From the ed­i­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Deb­o­rah Jones

THE hard hat isn’t a great look for me, but on a cou­ple of re­cent oc­ca­sions I’ve donned one as the price of get­ting an early look at an arts venue un­der ren­o­va­tion. Syd­ney’s Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art, which opens its new wing in a few days, is one; Melbourne’s Hamer Hall is an­other. From what I was able to see on a tour around the lat­ter last week it’s go­ing to be a knock­out. Gone is the sense of dis­ap­pear­ing down the rab­bit hole, pos­si­bly never to emerge again, and in its place is a con­nec­tion to the Yarra and the city. Re­open­ing date for Hamer Hall is July 26, and early events will be the Czech Phil­har­monic, Philip Glass and his en­sem­ble — nice in the com­poser’s 75th birth­day year — and Cape Town Opera in con­cert. Mean­while, in Ho­bart a few months ago I was shown the hugely im­pres­sive plans for the Tas­ma­nian Mu­seum and Art Gallery, see­ing how its unequalled her­itage build­ings will be re­stored and show­cased within a 21st-cen­tury com­plex. It was fas­ci­nat­ing to see the low­est level of the con­vict-era Bond Store, the ground cov­ered with a thick layer of ac­cu­mu­lated dirt but in the process of be­ing re­claimed. The first stage of the TMAG project is ex­pected to be un­veiled early next year — 2013 will mark TMAG’S 150 years on that site — and, as usual, money will have to be found for the am­bi­tious fur­ther stages. But all be­ing well, Ho­bart will have a build­ing to ri­val any­one’s. And when you see what David Walsh’s MONA has done for that city, you’d have to agree that money spent on cul­tural in­fra­struc­ture can be money very, very well spent. So — all we need now is for ev­ery­one to bite the bul­let on get­ting the Syd­ney Opera House up to scratch.

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