Museums
Museums
Museums

Tasmanian collector David Walsh unveils his vision for an Aboriginal art park on Hobart’s waterfront

The culture complex at Macquarie Point will include a history centre, fire and light installations, and a contemporary art gallery

by Gareth Harris  |  15 December 2016
Tasmanian collector David Walsh unveils his vision for an Aboriginal art park on Hobart’s waterfront
David Walsh's Mona Macquarie Point 2050 Vision, rendering by Fender Katsalidis Architects with rush\wright associates and SCENERY
A former industrial site on the waterfront in Hobart, Tasmania, will be transformed into a vast culture park celebrating Aboriginal heritage under plans proposed by officials at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona).

David Walsh, the gambling millionaire behind the subterranean Mona museum in Tasmania, is backing the vast new arts and heritage complex based at Macquarie Point.

The project encompasses a 650-metre wide art park incorporating a Tasmanian Aboriginal history centre, and nine fire and light installations representing each of the first Tasmanian nations, according to a project statement. “Mona’s vision is to transform the industrial site of Macquarie Point into an internationally significant cultural precinct,” it adds.

Walsh says in a statement: “We are going to push for this, despite knowing we are white-fellas treading on black-fellas graves. We aren’t doing this to pacify or mollify. We are doing it because we believe in it, and we are trying to find a way through.”

  • David Walsh's Mona Macquarie Point 2050 Vision, rendering by Fender Katsalidis Architects with rush\wright associates and SCENERY
  • David Walsh's Mona Macquarie Point 2050 Vision, rendering by Fender Katsalidis Architects with rush\wright associates and SCENERY
  • David Walsh's Mona Macquarie Point 2050 Vision, rendering by Fender Katsalidis Architects with rush\wright associates and SCENERY
The park would also include a contemporary art gallery, a six-star hotel and three light rail stations. The Art Newspaper understands that the project will develop in three stages over the next 30 years. The Tasmanian Government is working with the Macquarie Point Development Corporation to deliver the project, which will cost around A$2bn according to local press reports.

The Lord Mayor of Hobart, Sue Hickey, tells The Art Newspaper that she supports Mona’s vision but has “concerns around there being many attempts at apologies and a lot of tokenistic gestures towards Tasmanian Aboriginals that have not resolved the situation to date.” She hopes that the Aboriginal and broader community will be consulted.

“Tasmania is where colonial conflict was most intense, where attempts were made to exterminate Aborigines completely," says the Tasmanian Aboriginal writer, Greg Lehman, who is working on the initiative with Mona.  

Walsh opened the 6,000 sq. m underground Museum of Old and New Art, the largest privately run space in Australia, in 2011. The museum hewn from a sandstone cliff is located on the six-acre, riverside Moorilla estate which he bought for A$2.5m in 1995.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies.

Accept cookies