Cultural dimensions

Winter Feast – Dark MOFO

Winter Feast – Dark MOFO

Dark MOFO is a fantastic time.  Established by David Walsh from MONA, Dark MOFO brings people from all over to Hobart, in the dead of winter for two weeks of art, concerts, performances and great food.  The city joins in, covering garden lights in red, adding flags and crosses (upside-down ones this year) in various locations. Bars, and underground theatres have performances of pretty much anything from doom metal to movies of crabs and prawns crawling on underwater cliffs.

The Winter Feast is a long table feast (actually three long tables) inside and small tables clustered around fire pits outside. Pretty much everything you could possibly want to eat and drink available.  Let’s eat!

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Community, Cultural dimensions, Fun, Night, Tasmania, Weekends, 0 comments

Run-away weekend – Hobart

Hobart is at the bottom end of the world – not so far from the Antarctic – with that potential of Roaring 40s weather, and snow.  It was settled originally by the Palawa people, and later by the British when setting up convict colonies, and outposts to stop the French from further colonisation. It’s Australia’s second oldest city, with plenty of convict remnants about.  Not only that, it is has the steep, rocky Mt Wellington guarding it.

But those facts are all very well, but is it a good city to visit?  Oh yeah!  It’s an energetic vibrant city, and has one of the best private museums I’ve ever been to. MONA is on a must visit list every time I head Hobart way.  Twice a year Hobart also holds the MOFO celebrations, with Dark MOFO the winter celebration – but more about that next post. This one focuses on a short weekend enjoying MONA and the Farm Gate markets.

Posted by DeborahH in Art, Australia, conservation, Cultural dimensions, Exhibitions, Tasmania, Weekends, 0 comments
Magic Melbourne

Magic Melbourne

Living in a small regional town is fun, but every now and again hitting the big smoke is a ball. When an invite comes from a friend to play for the weekend, I’m always happy to take it up.  Melbourne is one of the nicest cities to play in. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Melbourne as the world’s most livable city for 7 years in a row, and it’s pretty easy to see why.  True, as a visitor, I never have to worry about traffic or parking, but the wonderful places I’m taken to and the great food I can eat, and the exhibitions I can head to… so lovely.

So last weekend, I had another lovely play.

Posted by DeborahH in Art, Australia, Cultural dimensions, Exhibitions, Fun, Melbourne, Travel, Weekends, 0 comments
Boots and Hats

Boots and Hats

Agfest comes but once a year… but is planned for over months.  Agfest is the biggest rural show, run by all of the local Rural Youth groups who put in massive hours in planning and organising, as well as staying on site for the 3 day duration of the festival.  (I’ve heard the parties at night are pretty spectacular…) Anything to do with agriculture is on show – massive machinery, the sweetest lambs you ever saw, clothing for farmers (and wannabes), food, crafts from wool, wood, whatever.  It’s all there.

Agfest as traditions as well.  The main tradition is that it always rains.  Always.  So, the flow on tradition – new gumboots (or wellies).  I didn’t own a pair of these delightful feet covers, so had to skip off to buy a very fancy pair in a leopard skin print.  Hats, and beanies are necessary too, but I had a lovely striped, pink number so was set – until I saw the serious head gear everyone else had, so slipped mine into my backpack. Better to be wet than weird, right?

By skipping the machinery that wouldn’t fit into my veggie patch, we managed to cover the rest of the festival in one day of pretty solid walking.  Let me take you to Agfest – without the need to buy new gumboots.

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Community, Cultural dimensions, Fun, Tasmania, Village life, Weekends, 0 comments
Why Tasmania?  Just one day…

Why Tasmania? Just one day…

Recently I had a sister-in-law come over from the mainland to spend one day with me (OK, she was travelling further on, but it still sounds cool 🙂 ), and we hit quite a few highlights – good food, culture, whisky tasting, market visiting, platypus hunting.  Tasmania has a wonderful variety of things to do in a small space – nothing we did was more than 5kms from my front door. Had we been energetic we could have ridden or jogged to most places – although after the whisky tasting, I’m not sure how well we’d have done on the way home.

So ladies and gentlemen, I present – Adventures in a Day.


Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Cultural dimensions, Daily Life, Nature, Tasmania, Tourism, Weekends, 0 comments
Past Present 1

Past Present 1

This is another ad hoc collection, not of memories of past adventures and events, but of current adventures and events that will become those memories.

9/1/2018 MONA – exhibit 20:50  I took my family to visit MONA in Hobart, and this is one of their new experiential exhibits.  What is it?  🙂
A room partially filled with sump oil that reflects the room itself, and from other angles sky, people, clouds – whatever is above.  20:50 exhibit




Posted by DeborahH in Art and Craft, Australia, Community, Cultural dimensions, Past Present, Tasmania, Tourism, Travel, 0 comments


Facebook pops up every few days with a ‘on this day’ reminder of what I was doing on that day however many years ago. This can be fun (or depressing, depending on if the same concerns keep coming up), but doesn’t always chronicle the things I want to remember.  So, here is my ad hoc series of memories – not necessarily on the exact day, but somewhere around it.  This has the benefit of making me go through the 100,000+ images I have to find something I want to enjoy again.

Christmas in Xi’an is beautiful in the snow. Students build snowmen, mums bring little ones out to play. And then there is a red umbrella – waiting for its owner to return.

Burma – New Year 2012/2013 was an amazing adventure. This timber worker spends all day cleaning up logs for construction of new buildings around the town.

