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Oh The Places You’ll Go

Nov 21, 2018
Article by Tess Crellin

Open House Hobart is a free public festival that unlocks the city and uncovers secret spaces.

It kicks off every year during the second weekend of November and features a line-up of commercial, civic and residential buildings. The occasional garden, sculpture and tunnel is thrown in the mix too.

Produced by the Australian Institute of Architects’ Tasmanian Chapter, the event gives curious punters an opportunity to go behind the scenes of the built environment and explore. There are hidden places to discover in even the most familiar buildings of Hobart.

Lume was invited to preview three stops on this year’s program: St David’s Cathedral, Colonial Mutual Life and the General Post Office. Situated a few doors apart from one another, you can almost draw a straight line between their rooftops. We climb a spiral staircase to a bell tower, take a mechanical lift to an empty caretaker’s flat, and navigate beams and rickety walkways to reach a clock that was funded by the people of Hobart in 1906.

It’s these stories from the buildings that really pull us in. At the GPO tower, we find hundreds of initials and names scratched into the underbelly of the clock’s wooden base. It’s not as glamorous as the Edwardian Baroque façade of the building, but intrigues us to no end, especially when we find out that the carvings form a record of people who have worked at the post office since the 1900s (a rite of passage for soon-to-be exemployees).

In all of the structures, we notice that architecture has the power to make us behave a certain way. Even though there’s no church service running during our visit to the cathedral, the building prompts a certain deference and we find ourselves speaking in a whisper, hesitant to pull out our cameras.

This is the impact of space.

But be assured – photography is a key part of the program. Open House Hobart encourages participants to get out their camera and share photos from the event in their Instagram and Facebook competition.

Depending on when you pick up this copy of Lume, Open House Hobart (November 10-11, 2018) may have come and gone or will be just around the corner. If you missed it, search for pictures from Open House Hobart using the hashtag #oh_hobart

Photos by Julien Schieffer

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