.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

all things tasmanian

food - wine - wilderness - culture - art - craft - accommodation - tourism - events - attractions - politics - green things - development - economy - social - mary mania -industry - news - happenings - people - weather - nature - history - creatives - thinkers - science - innovators ... et al ... and the list goes on ... & on ... anon ... in this timeless island


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lennon's $30m icon

The Mercury: Lennon's $30m icon [23feb06]

PREMIER Paul Lennon yesterday pledged to spend $30 million dollars to create a Hobart icon to rival the Sydney Opera House.

He said the money would be spent over the next two years restoring, preserving and redeveloping the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG).

In his first big ticket spending item for the 2006 election, Mr Lennon said the early colonial buildings that now form the hidden back entrance of the museum more than rival Port Arthur in historical importance.

The Premier said the museum was built on the site of the first settlement of Hobart in 1804, and included the very early 1808 Commissariat's building, the 1813 private secretary's cottage and the 1824 Bond Store.

"Very few people realise this is the most significant set of early colonial buildings not only in Tasmania but in Australia and they must be conserved and restored ," Mr Lennon said.

"It's time we looked to this site to become the icon site of Hobart and one of the state's, but we don't want that to happen until its colonial buildings and early Aboriginal history has been properly preserved."

As part of his announcement of a bold new vision for the museum and waterfront precinct, Mr Lennon also said it was inappropriate that Hobart's showpiece waterfront was little more than a public car parking space.

He promised the Dunn St carpark adjacent to the museum between Davey and Macquarie Sts would not be sold to developers and would remain public space.

But he did not commit to it becoming a park, leaving the option open for the area to be incorporated into the existing museum site with the addition of a startling new building fitting in with the overall vision for Hobart's waterfront precinct.

The entrance to the TMAG is likely to be shifted to the north side of the museum, leading into the colonial courtyard surrounded by its collection of nearly 200-year-old buildings.

Mr Lennon, acknowledging that elements of his museum and waterfront development had been announced in late 2003 by former premier Jim Bacon, also said the ugly 1966 TMAG annexe on the corner of Argyle and Davey Sts would be demolished.

"This is the most significant announcement for the development of cultural enrichment ever made in Tasmania's history," Mr Lennon said.

"We are determined to make this a site that Tasmanians can look on with pride, and which can make a greater economic contribution than it already does," Mr Lennon said.

The museum has about 300,000 visitors a year, with 45 per cent interstate and overseas tourists.

The Premier pointed out that the central museum building, built in 1863 by renowned colonial architect Henry Hunter, was also the first museum and art gallery purpose-built in Australia.

Mr Lennon said $15m would go towards restoring the colonial buildings on the TMAG site, so they could become a central focus.

Extensive archaeological digs -- which, amazingly, have never been undertaken before on the historic site -- will be conducted, sifting through up to five metres of dirt and rubble that covers the original land surface.

The Bond Store and 1901 Customs House face what was once the earliest shoreline of Hobart, while the Dunn St carpark is on land reclaimed from Hobart's earliest port.

The director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art gallery, Bill Bleathman, said that over the past three years there had come a new awareness of the historical importance of not just the museum's collection, but its heritage buildings.

Hobart Lord Mayor Rob Valentine welcomed the Government's announcement, especially the $15 million to properly preserve and restore the colonial buildings that once served the early port.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home