Mountains, Mud and Migrants

In 2008, members of the West Moonah Community Precinct began to explore the possibility of a history project. They approached the Arts & Cultural Development Unit of Glenorchy City Council who offered their support in the development of an exhibition at the Moonah Arts Centre in 2009. A working group with representatives from the Precinct, local schools, the Glenorchy Historical Society, Glenorchy City Council staff and others was formed. The group decided to focus in particular on the history of the West Moonah area from the time of the ‘Springfield Estate’ development proposal in 1917.

Three artists worked with schools and community to generate material, create artworks and research and interview older members of the community. The artists were writer/historian Bernard Lloyd, visual artist Caroline Amos and photographer Louise Conboy.

What resulted – Mountains, Mud and Migrants: A History of West Moonah – was a celebration of place, an exhibition of photography, sound, artwork, local history and interviews at the Moonah Arts Centre. The exhibition opened on Wednesday 5 August and ran until Wednesday 19 August 2009.

These pieces tell the rich story of West Moonah/Springfield – the failed ‘Garden City’ development in the first half of the 1900s, the influx of post war migrants who purchased cheap land to build their homes in a new land, the mud and sewerage legacy of the failed subdivision and finally the tenacity and commitment of a community to their home and suburb as they fought for their right to the basic services that the rest of Hobart enjoyed.