Boxing Day means the start of two important sporting events in Australia, the Boxing Day Test at the MCG and the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race. When I lived in Adelaide I used to think it would be interesting to visit Sydney at Christmas and see the start of the race but for the past 11 years I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to see many of the yachts arrive in Hobart. Every year I try to get into the city so I can visit the waterfront and see the yachts. I’ve not yet been able to be present when the first one arrives but there are yachts arriving right up until New Year’s Eve so there is always something to see.
The most successful yacht in recent years has been Wild Oats XI. Wild Oats, built in 2005 is a maxi yacht and it is hard to believe just how big this type of yacht is. Hobart is a fairly low-rise city, no skyscrapers, so the maxi’s tower above many of the buildings.
Port Huon Wharf was once a busy place where ships would call in to be loaded with locally grown apples for the UK markets. Now the wharf is owned by an aquaculture company and is popular with local fishermen.
When I first saw the Huon Valley I knew it was the place I wanted to live.People say “You can’t eat scenery.” when explaining why they need to move from the country to the city and suburbs. I know it’s true but I need to live in a place that is either beautiful or at least interesting in its ugliness. That’s why we chose to make our home here. I took this photograph at Franklin, the home of the Living Boat Trust and the Wooden Boat Centre.
The first time that I visited the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery was on a cold, blustery day in May 1998. My sister and I were visiting Tasmania for the first time and after an afternoon of exploring in Hobart the weather drove us indoors. A collection of buildings of varying ages on Hobart’s waterfront house the museum but the museum we visited that day bears little resemblance to the modern TMAG as it is now more commonly known.
On our original visit we spent an enjoyable couple of hours exploring the museum which turned out to be much more interesting than we expected. Two exhibits particularly stood out for us. One was about the “megafauna”; giant marsupials which once lived in Australia. We learned about Zygomaturustrilobus, often referred to as the “marsupial rhino” that weighed half a tonne and its near relative Diprotodon. We could not help laughing at the inscription next to the models of them which stated that these creatures were “unlikely to live in burrows”.
The other exhibit that I found particularly interesting was about the collapse of the Tasman Bridge. I knew about the disaster which occurred in 1975 when a ship collided with one of the bridge pylons but hadn’t realised the impact that it had on the people of Hobart over the next few years. It was some time before it was repaired and its loss caused major upheaval for many families.
My Second Visit
Fifteen years have passed since my first visit to the museum. After moving to Tasmania in 2002 I often meant to go but didn’t. It is a shame that we are not tourists in our own towns more often. The museum has had major renovations in the past few years and in March this year the “new” museum opened its doors. My sister went and told me that she was disappointed in it. Museums have changed a lot in the past twenty years or so. They seem to prefer lots of open space but they don’t always give the impression of having as much to see in them. We like the cluttered, treasure trove look of old museums but that’s just our ages showing I suppose.
Anyway I decided that I should form my own opinion so when I found myself in Hobart a few weeks ago with a couple of hours to spare I paid a visit.
The photos above show the Davey Street frontage of the buildings but the museum’s main entrance is now round the corner in Dunn Place. You first enter the courtyard through the Watergate. The Courtyard houses a cafe, the old Bond Store building which has three floors of exhibits and the entrance to the main part of the museum.
Entering the main hall on the ground floor I could immediately see that the building had been more or less gutted inside to create a large open space. It looks very dramatic but I have to say I’m not really keen on this myself.
From this hall I wandered about looking at different things. I was sorry to find that the megafauna display was gone as was the Tasman Bridge one. Of course exhibits change over the years but I like social history and had been hoping that something about the incident would still be there. There are several permanent exhibitions as well as frequently changing ones. I did like “The Power of Change” the room that housed amongst other things some old equipment from the Cadbury chocolate factory at Claremont.
“The Thylacine: Skinned, Stuffed, Pickled and Persecuted” is an exhibition about the thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger which believed to be extinct. I’ve seen film footage before of the last thylacine at the Hobart Zoo before it died and it always makes me want to cry.
“Islands to Ice ” is another permanent exhibition dealing with Tasmania’s role in Antarctic exploration.
Temporary exhibitions that I missed but would like to have seen were “On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants”. The stories of the children who were sent to Australia some never to see their families again are heart-rending although there are also stories of others who made good and had happy lives in Australia. This has been a very contentious issue in both Britain and Australia for the past few years. This is an Australian National Maritime Museum traveling exhibition in association with National Museums Liverpool UK so if you live elsewhere in Australia it may come to a city near you.
Another one I missed was “Artists With Conviction” an exhibition of quilts done in conjunction with the Tasmanian Prison Service. You can see pictures and read more about the past, present and upcoming exhibitions on the TMAG website.
The Bond Store is the oldest building on the site and is interesting in its own right. It is the oldest surviving public building in Tasmania. It was built between 1808-10.
Opening hours and admission:
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is open between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm every day of the year except ANZAC Day, Good Friday and Christmas Day.
General admission to TMAG is free to all members of the public. Special exhibits may occasionally require paid entry.
TMAG is located in Dunn Place, Hobart and is accessible in the following ways. On foot
Pedestrian access to Dunn Place is available via the landscaped boulevard that connects Davey and Macquarie streets. Private vehicles (parking)
Metered parking is available in the Hobart City Council car park located directly in front of TMAG’s main entrance (vehicle entry from Davey Street). Alternative parking is available at the nearby Market Place Car park. Taxi
Commercial taxis will be able to deliver you close to TMAG’s main entrance via Davey or Macquarie Streets.
If you require a taxi collection at the end of your visit, please ask for assistance at the Visitor Information desk.
