Aug
16
2011
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falls festival live music

The original live music scene in Tasmania is constantly growing, as more and more venues offer gigs to both local and visiting interstate acts.

And the industry contributes significantly to the state’s economy, as well as enticing a larger number of young people to stay living on the island, according to a leading contemporary music body.

Following on from the results of a Victorian study released last Tuesday (August 9) that showed live music was an even more popular form of entertainment in the state than AFL – and thus contributing heavily to state income and job provision – Contemporary Music Services Tasmania project officer Dane Hunnerup says an equivalent study in the Apple Isle would likely show similar results.

Hunnerup believes that after a dip in the early 2000s, live music has reached an all-time peak in recent years.

“It’s better than it’s ever been, which is fantastic and what we’re seeing now is there are more venues than ever offering live music,” he told the Mercury newspaper.

According to Hunnerup, the arrival of the Falls music festival in 2003 had a massive impact on renewing audience enthusiasm, with many popular Hobart venues – such as the Alley Cat, the Brisbane and Venue Six offering live music programs.

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Aug
15
2011
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The 2011 City of Hobart Art Prize has been on exhibition since July 23 and has so far proved to be an extremely popular addition to Tasmania’s winter calendar of events.

It is an annual event featuring contemporary visual arts, craft and design artworks that provides visitors with a fantastic opportunity to view a variety of interesting and award-winning pieces.

The competition attracts entries from a wide spectrum of fields such as artists, designers and craftspeople from across the nation.

Combining contemporary visual arts, craft and design practice into a single exhibition. The categories in 2011 are wood – exhibiting three-dimensional pieces or installations not limited to any particular process, and paper – works on or of paper or cardboard not limited to any particular process.

In 2010 the prize focused on the themes of digital media and ceramics. As always it is an event that promotes the talents of locals as well as artists from throughout Australia.

The display is being held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – the state’s leading natural, cultural and heritage organisation. A combination of museum, gallery and herbarium, it describes its role as one of safeguarding the physical evidence of the southern state’s natural and cultural heritage – and the cultural identity of the local people.

The museum is located at 40 Macquarie Street, Hobart and you can discover more about the venue or the exhibition by visiting its website. General admission is free, making this an ideal chance to see quality artwork on display in a fabulous building.

The City of Hobart Art Prize will be running until Sunday, September 18 so there is still plenty of time to see it for yourself – just don’t leave it too late or you might have to come back for next year’s prize.

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Aug
14
2011
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Hearty food for Tasmanian winter

Tasmania is the perfect place to embrace winter and celebrate all the cool-weather delights the season has to offer, according to Matthew Evans.

The ACT-born writer and restaurant critic, who has a farm in the Huon Valley, said he “dreaded” the cold winters before he moved to the island state, but was surprised to learn that the season is warmly welcomed by Tasmanians.

“I discovered that the locals celebrated it,” the television presenter told the Canberra Times.

He added that as winter often provides an excellent opportunity for hearty, rustic comfort foods and the regionally-produced fare in Tasmania will be showcased in the upcoming series of The Gourmet Farmer, which is set to begin on SBS One later this month.

The show follows Evans on his quest to learn more about the regional produce of Tasmania – in one episode, he reportedly prepares a meal using ingredients sourced entirely from Flinders Island with the exception of butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.

If you are planning a cold-weather visit to Tasmania, you might want to head to the shop Evans set up with Bruny Island Cheeses founder Nick Haddow in Hobart.

A Common Ground is located within the Salamanca Arts Centre – Evans described the venture to the Mercury last month as “artisan produce meets Harry Potter”.

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Aug
13
2011
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Tasmanian Rob Pennicott is currently circumnavigating Australia raising funds for Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. He and his crew have been steering their two expedition dinghies more than two months. Having reached South Australia, after a mammoth crossing of the Great Australian Bight, Rob isn’t too far from his home waters in Tasmania.

This is an inspired journey. The esteemed National Geographic magazine certainly thinks so. Staff from the magazine have been tracking Rob’s journey since he started in Sydney. And now they’ve just published an online article about Rob, his crew and the Follow the Yellow Boat Road journey.

“There is no doubt that this journey is huge – over 8,000 nautical miles. That’s about the same as a flight halfway around the world, from Sydney to New York,” Rob says in the interview. “We’re doing that distance in an 18-foot boat, up against whatever Mother Nature throws at us.”

