TMAG: Bond Store Gallery

My first trip to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery was a bit of a rushed affair as I only had an hour before they were closing. As a result I completely missed a whole section of TMAG, the Bond Store Gallery. It is located within the old Bond Store which was built in the mid 1820’s as an additional storage facility for housing valuable foodstuffs and supplies. It faced directly onto the cove whereby goods were transferred into the store straight from the ships docked outside. The three levels above the current basement were used for storing dry goods (mainly grain). The lower level, used by Customs for bonded goods such as tobacco and spirits, was not open from the waterfront side, and was accessed either internally or from doors on the eastern side of the building.

Today the spirit of those colonial storage days is well preserved in the Bond Street Gallery which contains three distinct permanent exhibits, the flora,fauna and geology of Tasmania, the colonial era and the history of interactions with the native aboriginal people both positive and more infamously…negative. There are a number of interesting displays in addition to the main exhibits which delve into further details of this island’s fascinating history. There’s also a number of interactive exhibits as well as children’s activity areas dotted throughout the building. The names of workers who once carried out the hard labour within the store are painted on a number of walls, further adding to the museum within a museum atmosphere. In the basement there’s an additional space for occasional and special galleries and exhibits.

I spoke before about wanting to revisit TMAG again and again as there’s so much to see and you always see something new on each visit. Two visits down and I think there’ll be plenty more to come over the coming months.

Visit the TMAG website for more information.

GROUND FLOOR (Biology, Botany and Geology)

There’s a funny story behind this Wombat. The taxidermists who created it knew little of the biology of Wombats and thought it more akin to a bear that stood on its hind legs, hence this odd pose they put it in.
“Did someone say free leaves?!”
A lovely Lyrebird display. Always think of this hilarious video every time I see one. 🙂
Oh deer. You can see the “graffiti” from past workers on the walls here.
A European Goldfinch.
“This cheese doesn’t taste very nice, it’s very hard”
So that’s where doe-eyed comes from.
A Blue-tongue lizard, when threatened, Blue-tongues turn towards the threat, open their mouth wide and stick out their broad blue tongue, which contrasts vividly with the pink mouth. This display, together with the large size of the head, may frighten off predators…..or at least give them a laugh before lunch 🙂
A lovely Little Penguin, quite an apt name don’t you think?
And quite the first impression it is.
A spotted handfish. Don’t know why this reminds me of Mr. T…..
A couple make their way towards the stairs to the next floor of the Bond Store gallery.
An original plant press book, a simple yet effective way of storing and classifying plant species.
One of the cabinets within the Geology exhibit displaying rare minerals and equipment used by the pioneering geologists of Tasmania.
Mmmmm equipment.
Robert Mackenzie Johnston (1843-1918), civil servant, scientist and statistician.
Get down from there! Silly swan!
I really liked these projections onto the walls of the Bond Store.

1ST FLOOR (Colonial History)

A large number of these exhibits belonged to some of Tasmania’s leading historical figures.
What a lovely decorative piece.
Well hello there old chap, welcome to our delightful little island.
Chamber of horrors, nothing pleasant in this one.
This punishment box from the 1840s was collected by J.W. Beattie as a convict curiosity for his museum and was used on one a colonial convict vessel, secured to the deck and used as just one of a number of punishments metered out by the ship’s surgeons. Originally it was thought to be a dunking box for male prisoners, but several clues – including height and the air holes – and recent research has suggested its role in punishing female convicts.
Another worker’s name is seen through one of the wall projections.

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The beautiful spiral staircase between exhibition floors is a work of art itself.

2ND FLOOR (Our Land: The aboriginal experience in Tasmania)
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