Feature image

Tasmania’s Stories

Art fires winter celebrations

Edition 195_HadleyArt

The winter celebrations are firing-up in Hobart, and this year’s offering includes the Hadley’s Art Prize which is back again, and twice the size.

As the cold descends on Hobart, the city comes alive with unique cultural events that further brands it as an important centre for the arts.

The party began in early June, when Dark Mofo unleashed subversive celebrations that include a man buried alive under Macquarie Street.

It then heats up at the Festival of Voices, where we join in song around a giant bonfire at Salamanca Place.

Before finally drawing to a close with the Hadley’s Art Prize, which is already establishing itself as an important cultural fixture.

“Winter is a special time to visit Hobart,” Hadley’s Art Prize curator, Dr Amy Jackett, said.

“Dark Mofo ignited our winter and was the catalyst for other events. The Hadley’s Art Prize contributes to the growing arts scene and completes the winter events calendar.”

This exciting new event burst onto the stage last year, offering a purse of $100,000 for the winner, and staking its claim as the world’s richest award for Landscape art.

The inaugural award attracted 380 entries, with Aboriginal artist, Peter Mungkuri, taking out the coveted prize for Ngura Wiru (good country) inspired by his central Australian birthplace.

This year the Hadley’s Art Prize has taken an enormous leap forward, with the number of entries jumping to 640.

“This has exceeded all our expectations,” Dr Jackett said.

“We are totally overwhelmed with the entries, which is almost double those entered for the inaugural award last year.”

The Hadley’s Art Prize is an annual acquisitive award which promotes and celebrates paintings and drawings of the landscape by contemporary Australian artists.

It is headed up by an eminent panel of three national judges who will announce the winner in late July. This will be followed by an exhibition of finalists’ works at Hobart’s historic Hadley’s Orient Hotel.

And, while it is still early days, the enormous response to this year’s prize has instilled great confidence, with Dr Jackett saying the award is now generating enormous interest within Australia’s artistic community.

She praises the Hadley’s Art Prize as a “major coup for Tasmania” which will continue to build on our status as “an island of art”.

But what do others think?

Leading Tasmanian art identity, Allanah Dopson – who runs the Handmark Galleries in Hobart and Evandale – has been watching with great interest.

Her galleries will even be staging special landscape exhibitions to coincide with the Hadley’s Art Prize.

Ms Dopson, also Brand Tasmania Deputy Chair, said having the world’s richest prize for landscape art is wonderful for Hobart – and in fact the state – on so many levels.

She called the Hadley’s Art Prize “significant” and said although Tasmania is already “firmly on the radar” it would further cement our reputation as an arts hub, while at the same time supporting local artists and boosting winter tourism.

“Yes, this is a really important prize, but it is only in its second year and it will be fascinating to watch how it grows and evolves,” Ms Dopson said.

“It is such an amazing amount of money, that the Hadley’s Art Prize will no doubt develop into one of Australia’s more important art awards.”

Meantime, the philanthropist behind this lucrative offering also has his eyes firmly on the future.

Don Neil – the owner of Hadley’s Orient Hotel – dug deep into his own pockets as a “way to give back to Hobart” and is keen to reassure everyone that the world’s richest landscape prize is here to stay.

“This year is two in a row, and we need to impress on everyone that the Neil family is behind the Hadley’s Art prize on a permanent basis,” Mr Neil said.

“We have sufficient monies held in trust for this prize to be perpetual.”

Don Neil’s is a fascinating story.

As a young travelling shoe salesman, he would often stay at Hadley’s in the 1960s while he plied his wares. More than 50 years later he bought the hotel, after developing Hobart’s Old Woolstore Apartments in the 1980s.

And just like his inspiration – MONA’s creator David Walsh – Mr Neil is also passionate about using his good fortune to promote art in Hobart.

All this from a man who got an ‘E’ for art at school; does not collect art; and in fact, confesses to knowing very little about art at all.

“We see Hobart as continuing to emerge as a place of art,” Mr Neil said.

“The city has a very important tourist brand, but now it also has an important arts brand, and that is what we want to contribute to.”

Winter diary dates:

  • Dark Mofo: 8 – 24 June 2018
  • Festival of Voices: 29 June – 15 July 2018
  • Hadley’s Art Prize: 20 July – 25 August 2018

Image courtesy of The Hadley’s Art Prize

View our video interview with Hadley’s Art Prize Curator, Dr Amy Jackett

Video still - A chat with Dr Amy Jackett Curator about The Hadley’s Art Prize 2018
Watch video on YouTube

12 June 2018, Edition 195

Back to index

Like to know more?

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Join us

Become an eFriend

Join our mailing list

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Brand Partnership

Are you a Tasmanian business or operator? Join us in raising the profile, quality and value of Tasmania’s products.

Apply online

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

Brand Tasmania

Become an eFriend


Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition.

I’ve already subscribed