Feb 2004 – Xi’an My first visit to the Terracotta Warriors after moving to live in Xi’an. Even then I was more interested in the ‘back story’ of people’s lives and how things were managed on a day to day process. 🙂


Posted by DeborahH in Cultural dimensions, Daily Life, Musings, Remembrancer, 0 comments
Why Tasmania?  Community.

Why Tasmania? Community.

I’ve mentioned a few times the festivals that different little towns run in Tasmania, designed to bring tourists and visitors from out of town into town. These are fun, and add to the interest of living in an island state without a big population. As well as these festivals, there are also local activities designed to bring the local community together for a common purpose.  In a big city, there are many activities that people are involved in, but the majority of them seem to revolve around events that support a particular interest of each family – school fetes, sporting competitions, dance recitals etc. There seem to be fewer activities that are specifically designed as ‘community building’.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to an event I would call truly community building – a winter solstice celebration, in a small community about 2 hours from where I live. This annual event is designed to bring people together in the middle of winter for food and fun, and at the same time, raise funds for the community hall. Local community members made a ton of amazing food, donated items for the chocolate wheel spins, more items for the produce auction, helped decorate the hall and encouraged their neighbours to turn up and enjoy themselves.

The fire at the back of the hall and the heaters were warming, but not as cheering as the camaraderie, the chat, the team of volunteers who cleaned up and served all night, the laughter and stories told.

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Community, Cultural dimensions, Fun, Tasmania, Village life, Weekends, 1 comment
Why Tasmania? MONA and Dark Mofo!

Why Tasmania? MONA and Dark Mofo!

Tasmania has lovely local festivals – food related, history related, solstice related, music, or craft related – whatever small towns can do to ring people in, entertain them, and showcase local interests.  It also has a couple of major festivals – Agfest and Dark Mofo.  Dark Mofo was started by David Walsh, the owner and founder of MONA (Museum of New and Old Art), and it has grown exponentially. No longer based around the museum itself, the festival now spreads across the city of Hobart, with performances in other areas.  The city and private residences used red lighting throughout to add to the atmosphere. I think David and his committee have a plan to take over Tassie.

Dark Mofo is held close to the middle of winter, and covers two weeks of food, music, performances, installations, art, and general good fun. David, being David, has no problems with controversial exhibits, but he is also happy to create the ethereal.  One piece of ‘ethereal’ that was absolutely glorious was the Siren Song. 450 loudspeakers places on buildings through the city, plus a tsunami warning helicopter playing a 7 minute piece of music based on the call to prayer, played at sunrise and sunset for the duration of the festival. Siren Song was really moving.

The winter feast was amazing, the Dark Park interactive art, music performances, laser shows and art installation good fun, and then out at MONA itself, the opening of the exhibition “The Museum of Everything”, plus more performances, shows, food….

Posted by DeborahH in Art and Craft, Australia, Cultural dimensions, Fun, Music, Tasmania, Weekends, 0 comments
Why Tassie? Food, fun and festivals

Why Tassie? Food, fun and festivals

Tasmania is an island with some of the most pure air and water in the world. This makes it magic for growing beautiful food. With the (very) slow demise of logging and mining, tourism is becoming a major component of the economy, and tourism based on food and wine is an important sector in that component. There are Wine Trail booklets, and a Tasting Trail leaflet leading people to the wineries and special interest food producers. Organic food is gaining in popularity with local growers and consumers.  To add to the mix, there are Taste of … festivals in several different areas, and open farm days (see our free range chickens!).

Last weekend I headed to the 3rd Annual Tomato and Garlic Festival on a farm outside of the tiny hamlet of Selbourne, I wasn’t really sure of what to expect – could be something really good, or just maybe a couple of stalls of tomato relish. There was a hint of a possible tomato fight, so I thought that was enough of an enticement for me to go anyway.  Well, the cars started piling up on the country back road about 2km from the entrance, and as we approached the gates, marshals were there directing the parking. Okay, not just a couple of relish stalls.  A bit of a trek from car park to entrance, and then into the 1000 strong crowd to see what was happening. Cooking demonstrations, garlic plaiting, garden tours, bushwalk and bird watching (although, with all the noise, any self respecting bird would be a long way away), talks from agricultural experts, food and drink stalls, tomato tasting and evaluation, seed stalls, and a couple of very fancy condiments stalls … definitely way more than I was expecting.

My little veggie garden has a few issues, so I asked one of the seed sellers for a bit of advice.  “What’s the pH of your soil?”. “Ah, I don’t know.”. “Well, you SHOULD! That’s always the first thing you do!!”.  Oh, okay, ummm…. sadly, I’m not about to run pH tests on my garden.  So, feeling a bit of a failure as a veggie gardener, I turned my attention to the tomato tasting area.  Wow! The hundreds of varieties of tomatoes available was really mind boggling.  I ended up voting for a wee, tiny yellow tomato that grows with a little leaf tent around it, and tastes just like pineapple.  The tomato grower tells me that this is a ground cherry. This is fast getting a little confusing – I know tomatoes are a fruit, but now we have a cherry disguised as a tomato, tasting like pineapple….

For some reason, I just couldn’t make it to the garlic eating competition – maybe because I was eating local calamari and chips.  Sadly, with poor weather conditions, not enough tomatoes were available for the tomato fight – but maybe next year!

Love local festivals – and island food festivals are special.


Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Cultural dimensions, Daily Life, Fun, Tasmania, Tourism, Weekends, 1 comment