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Living in Tasmania stories

Hobart parties on after a fine Baroque

Edition 149 - Articulated Intersect will put on a memorable interactive show next month. Image courtesy of Dark Mofo

Hobart Baroque doubled attendances and drew excellent reviews in April and the city is now gearing up for Savour Tasmania in May, Dark Mofo – with a spectacular light show – in June and then the Festival of Voices in July.

Savour Tasmania’s 2014 celebration will begin first, opening on 21 May in TMAG’s Watergate Court with a Tasmanian-style whole roasted pig and cocktails.

Attendees will sample the handiwork of PorkStar chef Daniel Wilson of Huxtable in Melbourne, Jesse Gerner from Bomba in Melbourne, Matteo Rao of the Italian Pantry and Waji Spiby of Waji Catering.

Wilson, uses Tasmanian ingredients routinely at his restaurant, but will be making his first visit to the State. “Tasmania’s produce really is the world’s best produce,” he said.

The Asian theme of this year’s event will permeate a five-course dinner on 22 May at Henry’s in the Henry Jones Art Hotel. The host’s Executive Chef, Andre Kropp, will collaborate with Will Meyrick of Sarong and Mama San in Bali and E&O (Eastern + Oriental) in Jakarta. The popular Long Table Dinner will be staged at PW1 on Saturday 24 May, with further Asian dishes from Meyrick, as well as from Sydney’s Dan Hong and Christopher Shane and Melbourne’s Chan Yai Ching. Local chefs Cheryl and Naser Daci of Daci and Daci will serve up some surprises.

A Rare Food and Cider event and a Red Wine Weekend will be among other Savour happenings that are sure to bring local and interstate foodies to the table.

On Friday 30 and Saturday 31 May, Wilson and another noted interstate chef, Jesse Gerner, will join forces to create two memorable six-course meals with matched wines in Burnie. The talented duo will apply their own signature flair to local produce at Bayviews restaurant.

Hobart’s waterfront will be transformed in June following a decision by Hydro Tasmania to partner the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and the City of Hobart to deliver a Dark Mofo highlight.

A huge installation, Articulated Intersect, will light up the sky from dusk to dawn and be visible over a 15-kilometre radius.

The public will be invited to use lever-controllers on the ground to manipulate powerful searchlights to create their own light sculptures in the sky.

Created by Mexican-born artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Articulated Intersect is an interactive artwork from the collection of the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. Hydro Tasmania CEO Steve Davy said: “We are proud to partner with MONA to present this amazing piece of public art as a forerunner to a program of events and initiatives later in the year to celebrate Hydro’s centenary.”

Dark Mofo, the wintery step-child of the museum’s popular annual summer festival Mona Foma, will be staged in Hobart from 12-22 June.

The inaugural Dark Mofo last year attracted more than 128,000 visitors over 10 days in the traditionally low point of the tourism cycle.

This year there will again be music, art, food and noise, as well as lights.

Lovers of drone metal will enjoy a triple-bill featuring genre connoisseurs SUNN O))), American experimental heavy rock group Earth and Canadian metal four-piece Veil of Darkness.

The Bronx will be paired with Australia’s High Tension, and another triple-treat show starring The Gin Club with guitarists Jeff Land and Mick Thomas.

American filmmaker David Lynch will present the Texan singer-songwriter Chrysta Bell, while a popular US childrens’ TV show Yo Gabba Gabba Live! will also make the trip to Hobart.

Twelve days after Dark MoFo wraps up, the 10th annual Festival of Voices will trill into life on 4 July.

The headline acts will be leading Australian singer/songwriters, Ben Lee and Clare Bowditch, along with America’s a cappella champions, The Exchange.

The 10-day festival will spill across the city, taking advantage of the best venues and locations and ensuring the community is involved.

Festival CEO, Paul Kooperman, said: “We are thrilled to include exclusive opportunities for singers from all over Australia to come to Hobart and work with our headliners Ben Lee, Clare Bowditch and The Exchange.

“Yes, they will be performing but to be able to work so closely with these major artists is unique to our festival and a rare, exciting opportunity for singers of all levels of ability, ambition and background.”

Australia’s biggest singing event will again involve individual songsters and choirs. It will encompass contemporary and classical music, choral and cabaret, gospel spirituals, story-telling and hip hop, attracting music lovers from across Australia and keeping Hobart in the national spotlight.

The Tasmanian capital enjoyed a tourism injection and an excellent PR dividend from the second Hobart Baroque in March.

Visitors attracted to the festival from interstate and overseas doubled, as did ticket sales. More than 8,500 enjoyed the centrepiece opera Orlando.

Writing for the Brisbane Times website, Michael Shmith enthused: “Hobart is indeed the place for a festival, particularly a Baroque one. Somehow, the further south you go in this world the purer the music sounds.”

A focused and charming production of Handel’s 1733 opera, Orlando, was wonderfully performed, directed and designed, according to Shmith.

“Moreover, it fitted the glorious interior of the Theatre Royal, which was built just 126 years after Orlando was composed, almost as if it had been written with the architectural and acoustical specifics of this auditorium in mind.

“Never mind that this production was originally for a bigger, wider stage (it originated from the Glimmerglass Festival, in upstate New York), Hobart was Orlando’s town.”

In other Baroque events, Shmith described Catalan countertenor Xavier Sabata’s voice as “a cocktail of smoke and steel”.

He thought the technique, artistry and poise of Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva, 24, to be proof that divas are born, not made through experience.

“All in all, Hobart Baroque provided three nights of marvellous music in the ideal setting. Leo Schofield and Jarrod Carland are on to a winner, and I hope Tasmania’s new government realises what a gift it has.”

Does that suggest an interstate bidding war is looming?

Meanwhile, the inaugural Festival of Golden Words at Beaconsfield sold out almost all its paid sessions and packed out two marquees for its free events.

More than 70 well-known writers were involved in the 16-event weekend festival in March.

Organisers are now considering whether the festival should be an annual or bi-annual event.

In Launceston, the Encore Theatre Company production of The Phantom of the Opera attracted a record 10,022 people to the Princess Theatre over its three-week season.

“We are clearly over the moon [about the way] northern Tasmania has taken this production to its heart,” Director Belinda King said.

Encore’s next blockbuster production will be War of the Worlds.

Image courtesy of Dark Mofo

1 May 2014, Edition 149

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Facts about Tasmania

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.

Tasmania

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.

Geography

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.

Geography

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.

Geography

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.

Climate

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.

Climate

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.

Population

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.

Flora

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.

Flora

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.

Fauna

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.

Fauna

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

Fauna

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.

Economy

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

Economy

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.

Economy

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

Economy

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.

Economy

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.

Economy

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.

Economy

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.

Economy

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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