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Living in Tasmania stories

Mofo adventure in two-cities

Edition 189_Gotye

World premieres, Australian exclusives and challenging performances and installations will drive the Mona Foma (Mofo) festival in 2018.

Curator Brian Ritchie promises 11 days of cutting-edge music and art, firstly in Launceston (12-14 January) and then in Hobart (15-22 January).

This summer marks a transition from Mofo’s Hobart home since 2009 into Launceston where future festivals will be held while the HoMo hotel is built at MONA’s Berriedale headquarters.

The inaugural “Mini Mofo” in Launceston will feature an Australian exclusive performance of Monumental by Canadian contemporary dance company The Holy Body Tattoo, complete with a live score performed by Canadian post-rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Grammy-winning Australian star Gotye will team up with the Ondioline Orchestra for the Australian premiere of a tribute to the late French electronic composer and pop visionary Jean-Jacques Perrey.

Mini Mofo will culminate in a free Launceston block party in the courtyard of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.

The party season kicks off on Hobart’s waterfront with the Taste of Tasmania.

In partnership with Music Tasmania the Taste will present a diverse line-up of local musicians including electro, jazz, funk, folk and soft-pop in its seven-day program.

Renowned ’90s indie rock band The Whitlams will headline New Year’s Eve entertainment at this year’s Taste of Tasmania.

The Whitlams will be supported by Melbourne-based Tasmanian musicians Monique Brumby and Heloise, as well as Mighty Duke and the Lords, NO ZU, The Lucksmiths, and The Suitcase Royale.

As Tasmanians have come to expect, Mofo and the Taste will be impossible to ignore among a cascade of holiday season events, including:

“We've made our mark on Hobart,” Ritchie said at the October launch. “We've hit Hobart like a gigantic meteorite and changed everything there.

“So we thought we would just try to spread the ripples of that effect around the rest of the island. And also, just for an adventure.”

Launcestonians have thrown their support behind Mofo’s move north.

The Mayor, Albert van Zetten, said: “We fully expect the north to embrace Mona Foma and for those already in the Arts sector in the region to take full advantage of what a festival of this magnitude and reputation can bring with it.”

The Chair of the Junction Arts Festival, Liz Frankham, said: “I feel strongly that the Mofo move is an opportunity for the development and support of northern Arts and design talent and skills development and for on-going cultural development.”

The Premier, Will Hodgman, has announced $1 million funding for the two-city Mofo.

“The return on investment in these things cannot be quantified. It is great for our economy, communities and it’s great for building cultural industries which are already strong and rich but are becoming internationally renowned,” Mr Hodgman said.

“Culture has broken the north/south divide.”

Turning south, Berriedale’s annual Weekend at Walshy’s will feature Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Philadelphia punk-poet Moor Mother, Chicago singer-songwriter and poet Jamila Woods, Argentinian rap/folk fusion trio Fémina (making their Australian debut), Norwegian black metal masters Mayhem and many others.

The world premiere of a collaboration between the Violent Femmes pop group and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra will be staged at the Federation Concert Hall on 22 January.

Events will also be held at Contemporary Art Tasmania, the Moonah Arts Centre, St David’s Cathedral and Hobart Town Hall; while Faux Mo, Mofo’s late-night after-party, will take over the MAC2 shed at Macquarie Point from 19 to 21 January.

The 15th staging of the Falls Festival at Marion Bay will feature Grinspoon, indie-pop group San Cisco and rising Tasmanian performer Maddy Jane.

Flume, Fleet Foxes, Julia Stone, Glass Animals and many others will help keep fans happy at the chilled-out festival.

Launceston’s Festivale has announced that award-winning chef, author and TV personality Karen Martini will be guest chef for 2018.

Ms Martini will create a menu for the annual Festivale Lunch at Stillwater restaurant, as well as conducting a cooking demonstration in City Park. She will judge the festival’s stallholder awards.

Ms Martini was the founding chef at Melbourne Wine Room and at Sydney’s Icebergs Dining Room and Bar.

Festivale has been run by a team of volunteers since 1988 and has grown into a major three-day celebration of Tasmania’s food, wine, beer, Arts and entertainment.

Twenty minutes outside Launceston, Party in The Paddock at White Hills will feature Gang of Youths, Grouplove, The Avalanches, Meg Mac, Ball Park Music, Client Liaison, The Preatures, Tkay Maidza, Holy Holy, Tired Lion, Slowly Slowly, Slim Jeffries and many others.

Image courtesy of Mona Foma

5 November 2017, Edition 189

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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 kunanyi / Mount 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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