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Antarctic and Southern Ocean stories

Reconciliation theme for Mac Point

Edition 179_MONA s Macquarie Point vision

A Truth and Reconciliation Art Park addressing Tasmania’s greatest tragedy — the 30-year war between British invaders and Aboriginals; and its aftermath — is the centrepiece of a comprehensive proposal by MONA for Macquarie Point.

MONA founder David Walsh said: “We aren't doing this to pacify or mollify. We are doing it because we believe in it; and we are trying to find a way through.”

Mr Walsh said in a statement: “Macquarie Point is the perfect time and place for a national memorial to begin to make amends for an unspeakable past.”

A Tasmanian Aboriginal History Centre, focussed on more than 35,000 years of human occupation of the Tasmanian islands, will complement the art park.

Nine light installations will be permanent memorials to each of the distinct hunter-gatherer groups on the island at the time of the British invasion.

Mr Walsh and his Mr Fix-it, Leigh Carmichael, worked with respected Aboriginal writer Greg Lehman on the proposal.

Mr Lehman said in a statement: “To continually focus on wars we fought overseas, while ignoring the campaigns that were waged in our own backyards prevents us having an honest relationship with our own history.

“It is therefore the most important place to begin a process of national healing. This will require acknowledgement, mourning and forgiveness.

“By providing a public space that honours and respects Aboriginal people and their culture, we can create a catalyst for change.”

MONA’s vision for Macquarie Point also includes:

  • An Antarctic science precinct;
  • The Eden Project;
  • A music bowl and other open spaces;
  • A conference centre;
  • A large market shed;
  • Contemporary art space;
  • A luxury hotel, serviced apartments and a second hotel;
  • An exhibition centre;
  • A Tasmanian Centre for Living Culture;
  • A research and education centre;
  • A light rail station.

The Macquarie Point Development Corporation has been told by the State Government to find ways of turning the MONA vision into reality.

An action plan for Stage One, including commercial space, exhibition space and accommodation, is being prepared.

The Premier, Will Hodgman, said: “Macquarie Point presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Hobart and Tasmania and we are determined to get it right.”

The Government said it would underwrite the removal of the site’s wastewater treatment plant and appoint a new corporation chief after the departure of Liz Jack.

Critics seized on the Government’s recently announced plans for log exports from Macquarie Point and there was a complaint from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre about lack of consultation before the project was made public in The Mercury and The Sunday Tasmanian.

Image courtesy of Fender Katsalidis Architects rush\wright associates

12 December 2016, Edition 179

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