Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Sometimes I think my husband and I need our heads read. Honestly, did we really think taking not only our four children but also nine of our birthday boy's besties to the newly renovated TMAG was a good idea? I'm embarrassed by our ignorance....we should have picked up on other parents smirks as they wished us luck, deposited their children with us and then vanished into the promise of an afternoon off. 

It was just so tempting, especially as the TMAG reopened all renovated and reconfigured on Friday. So, on Sunday we carried out what seemed like a well conceived plan on paper and took twelve children on a tour of the Tasmanian Musem and Art Gallery....led by us. What I managed to see, while trying to ensure boys weren't swinging from the chandeliers, was has been transformed into a destination museum and art gallery in it's own right although I'm sure that most people will still come to Hobart first and foremost to experience David Walsh's MONA eccentricity, yet end up being enthralled with our state collection. 

This is the room that used to greet visitors with various pelts from Tasmanian animals that you could pat, a diorama of a pre colonisation landscape that used to take up the entire back wall and a staircase that led up to the rapturously beautiful art treasures in the colonial gallery. Look at it now:

The staircase has been reconfigured to resemble something straight out of Hogwarts and underneath, in numerous different darkened nooks and crannies, are an Egyptian Mummy, a suit of armour and various other surprise bits and pieces......sorry, the details are somewhat hazy as I was fraught with supervision frenzy at this particular juncture.

The TMAG has always been a compelling place by virtue of the fact that it is a museum AND an art gallery. The juxtaposition of the display of taxidermy, historic artefacts, decorative arts and colonial and contemporary art has always made it special. Years ago, as part of my post graduate work, I curated an exhibition at the TMAG about the Sea and spent a year wading through all of the departments...seeing....such incredible objects as what was believed to be a fragment from John Franklin's glove (questionable as he vanished, never to be seen again looking for the North West Passage), a relic from the Titanic and John Glover's intimate impressions of seascapes captured in his sketch books. I may have also been sidetracked by other totally unrelated objects in the collection....such as the wedding dress Kylie Minogue wore on Neighbours when Charlene married Scott:

I'd better just case you are about to book a ticket to Hobart to see it for yourself....that it hasn't made the display case, it's still in storage out the back.

There is an entire room dedicated to the extinct Thylacine:

It is poignantly moving. Donated in 1926 it is moth eaten and threadbare and you can see the stitches just managing to hold it together. It is a creature that has vanished off the face of the earth forever and this stuffed representation is just so blatantly.....dead.

Upstairs, in the colonial gallery, which is an Aladdin's cave of such beautiful treasures as myriad John Glover landscapes, Gould still life's and the Hamilton Inn Couch there is a wall hung with portraits of Tasmanian Aborigines. The looks on their faces from across time is haunting.

I'm on my third week without sugar. I had managed to resist temptation making brownie for the birthday boy's class, numerous taunts in restaurants about town when my husband said 'yes' to the tiramisu and the chocolate mousse, and shopping for the ice cream and lollies which my husband uses to make his signature birthday cake. Yet on Sunday, after we'd made it home and served up dinner to the party boys, I was ready to eat the cake in it's entirety*. By that stage things had disintegrated into scenes reminiscent of 'Lord of the Flies'.....'after all we aren't savages really.....'?


* Just for the record I didn't.


  1. Well done- taking all those kids out and sticking to the sugar free diet!

  2. Bravo to you - you gave your son an amazing birthday party. The museum/ gallery sounds fantastic. I was reading about it in the papers, and thought you would have been there without delay. I'm always intrigues when they suggest that the Tiger might still be alive in the wilds of West Tasmania somewhere. Wouldn't that be wonderful (if slightly unlikely). Well done on avoiding the sugar. I find it's been harder to resist when I can smell things.... that's made this week a breeze as my cold has rendered me somewhat senseless in that department. xx

  3. I am still shaking my heard in wonderment at how you managed to survive that escapade - barely, by the sounds of it! Can't wait to see the new improved TMAG. J x

  4. You deserve a brave parenting award. Seriously. Especially for doing it sans sugar....


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