Alternatively, a taxi rank is available at the nearby Grand Chancellor Hotel (Davey Street). Bus
Metro Tasmania operates several bus services that travel to and from the nearby Hobart City Bus Mall (a short, 5 minute walk from TMAG’s main entrance). For further information about public bus services and timetables, visit the METRO Tasmania website.
Getting into (and around) the museum and art gallery:
The main entrance for visitors to the Museum and Art Gallery is through the historic Watergate wall on Dunn Place.
There is level access to all public areas of our site and elevators are available for movement between levels.
Loan wheelchairs are also available from the Visitor Information desk. Booking a loan wheelchair in advance of your visit is advised and can be organized by phoning (03) 6211 4134.
Guide dogs for the visually impaired are welcome in all gallery spaces and to all TMAG events.
Blue lines on the road mean just one thing. It’s Christmas Pageant time. Today was the day of the Hobart Christmas Pageant and it was a bright and sunny one, a pleasant change from the wet weather we’ve been having lately.
I have only seen the Hobart Pageant once or twice and compared to the famous Christmas parades around the world it is small and has rather a home-made feel to it. Nevertheless it is full of colour and participants and spectators clearly enjoyed it.
The pageant is sponsored by the local Myerdepartment store. Local businesses, clubs and organisations made up the parade, there were not many motorised floats but there was a lot of music from brass band, pipe bands and other live music.
The most colourful display of all came from the local Buddhist group who provided not only a float but a colourfully costumed group of marchers and a lion dance. The RSPCA was out if force with dogs as were the Royal Guide Dogs people and not to be outdone the Speech Pathology people brought along a couple of poodles!
Being the sentimental type the sound of the pipes and the smiles of the people made me tear up a bit. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning and it does feel as if Christmas is right around the corner.
Hubby and I don’t fly very often. I have mixed feelings about it, he doesn’t. He just loathes it.
The first time we did a long flight together was when we flew from Melbourne to Hong Kong to begin our overseas trip. I have mentioned in a previous post that we chose to travel across China, Russia and Europe by train because we love train travel. What I didn’t mention was that it was also because Hubby hated the thought of the long flight to England. As we took off I noticed that his hands were tightly clutching his book. It was “Final Flight” by Stephen Coonts. Not a particularly appropriate choice I felt.
I have a fear of falling myself. I can’t climb more than two steps up a ladder or I get the shakes but flying doesn’t worry me too much as long as I concentrate on looking at the view and not thinking about being in a metal cylinder thousands of metres above the earth. The trouble is that a lot of the time there is not a lot to see except clouds. I really wish that Hubby didn’t like watching “Air Crash Investigation” so much. I never worried about that before he started watching that show.
Of course flying is not the most comfortable way to travel. Well not in my experience anyway. I am sure that if you can afford to fly first or business class and have more leg room and maybe even a bed it is much better but if you are one of the majority who just look for the cheapest convenient flight it is even more cramped and uncomfortable than the bus you catch to work. I am short so getting my luggage into the overhead storage bin is difficult for me too. People seem to have so much carry on luggage, especially now that checked baggage is an extra. I consider myself lucky if the storage space directly above me is free.
Then there are the seats. Hubby only has one request when we fly, that we fly Virgin domestically. He thinks the seats on the planes they use are more roomy and comfortable for him. As I’ve mentioned he is a big man and he needs to use a seat belt extender. As it is he takes up one and a bit seats. Friends who travel more often than we do say that they usually book an aisle and a window seat and leave one between them. If the flight is not full they often end up with extra space that way. I suggested doing this but Hubby didn’t want to. I always like a window seat, Hubby prefers an aisle seat. I like to pick the seats online, he prefers to wait till check in and ask a real person. Last time we flew together we did it his way and I ended up being wedged between Hubby and another passenger. I could hardly move my arms for the hour-long flight. I swore that was the last time that I would let him have his way about seat allocation. In fact if we really can’t avoid flying together I think I will book us into two separate rows.
I have never solved the mystery of how to use your tray if the person in front of you decides to go to sleep. Really with all the technology available there ought to be a way to fit a warning light so you know when the seat is about to be pushed back. How hard could it be?
To me anything related to making a journey is interesting and even though I would much rather be starting my trip from a railway station or a seaport I can find things of interest at the airport. Hobart airport is not a large one although it has been refurbished and expanded since we first moved to Tasmania. The first few times we used the airport we were amused to find that we had to pick up our luggage from trolleys in the baggage area. It now boasts a carousel. There is not a lot to see at Hobart airport in terms of different airlines or types of planes though so flying in and out of Melbourne, Sydney or even Adelaide provides the novelty of seeing jumbo jets from international airlines as well a the domestic carriers. As we usually have to change planes in Melbourne or Sydney to go to Adelaide I like to fill in the waiting time taking pictures of any planes with interesting colour schemes.
My photography is often of the record keeping variety so if we go on a trip I want a photo of the plane/train/ferry we used, the hotel we stayed at etc. Now that I have a digital camera and don’t have to worry about running out of film I can take pictures of what ever catches my eye.
This Travelator caught my eye in Sydney airport. I understand what it is there for but really, it’s so tiny. What is the point of it?
How much time is this going to save you really? – by V Jensen
Then there are the X Ray machines. Even in the pre 911 world these things were pretty accurate I thought. At Gatwick airport in England Hubby was detained because the machine detected something metallic on his person. Eventually a manual search revealed a scrunched up packet that had held peanuts which had been in his pocket .
I wonder about airport shops. The Sydney domestic terminal has the most shops of any that I have been in. When I first saw it I thought it was like a shopping mall with an airport attached but after spending some hours there I realised that there are not such a lot of shops after all but what is there is expensive. I decided to take my laptop and enjoy the free wi-fi instead. That’s one thing about airports that has definitely improved.