Tasmania’s Stories

Winter Feast extends for cruisers

Edition 182_Dark Park

Dark Mofo will boast its own cruise ship this year, a band of Vikings and an extended Winter Feast.

We are also promised, among other things, feminist punk, avant choreography, ecosexual bathing, wood-chopping, and a production of Sleeping Beauty featuring gothic puppets, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Victorian Opera. There will be 550 loudspeakers around the waterfront and lasers will play again in the night sky.

 The nation's quirkiest winter festival will begin on 8 June and conclude with the customary nude solstice swim in the River Derwent on 21 June.

The P&O cruise ship Pacific Jewel will sail in on 15 June with 2,000 passengers embarked in Sydney and refreshed by two nights at sea.

Their six-night cruise tickets will include priority passes to the Winter Feast, as well as admission and return ferry ride for a visit to MONA.

P&O promises: "The wintry art and music festival of Dark Mofo is one of the country’s most unique live experiences ... a Tasmanian spin on the traditional rituals of the winter solstice packed with all the joys you’d expect of a boutique festival."

Ulver — Norway’s black metal inventors — will perform a one-off Australian show at the Odeon Theatre on Thursday, 15 June.

“Dark Mofo is one strange beast of a festival,” the group's chief vocalist, Kristoffer Rygg, said.

“And they have really pulled out all the big guns to make it possible to drag a pack of Vikings quite literally to the other side of the world in June.

“We have heard exceptional tales about this midwinter celebration.

"Considering the overall aesthetic of the festival and the type of art and acts it has featured before, this will be a trip extraordinaire and no doubt a once in a lifetime experience for Ulver.”

The band members have played together for around 25 years and have won many national awards.

No one is saying whether they will visit Ulverstone.

The Norwegians were the first act announced for this year's festival staged by MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) and supported by Events Tasmania, the State Government and the Hobart City Council.

The event's culinary centrepiece — the hugely popular Winter Feast —attracts thousands to the Hobart waterfront each night.

To cope with even bigger crowds expected at PW1 this year, the 2017 Winter Feast will run for a total of seven nights, from 9-11 June and then from 15-18 June.

Entry will be free on the final night which will feature the annual Ogoh-Ogoh parade and burning ceremony.

“The Winter Feast is the heart and soul of Dark Mofo and reached its capacity in 2016,” the festival's Creative Director, Leigh Carmichael, told The Mercury.

“In order to provide a good experience to the influx of new visitors arriving from Sydney on the P&O cruise, we’ve decided to increase the number of nights and spread the event over two weekends.

“Our new five-year agreement with the State Government includes some ambitious visitor targets, and we see this decision as a core strategy, as a way of expanding the event and maximising available room nights, at what is now becoming quite a busy period.”

Hobart's Lord Mayor, Sue Hickey, said the Winter Feast had “dramatic social and cultural impacts” on Hobart, on top of its obvious economic benefits.

It attracted 270,000 attendees last year.

“It’s a mark of the success of the Dark Mofo and City of Hobart Winter Feast that the event’s organisers have decided to extend the event to seven nights over two weekends,” she said.

“Hobartians have strongly supported the feast in the past and I’m sure they’ll be out in force again this year.”

In the north of the State, key buildings in the mural town of Sheffield will be bathed in coloured light from 29 April to launch the inaugural Finance Brokers of Tasmania Firelight Festival.

From 4 May, lasers will project from three different locations on to the dramatic rock face of Mount Roland near the town.

The inaugural Firelight Festival has been combined with the annual Kentish Arts Festival.

The President of the Kentish Arts Festival, Des Brown, said. “I’m delighted Finance Brokers of Tasmania has joined us in this exciting new community venture and there are many more opportunities for businesses and individuals to join us as partners."

Organisers received $40,000 in Federal Government funding to stage the trial Firelight Festival.

Image courtesy of MONA

4 April 2017, Edition 182

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012-13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island's land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named 'Best Temperate Island in the World' by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of Mt Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania's highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King's holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania's predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world's biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the state's gross product in 2010-11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

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