Tag Archives: Moorilla estate

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.


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.


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.


The 9th stage of my walk along the Derwent River finished at MONA

More serious rain was threatening as I sat at the point, and rather than return to the Berriedale Caravan Park and then locate the Main Road seeking a bus, I decided to investigate whether it was possible to walk up the hill and arrive on the Moorilla estate at MONA (Museum of New and Old Art) by the ‘back door’.

Earlier in the day others had warned me that MONA was closed to the public every Tuesday. As a result, I was somewhat concerned that even if I was able to access MONA property, by the time I reached the Main Road perhaps the exit might be gated and locked and I would need to retrace my steps.  But I am glad to say the day had a happy ending. There were no gates or locks and my exit was simple and easy.

But before then, I continued my voyage of discovery.

It was very easy to wander up the hill from Cameron Bay. Firstly, I came upon a shed with the sign MONA ROTA and beside it a helicopter pad was laid out for the transport of special guests.

The hills behind Berriedale were almost invisible with shrouds of rain and I knew that a heavy downpour would be around me very soon.

Therefore, I was very pleased when I spotted a large concrete pipe, the sort which is used for drainage when major roads are being built. The pipe offered me perfect protection from the wind and rain. While standing inside, I discovered that the pipe was part of an art work, Worm Mound. A number of pipes like it were placed around a tepee located in their centre and then a high mound of rich soil provided a thick cover. Grass seed had sprouted and the mound seemed almost ready for a haircut. What I liked particularly was the long roots that had been inserted in the mound and which hung and draped inside the mound around the tepee.

I have visited MONA many times but I had never walked to this part of the property. The Worm Mound was a strange but uplifting find.

When the rain calmed a little, I ventured out with my umbrella firmly in hand and walked to the open concert area.  As the rain re-intensified, I noticed the rich red transparent door of one of the tall wooden ‘art’ buildings was open. I went inside and sat and listened to the dialogue which formed part of the art experience. Previously I had not made the time to do this and so the experience was most instructive. A meditation space.  In future I will be interested to visit the other similar structures built in the concert area to see if the voice and messages are the same.

Eventually I connected with Moorilla’s main thoroughfare and walked down to the Main Road at Berriedale. Bus stop 33 is located near the entrance to the Moorilla/MONA experience and I didn’t have to wait long for a Metro bus numbered X1 to transport me to Glenorchy and onto Hobart city.

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I left Moorilla/MONA at 4pm, half an hour after leaving the point where the southern end of Cameron Bay met the Derwent River. On a fine day and without any distractions the time required to pass through the property might have been 10 minutes.

I never had the intention to simply pass through this refreshingly invigorating complex with its thought provoking and startling exhibitions.  Besides, I had planned to reward myself at the end of this stage 9 with a glass of their award winning wines. Alas. That pleasure was not to be – on this occasion.