Our launch day was tinged with sadness for me as I remembered my Dad. I spent the day with my mother and my son and we visited the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. We enjoyed a nice lunch, the service was a little slow, but we really enjoyed the food. Then a stroll through the museum. We had three must-see things; the Beattie Collection, dinosaurs and I was searching for a Leslie Kingsley painting having just inherited one.
My son Connor got to enjoy the Muttaburrasaurus while we ate and he enlightened us on its unique abilities.
John Beattie offered his museum of convict artefacts to the Hobart City Council back in the 1920's but they were unable to purchase it and it sold to the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston operated by the Launceston City Council. This collection sat in storage for many years but is now shared between Hobart and Launceston. I personally think this is a wonderful outcome. I am a little confused as all the exhibits were labelled "from the Beattie Collection courtesy of" and a name I didn't recognise. But I suppose the museum will fill me in if I get the opportunity to ask. The good news is these items are on display.
I am not sure that I agree with the label on the old wooden camera which claims to be Beattie's from Devonport in 1878, Beattie having only arrived from Scotland that year. I suspect the facts there are a little confused. But as I have said often enough, I am not a historian.
I also noted a book on Tasmanian photographers in the gift shop which spelled our surname incorrectly and listed our family only as a post script to the entry on John Watt Beattie. Whilst I do not claim to be any authority on Beattie, history or even old Tasmanian photographs, I do take offence to the suggestion that my family has made little or no contribution to these subjects when we have preserved and presented the Beattie photos for over 80 years.
I was pleased to see my late father's book "Pictorial Portrayal Of Tasmania's Past" on offer. Although this book is now owned by Winnings Newsagency I do like to see it available. It has some great photos, although the text by the late Basil Rait (MBE) has some educated guess work.
My search for a Kingsley painting was not fruitful. I will need to ask the museum as I do remember there being one there, but it was not obvious to me on Sunday.
So my advice to you is go and see the Beattie collection at the new and improved TMAG.