Moorilla Estate on the edge of the Derwent River, and Claudio Alcorso’s legacy

Two weeks have passed and I am yet to plod along a new stage of my walk along the Derwent. Unfortunately a number of commitments and inclement weather have kept me off the path but for the followers and other readers of this blog, I hope to be walking later this week or early next week and lodging new stories onto the blog.

History

Meanwhile a little history of the fabulous location at Berriedale where my last walking stage finished and the next stage starts needs to be provided.

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Moorilla is an estate producing wonderful wines from the vineyards that sit around MONA (Museum of New and Old Art) in the northern suburbs of the Greater Hobart Area.  Details about these good drops can be found at http://www.moorilla.com.au/. In addition, the world famous Moo Brew Brewery operates from the site.  Read more at http://www.mona.net.au/mona/moobrew

Claudio Alcorso

The estate and vineyard was originally established by entrepreneur and Italian textile merchant Claudio Alcorso in 1947. Read more at http://www.moorilla.com.au/winemaking/history/. Claudio Alcorso was well known for setting up Silk and Textile Printers Ltd. at Derwent Park, a suburb in the City of Glenorchy in the Greater Hobart Area.  He was also a patron of the arts. For example, in 1947 and other years Alcorso commissioned selected Australian artists to design new fabrics and then these were printed on silk, wool and linen. The artists included William Dobell, Hal Missingham, William Constable, Russell Drysdale, James Gleeson, Francis Lymburner, Adrian Feint, Jean Bellette, Donald Friend, Margaret Preston, Justin O’Brien, J. Carrington Smith, Loudon Sainthill, Frank Hinder, Carl Plate, Margo Lewers, Douglas Annand, Alice Danciger, and Desiderus Orban.  Tasmanians may recognise that our Jack Carrington Smith was recognised in this list of celebrated Australian artists. Their designs were displayed in substantial national exhibitions and helped to create a design shift nationally and were part of a global development in the design of fabrics. Have a look at http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1301&dat=19470821&id=fgNVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=25MDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7284,3275402 to see some of the fabrics.

Alcorso sponsored the Alcorso-Sekers Travelling Scholarship for Sculpture with the Art Gallery of New South Wales and helped bring some of the most controversial art to Australia in the 1960s and 1970s.

You can read a transcript of a short interview with this wonderful man at http://eprints.utas.edu.au/16629/2/alcorso-transcript.pdf.  Alcorso’s autobiography The Wind You Say. An Italian in Australia – the True Story of an Inspirational Life was published by Angus & Robertson in 1993.

Handing over to David Walsh

Alcorso sold the property to David Walsh in 1995 who, in concert with the current wine maker, has continued the open-mindedness of the original owner with a search for, and presentation to the public, of new and exciting and beautiful objects and experiences.

Stacks of wonderful photographs of Moorilla and MONA can be seen at https://www.google.com.au/search?q=moorilla+images&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=XreGVP8Lg4PyBcWxgTA&ved=0CDMQ7Ak

Since MONA opened to the public a few years ago, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have poured into Tasmania and made the pilgrimage. It offers a feast for all the senses and no-one leaves the estate unchanged.

Just remember the estate and MONA are closed to the public every Tuesday.

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