Mother Nature has thrown plenty at Rob and the Yellow Boat crew including memorable encounters with whales and flying fish. The flying fish, which hit Rob and the crew in the head, mostly left bruises. But the whales may have inspired smiles from the circumnavigators similar to the $145,000 in donations that have so far been received.

Bids to cruise with Rob on some of the remaining legs of his journey, including taking passage with him on the home waters of Tasmania, are still being accepted.

Bid to travel with Rob, learn more about the End Polio Now cause and donate to it at http://follow.theyellowboatroad.com

(Update for Sat 13 August - The Yellow Boats are arriving in Adelaide  - come down to the Glenelg Marina at 5pm to wave them in).

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Aug
13
2011
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Freycinet Beach - the perfect deserted beach

The Freycinet Peninsula in Tasmania is home to one of the finest unspoiled beaches in the world, according to one travel writer.

John Borthwick of The West Australian asserts that many travellers spend their entire lives looking for “the perfect deserted beach” – and Hazards Beach comes pretty close.

The beach, he writes, is best accessed via the Wineglass Bay trail – an 11km loop that takes roughly five hours to complete. While the trek through The Hazards – imposing granite structures thought to date back roughly 375 million years – is a challenge, the rest of the walk is relatively easy.

“You’ll spot far more black currawongs, Bennett’s wallabies, rosellas and sea eagles than people,” he added.

During your time in the Freycinet Peninsula, you may also wish to experience some of the other brilliant bushwalks on offer.

One brilliant two-day trip – which does pass by Hazards Beach – is the trek along the 30 km Freycinet Peninsula Circuit.

This track also continues on to Cooks and Bryans Beaches and you’ll want to have your camera at the ready as you make your way to scenic Wineglass Bay. You might want to allow yourself even longer to complete this trek – particularly if you are keen to relax and unwind on the beaches.

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Aug
12
2011
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The Budget Fun Run and Walk was held in Hobart for the 19th time on Sunday (August 7), raising funds for the Royal Hobart Hospital's pediatric ward and providing participants with motivation to get out of the house and enjoy some exercise around the city's beautiful waterfront.

500 runners took part in the annual event, with the start-finish line situated at Princes Wharf Number One Shed.

Race director Peter Keenan said the event is growing more and more popular by the year, highlighting the charitable nature of the locals.

"It was a good turnout and we think we raised about $5,000 for the children's ward," Keenan told the Mercury.

"It was great to see a huge variety of runners, from primary school students right up to fit athletes."

This particular run is only 2.5 km long, but people who enjoy getting outside and keeping fit will find Tasmania to be a haven for interesting scenery and quiet surroundings that make exercise pleasant and rewarding.

Hobart is well known as a peaceful and safe city, with plenty of appeal for runners and walkers. Wonderful parks and exquisite landscapes make it ideal for exploring on foot or by car – simply take a local map and choose your own adventure.

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Aug
10
2011
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If you are travelling in the Launceston area, you won't want to miss a stop in the small town of Perth, where you can experience a one-of-a-kind food experience.

Ut Si at Perth, Northern Tasmania

Set in a converted church, the Ut Si Cafe is the perfect place to grab a bite and sample some of Tasmania's finest fare.

The establishment serves up a selection of locally-sourced food – including ethically-raised meat from nearby Skelbrookvale Farm, Black Ridge Farm and Mt Gnomon Farm.

Menu selections include a Wessex Saddleback pulled pork pizza that has been hailed by Gourmet Traveller magazine and a pasture-raised beef stew, which is braised in Tasmanian apple cider and served with dumplings.

You'll also be able to sample a fig and fennel cake, freshly-made gnocchi, and lemon, rosemary and olive oil cake.

The space also doubles as a gallery showcasing the work of local artists, which is also featured on the cafe's blog. Recent works displayed here include a series of acrylic and watercolour paintings by Rosalind Kircaldie, whose work has previously been exhibited at the Handmark Gallery in Salamanca Place, as well as Moondial – a series of landscape studies by Jonathan Bowden.

Whether you are looking for a coffee and dessert or a place to enjoy a tasty afternoon lunch, you're sure to have a delicious visit to the Ut Si Cafe.

Visit Ut Si Cafe’s blog for inspiration and anticipation!

