Hobart is the capital and most populous city of Tasmania. With a population of approximately 225,000, it is the second least populated Australian capital city. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony, Hobart is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney. The modern history of Hobart dates to its foundation as a British colony in 1804.
Since its foundation as a colonial outpost, the city has grown from the mouth of Sullivans Cove to stretch in a generally north-south direction along both banks of the Derwent River, from 22 km inland from the estuary at Storm Bay to the point where the river reverts to fresh water at Bridgewater.
The city’s location in the state’s south-east makes it the most southern of Australia’s capital cities. Its harbour forms the second-deepest natural port in the world and its skyline is dominated by the 1,271-metre Mount Wellington, and much of the city’s waterfront consists of reclaimed land. It is the financial and administrative heart of Tasmania, serving as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations and acting as a major tourist hub, with over 1 million visitors per year.
Dark Mofo, Mona’s winter festival, delves into centuries-old winter solstice rituals, exploring the links between ancient and contemporary mythology, humans and nature, religious and secular traditions,darkness and light, and birth, death and renewal.
Dark Mofo runs June 15-24 across Hobart, on the wild island state of Tasmania, with major exhibitions at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), a public art playground at Dark Park, international musicians and artists performing around the city, at the historic Odeon Theatre, and home of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Federation Concert Hall.
It is a heady fortnight of festivities, and highlights for travellers often include the annual City of Hobart Dark Mofo Winter Feast on Hobart’s waterside docks, the ogoh-ogoh parade and burning on the solstice night, and the annual Nude Solstice Swim, where hundreds of brave souls plunge into the River Derwent at sunrise to welcome back the return of the light after the longest night.
Mona’s midwinter festival Dark Mofo is an annual pilgrimage south celebrating the dark through large-scale public art, food, film, music, light and noise.