Moorilla MONA Recognised

 The Tasmanian Heritage Council has recognised the heritage value of Moorilla Estate/Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) by introducing a new provisional replacement entry in the Tasmanian Heritage Register.

‘The Tasmanian Heritage Council is pleased to mark the provisional replacement entry of the iconic 20th Century Moorilla Estate/MONA in the Tasmanian Heritage Register. This entry recognises the site’s heritage value to all Tasmanians; its tremendous importance to Tasmanian, interstate and international audiences; and the invaluable contribution it makes to Tasmania’s brand and the visitor economy,’ said Ms Brett Torossi, Chair.

‘In 1999 two individual entries, Moorilla Estate – Courtyard House and Moorilla Estate – Round House, were permanently listed in the Heritage Register. Since then the site has undergone major development, transforming into the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), an internationally acclaimed cultural tourism site. However, the site also tells a story of post-war migration to Tasmania and the origins of Tasmania’s wine industry.’

Claudio Alcorso, an Italian migrant, industrialist, wine maker and patron of the arts, purchased the site in 1947. An Italian style farm house was constructed in 1954 and in 1958 the Alcorso family moved into the Courtyard House designed by Sir Roy Grounds. The Round House was constructed shortly after, built to house Alcorso’s parents. Initially 90 vines were planted, and by the mid-1970s Moorilla was producing commercial quantities of wine, with three generations of Alcorsos living on site and working the land.

Moorilla Estate was purchased in 1995 by David Walsh and his consortium. Between 1999 and 2006 the Courtyard House functioned as the Moorilla Museum of Antiquities (MMoA), housing Walsh’s collection of Roman, Hellenic and Egyptian artefacts. In 2006 the Museum of Antiquities closed and construction of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) commenced, designed by Nonda Katsalidis of Melbourne-based architectural firm Fender Katsalidis. The Courtyard House was altered to create a formal entry to the museum, and the Round House was converted and extended to accommodate the MONA library and offices. Opening in 2011, the ambitious project received a number of awards.

‘MONA is Australia’s largest private museum and art gallery, and an evolving cultural and agricultural site. The decision to provisionally enter the replacement entry of Moorilla/MONA in the Heritage Register is being advertised in The Mercury and Government Gazette on 29 July 2020. This provides the opportunity for the public to have their say on the provisional entry of Moorilla/MONA, as required by the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995. Any submissions or objections received by 28 October 2020 will be considered by the Heritage Council before a decision is made whether to permanently enter the place.’

‘The Moorilla Estate/MONA demonstrates a synthesis of art, architecture, and landscape. The site demonstrates features reminiscent of a rural Mediterranean landscape and heritage created by Claudio Alcorso, including the farmhouse, poplar avenue, vineyard and Courtyard House, reflecting the influence of Italian migration in Tasmania. The Courtyard House and Round House are nationally recognised modernist houses designed by Sir Roy Grounds.’

‘MONA is the largest private museum in Australia that has received numerous architectural and tourism awards. MONA’s bold architectural design and dramatic setting on the shores of the River Derwent has reshaped the landscape and established the site as a cultural and tourist landmark. MONA is nationally recognised for its excellence in architecture, designed approach to museology, and inclusion of existing natural and built heritage and features as a sequence of responses to the landscape.’

‘I encourage anyone with an interest in Moorilla/MONA to view this new entry for this place and provide us with their feedback.’

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