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Aug
09
2011
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Sam Steel is the sous chef from Restaurant Tasman at Hobart’s Grand Chancellor Hotel and the 36- year-old Steel, who worked under Matt Moran at Sydney’s Aria restaurant, presides over a five-course degustation dinner that could dispel the lingering stigma that unfairly blights some hotel eateries.

Steel’s degustation ranges from sashimi grade tuna tartar, crayfish cannaloni, heritage pork belly and seared duck breast. The duo of Cape Grim beef (a perfectly red eye-fillet twinned with a braised, no less tender fillet of cheek) and the Derwent Valley raspberry parfait inspired lick-the-plate ideas.

Steel isn’t angling to get onto any fine dining lists. He describes his food as approachable and affordable. But his degustation treats will also satisfy committed foodies and perhaps those fond of tables set with starched cloth napkins.

The food and the service – our waitress Tia was both knowledgeable of the food and impressively passionate about it: in fact the service throughout the hotel was faultless and could be fine enough to entice even those who live just around the corner into playing tourist in their home town. This might include visiting not only the restaurant but staying in some of the newly upgraded rooms. The views of the Hobart waterfront and the Tasman Peninsula are surprisingly compelling from the 20th floor.

During winter rooms at the Grand Chancellor cost from $145 per night. The pool, sauna and gym can be part of an appealing winter package. The five-course degustation dinner costs $75 excluding matching Tasmanian wines (the price is $110 with wine).

Monthly wine dinners are held at Restaurant Tasman. The dinner, on 12 August, with Stefano Lubiana is sold out. The next one, featuring Josef Chromy wines, will be held on 23 September. Tickets cost $79 for a 5-course degustation dinner and matched wines.
Phone 03 6235 4547 and www.restauranttasman.com.au

The website for the Grand Chancellor Hotel is ghihotels.com/hgc/Hobart/hotels

(This article appeared in the Sunday Tasmanian on 7 August 2011.)

Glass from Josef Chromy Vineyard

Josef Chromy

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Aug
09
2011
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Tasmania is experiencing one of its best oyster-producing seasons yet, according to one farmer.

Speaking to the ABC, James Calvert – who has been cultivating oysters for over a decade – said that the quality of Tasmanian oysters is better than ever thanks to higher levels of rainfall over the past two years.

Demand for the delicacies is up by 300 per cent in the last 12 months, he said, adding that this is “unprecedented for winter”.

“Certainly we’ve never seen demand like this before, so it’s all positive signs for [the] future,” Calvert stated..

If you are planning a trip to Tasmania, you might want to head to Cambridge to check out the fascinating oyster farm, gourmet food shop and restaurant at Barilla Bay.

Located only a short drive from Hobart airport, this is one of Tasmania’s largest oyster farms – and a great place to sample some of the island state’s fabulous locally-produced food.

If you visit on the weekend, you can make your way out to the bay for a short oyster farm tour, where you can see where the oysters are grown and harvested – and you may even get to sample some of the delicacies, garnished with lemon or a dash of Tabasco sauce.

You’ll also find the onsite restaurant, which boasts incredible views of the facility, offers even more dishes for oyster-lovers to sample, as well as several options for vegetarians and people who prefer not to eat seafood.

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Aug
09
2011
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Intricately-crafted furniture made from reclaimed Tasmanian wood is now on show in Hobart.

Eco-friendly designs from young Tassie furniture designers and craftsmen Zach Stonstegaard and Duncan Meerding are on show at 146 ArtSpace on Elizabeth Street in Hobart until August 19 and feature a range of local woods.

Both artists utilise salvaged materials – the logs, which have naturally-occurring splits, would otherwise be considered as waste from commercial timber harvesting.

Among the incredible designs on show are a set of unique cabinets created by Stonstegaard out of recycled Tasmanian eucalypt and salvaged blackwood native to the island state.

Meanwhile, Meerding's Cracked Logs series utilises 'flawed' timber in his fascinating lamps.

The pair, the Mercury reports, created their collection over the past year as part of their 12-month Springboard Scholarship residency with Designed Objects Tasmania.

The island state is home to a number of fascinating woods that are ideal for crafting unique furniture.

Blackwood is favoured for joinery, lamination, feature panelling and furniture and can be found throughout the swamps of north-west Tasmania.

For more than 100 years, the wood has been harvested here – and an estimated 8,000 hectares of land has been set aside here for sustainable blackwood production.

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