The Hobart of my youth was mostly working class Glenorchy, the satellite city of Hobart that is neither a city nor a satellite, at least in the sense of willing subordinate. The denizens of Glenorchy believed it to be a place where a life could be lived completely, mostly without ambition, but also without its attendant desperation. In Glenorchy and, I later found out, in Tasmania, we believed in shades of grey. People weren’t black or alcoholic or rich (actually I think nobody was rich except Claudio Alcorso, my predecessor at Moorilla, where the Museum of Old and New Art now resides). Everybody was just somebody. Most people weren’t even bothered by weird, demented, internal me.
We believed in shades of grey because our forebears were convicts, and we were in no position to judge. And we believed in shades of grey because we were the stunted cousins of the larger, flashier cities that the descendants of those felons transported to the mainland produced.