This is the concluding photo-essay of a three-part series on Australia’s regional capitals, with Adelaide and Perth featured in the May and June issues of Home Review.
Capital of the island-province of Tasmania, Hobart was founded back in 1804 and is the second oldest capital city in the country after Sydney. As with most other Australian cities, European settlements caused a profound decrease of the region’s original native population due to armed conflicts and disease. For the first four decades of its history, a large number of convicts were transported to the island and formed the chief workforce that constructed the initial roadways and building works in the region.
A majority of Hobart’s historic buildings belong to the Georgian and Victorian styles of architecture, which were popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Prominent amongst these is the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery whose elegant edifice is contrasted with some contemporary interventions in the Museum’s courtyard. Just behind the Museum, the Hobart General Post Office building occupies a commanding corner plot, complete with a clock tower.
A large number of historic homes and civic buildings that include fire stations, banks and theatres are spread across central Hobart.
The most exciting piece of contemporary art and architecture in Hobart is undoubtedly the MONA – Museum of Old and New Art, often called the most cutting edge museum in the entire southern hemisphere. It displays art that can be considered to be simultaneously provocative and calming, with a curious mixture of antiques juxtaposed with contemporary pieces.
MONA’s architecture is equally stunning – the main galleries are spread three levels underground, in a darkened space with no windows. It’s the antithesis of the notion of a museum being a naturally-lit white-cube and the architecture is perfectly suited to amplify the unpredictability of what’s displayed inside.
Text And Photos By Kunal Bhatia And Shuvajit Payne