22 April, 2015 - “What I didn’t realise was Tasmanians don’t give a flying f... about their buildings, on the whole, any more than they did about their natural environment,” Mr Schofield said.
Australian restaurant critic, journalist, and creative arts festival director, Leo Schofield spent a decade in Tasmania before returning to Sydney a few months ago and described Tasmanians as "dregs, bogans and third generation morons” during an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. Slamming the Tasmanian tourism industry and its official representatives, he unleashed a bitter tirade against the unprofessional service in Tasmanian restaurants and hotels, the ham-fisted tourism promotion, the woeful condition of the state’s unique building heritage, and the lack of any coherent arts policy.
You got my attention at “dregs, bogans and third-generation morons” Mr Schofield. Surely no state in this country deserves such a gauche diatribe, least of all one that is as geographically diverse as Tassie, with 40 per cent of it reserved in its pristine state as national park and world heritage area.
As for city sophistication, Mr Schofield, where else would you find the only dedicated art hotel in Australia but in Hobart. One of only a handful of art hotels in the world, the über chic Henry Jones Hotel was created within Hobart’s oldest waterfront warehouse and is a seamless marriage of the historic and modern. If you’re looking for the largest privately funded museum in Australia, that’s in Tasmania too. The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery, on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart.
With a week up my sleeve and no overseas booking on the horizon, I felt compelled to check out my own backyard and see what all that fuss was about. So far as I’m concerned, Mr Schofield, you’ve just thrown down the gauntlet.
Stay tuned for more on my week in Tasmania, starting with a stay at The Henry Jones Hotel, no less!