visit Questacon daily. What an exciting time to be alive on planet Earth and what a time of discovery and disruption.

Our young Mini-Q visitors will be growing up throughout the 21st century. What will their future be like I wonder? It is indeed a time of challenge and opportunity for us all. We see our task as creating excitement, motivation and a positive outlook for the future as we help young Australians develop the knowledge and skills to make their hopes and dreams a reality.

As Director, I am fortunate to work with such a passionate and hard-working team. It is indeed a pleasure and a privilege to work in an organisation characterised by such a diverse range of staff of amazing ability and enthusiasm.

There are many highlights of 2019 but winning an Inclusion Award is one that makes me particularly proud of the Questacon workforce.

Questacon is well-supported by an amazing Advisory Council, a new Q Australia Foundation and our colleagues in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. Questacon’s work is powered by enabling partnerships that allow us to extend our geographical and social reach across Australia.

We seek to create inspirational learning experiences for visitors of all ages at the Centre and in as many locations as we can visit in any one year. We work support a better future for Australians through engagement with science, technology and innovation. In 2019 more than half a million visitors attended Questacon facilities in Canberra, with three-quarters coming from interstate. We reached another 54 000 people in regional locations through our outreach activities and travelling exhibitions. More than 20 per cent of the population were aware of National Science Week, with 1.5 million people participating. Sixteen young Australian scientists trained through the Shell Questacon Science Circus, building skills and capability in our national cohort of science communicators.

Seven state and territory based Inspiring Australia Managers connected communities, researchers and organisations across all jurisdictions, including linking to more than 50 STEM hubs in regional Australia to engage their communities. We also reached into classrooms across the nation, with 640 teachers participating in Questacon’s teacher professional development sessions. Online, our website attracted 2.1 million visitors and we have more than 200 000 social media followers.

The start of a new year is a time to look back with pride and look forward with anticipation. In 2019 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing. In 2020 we will be acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day with its focus on environmental sustainability. We will be developing space-themed exhibits in partnership with the Australian Space Agency and anticipating missions to further explore Mars.

We will continue to work with our partners to build our national presence and international outlook, to deliver inspirational learning experiences across Australia and globally with our partners within the global science centre community.

In 2020 we will continue to promote awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and work towards a highly sustainable operation across all of our work.