Thursday, 18 May 2017

Around Hobart

Events of Thursday 18th May 2017

I commented in an earlier post that Tuesday 16th May turned into a 'Railway Day'. Well, Thursday 18th May turned into a 'Museums Day'.

The hotel staff had recommended the 'Museum of Old and New Art', generally called 'MONA'. I commented in my previous report that both the City and my hotel seemed a little 'arty' for my taste and the 'flyer' I'd been given reinforced my fear that 'MONA' might prove too pretentious. But I'd been told that you can reach 'MONA' by a fast catamaran service which took 30 minutes from Brooke Street Pier, no more than ten minutes walk from my Hotel.

The prospect of a river trip convinced me so I took a light breakfast and walked past Victoria Dock, Constitution Dock and Elizabeth Street Pier to reach Brooke Steet Pier. The building had the appearance of a Transit Shed but now houses various places to eat and drink, souvenir shops and booking for the catamaran to 'MONA'. I purchased a combined Ferry/Museum ticket and only had about ten minutes to wait before boarding for the first trip of the day at 9.30 a.m.

The fast ferry left on time, the sun came out and I decided I'd made a good decision. The ferry headed upstream on the River Derwent, past the dock quays on the West bank. The cargo ship I'd spotted the previous day had departed and been replaced by a smaller cargo ship. On the East shore, we passed residential areas. We passed through the centre span of the Tasman Bridge, which I'd crossed by road the previous afternoon on the way in from the airport. The tanker ship I'd seen at the oil depot the previous day had sailed and the oil berth was unoccupied. A large, fairly elderly industrial plant discharging steam appeared on our left and the ferry slowed as we passed the site. We then speeded-up for a final dash across the bay to MONA's landing stage, where we disembarked and climbed the 99 steps to the top of the hill and the entrance to 'MONA'.

Their website is here. Some of the advertising copy I'd read about 'MONA' was vaugely amusing - "Mona: A museum or something in Tasmania or somewhere. Catch the ferry. Drink beer. Eat cheese. Talk c**p about Art. You'll love it" (My asterisks). But when I arrived, the numerous staff, mainly young and black-attired, seem to take it all rather seriously. There's a Wikipedia article here.

The entrance building on the top of the hill houses a large souvenir shop and cafe. There are three underground galleries at different levels below ground chiselled out of rock. Access is by spiral stairs coiled around a circular lift.

What did I make of it? The subterranean galleries I found stunning. The perpetual ethereal music I found annoying. The exhibits, for me, varied from mildly interesting to irritating or juvenile. I was happy to return above ground where one or two items appealed. I liked Wim Delvoyes 'Flatbed Truck, Trailer and Cement Truck' but more for the technical skill displayed in assembling the artefact from intricately laser-cut steel plate. I would probably have liked his 'Church' exhibit, but didn't get that far. I did, however, find the car parking spaces professionally labelled 'Reserved GOD' and 'Reserved GOD'S MISTRESS'. It is perhaps to be expected that they apparently drive electric cars.

I was happy to return to Hobart on the 11.30 a.m. ferry and very much enjoyed the cruise back. I'm glad I've seen 'MONA' but didn't find it life-changing.

Next on the museum circuit was the Maritime Museum of Tasmania but, on the way, I met a retired lecturer, Nancy, who recognised my longyi (Burmese skirt) from her own time in Burma and we exchanged details before I continued to the museum. The building, dating from about 1900 served as Hobart's central library until the 1960s. I found the museum staffed by very friendly volunteers and immediately felt 'at home'. They were hosting a travelling exhibition arranged by the Australian National Maritime Museum called 'War at Sea', describing the role of the Royal Australian Navy during World War I. This seemed particularly well-researched and I spent a long time here before going to the ground floor galleries where the local maritime history was covered. I found this equally absorbing. You can find out more about the museum at their website here.

Not far away was the third museum of the day - the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (their website is here). This is a large museum and I could have done with more time but they closed at 4.00 p.m. I found all the museum sections very interesting: the art sections rather less satisfying. I'd considered a late lunch at the Museum's Courtyard Cafe but ran out of time so had french fries and a cold drink back at the hotel. I'd had a great day but, inevitably, was totally shattered by 5.00 p.m.

Related Posts on this Website

Next Post describing this trip.
All Burma-2017 Trip posts.
All Australia-2017 posts.

My Pictures

The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart.
Hobart, Tasmania.
Catamaran to MOMA.
MOMA, Hobart.
Fast catamaran back to Hobart.
Maritime Museum of Tasmania.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

[Links to pictures added 18-Aug-2017]