With a siren call, only a few people can hear, the lure of the ocean is hard to ignore.
The ocean is the epitome of the wild ferocity of nature, it is unbridled and can be deadly, but at the same time, it can be refreshing and peaceful.
However, in a group of unassuming concrete buildings, and a few metal sheds, the unharnessed energy of the ocean is being tamed.
The Australian Maritime College is located at Newnham, co-located on the University of Tasmania campus.
It is a hive of student activity, where internationally significant research is being conducted - not that the average person would ever know.
The sheds have little insignia on them, and the maritime feel of the place is not present until you enter the cavernous research labs and hear the shush of water lapping against a glass tank, or water being pulled through a storeys-high cavitational tunnel.
AMC principal Shuhong Chai said the college played a unique role in the cultural, social and economic fabric of Launceston but the tide was soon to turn on the facility, with the potential for a brighter future.
"AMC employs about 200 staff members, many of whom are from culturally diverse backgrounds representing 37 countries from across the globe," she said.
"The college's student profile is diverse, with its international cohort makeup of students from 55 countries who relocated to Launceston to complete their studies."
The Pacific Patrol Boat program, spearheaded by AMC has also injected about $75 million into the Northern Tasmanian economy and trainees have brought their diverse cultures to the area, including participation in multicultural events and local sporting teams.
"AMC's training, education and research partnerships with government, academia and private enterprise attract funding to the region and help bolster Launceston's reputation as a city of learning," she said.
With the imminent move of the University of Tasmania's Newnham campus to Inveresk, the AMC has needed to consider its future with a separate identity to the university.
Professor Chai said one of the challenges the AMC had faced in the past decade was constriction of space.
"The AMC’s footprint has remained largely unchanged since merging with the university in 2008," Professor Chai said.
"To meaningfully expand its world-class research and development programs to support defence priorities to benefit Australia’s sovereign capability in the naval domain, a strategic investment is required."
As part of UTAS' ambitious Northern Transformation plan, the idea for a defence innovation hub for AMC was formed, with a business case lodged with the federal government late last year.
The defence hub would provide a clear future for the institution and ensure the AMC was positioned to take advantage of the federal government's pledge to invest in the defence sector.
"AMC’s unique role as the national institute for maritime education and training means we are well-positioned to help train and build that workforce," Professor Chai said.
"Many of our maritime engineering and logistics graduates go on to carve out careers within the defence and the multinational organisations that serve the sector in the fields of engineering, shipbuilding, design and sustainment."
To investigate the role it might play in the future, The Examiner will take you behind the doors of the AMC in its new investigation series Under the Surface.
The series will share the stories of the AMC's employees, its capabilities and examine the role the institution plays in the defence space.
It will also examine Tasmania's defence capability and how the AMC's future is integrally linked to this and its plans for a future defence precinct.
Details for the defence precinct have not yet been revealed but new information about how it might work and what it might look like will be revealed as part of the series.
Under the Surface also calls on the support of the federal government to provide secure backing and funding support for the proposed defence precinct to ensure the AMC's future is integral to this reinforced push towards defence.
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In Tasmania, the state government has also entered into a renewed focus on defence as a key driver of Tasmania's economy.
Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff was named the Defence Minister in a new portfolio role created by Premier Will Hodgman.
As part of its push, Mr Rockliff established the Tasmanian Defence Strategy two years ago, which is helmed by Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore.
Rear Admiral Gilmore was named Tasmania's inaugural Defence Advocate, a new job created by the government to assist in bridging the gap between the national Defence department, along with "defence prime" companies to position Tasmanian businesses at the forefront of their decision-making.
"Our focus is on growing Tasmania’s reputation for high-quality niche products and giving more local businesses the opportunity and confidence to take a bigger slice of the defence market," Mr Rockliff said.
Tasmania has 2000 employees working in the defence sector and about 30 businesses that generate nearly $350 million in sales revenue.
Mr Rockliff said the government was looking to further leverage the federal government's commitment to invest $195 billion into defence over the next eight years.
He said the state government was working with the AMC to ensure it was strategically positioned to take advantage of this new push towards a defence future.
- In the next instalment of Under the Surface, The Examiner will take you behind the doors of the AMC and show how tidal and wave energy research is being conducted at the model test basin.
- This story was available to The Examiner's subscribers exclusively on Saturday for 24 hours.