Saturday, September 16, 2017


We came to Tasmania because it is there and to see the famous Tasmanian Devil and whatever other wildlife we might be able to find. Our condo at Seven Mile Beach was perfectly situated to help us meet those goals. The beach itself is very nice even during the cold weather we had during our stay. Our place was right across the road from a series of trails built to showcase the plants of the area. Of course this makes it a great place to go birding. Each morning found me wandering the area chasing bird calls, sometimes successfully.

Returning at night to our room was always an adventure as we had to watch for the Pademelons, that seemed to be everywhere. Pademelons are small marsupials that to us looked like brown blobs that managed to bounce across the pavement and lawns. We never got a real look at them because they were much quicker than the headlights on the car.

The location is excellent only a few miles from the airport and a few more to Hobart. It is also close to Port Arthur, one of the best preserved convict sites in the world and therefore of great importance to the history of Australia, especially give the convict history of Australia. A second interesting site is Bruny Island, an interesting natural area that also offered what looked to be a fun boat ride along the coast with some great opportunities to see Tasmania’s sea and bird life. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and we will have to return to take in these attractions.

Downtown Hobart on our way to MONA
These sheep  were the shape of things to come at MONA.
Too hard to enjoy sitting on, they are a good picture op.

Instead we took one rainy day to visit Hobart and the MONA Museum. MONA (Museum of New and Old Art), recommended by Kerrie and David Bryan, is the vision and masterpiece of David Walsh, local boy made good. Walsh is a professional gambler who made a fortune with a gambling system to use when betting horses and other sports events. The museum which Walsh calls a “subversive adult Disneyland” has antiquities and modern art in an amazing architectural marvel. We traveled to the museum by ferry from a Hobart pier. After walking up 99 steps we are greeted by a life-size tractor-trailer hauling a cement truck made of laser cut steel pieces in a gothic motif. Then we enter an unimposing one story building that heads down three stories into the cliff side beginning our artistic experience into Walsh’s vision of what makes valuable art.

Walsh's daughter missed her trampoline
when the family moved into an apartment in the museum building.
It replaced the most liked piece of art in the museum. 

He believes that art should challenge and surprise. Popularity is not important. In at least one case he replaced a piece because it was the most liked work in the collection. I’ll just mention a few pieces I remember to give you an idea of the kind of place it is. One of these is a computer-directed waterfall that spells out words taken live from internet news sources.

Another is a set of machinery designed to replicate the human stomach in live action. You can watch the regular feeding and poo operations at a set time each day.
Another is a set of 77 cast vaginas. The artist (male) wanted people to see the beauty in these and had an overwhelming response when he asked for volunteers, one of whom was 77 years old at the time. A fascinating corner of the museum was taken up with an exact replica of Van Eyck’s studio and some copies of his most famous works completed by a non-artist using a mirror setup to make the copies. We talked to a musician who was making a copy of another of Van Eyck’s works. He had been at it for a week. The result we was seemed to be successful. Nearby patrons are given the opportunity to try out the system. We found it doable, if difficult at first.

Instead of placards discussing each piece of art, this museum makes excellent use of an app that shows pieces near your position. By clicking you can read a short basic description or a longer explanation. Many pieces also have an artistic discussion about the piece.

This narrow hallway is called the Abyss
We appreciated the fact that you can still use the app after you leave the museum. While it’s not the app, I definitely recommend taking a look at the museum website: Be sure to look at the section on the new hotel and library Walsh is building. We do agree with Kerrie and David that this museum is a must see when in the area.

Sign for the  Museum of Everything
A British traveling exhibit
focused on work by unknown or non-artists
Fits well with the rest of the museum

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