West: Out on the Edge

Opens 06-12-2019,  closes 18-10-2020

Argyle Galleries 1-4

West: Out on the Edge

On the edge of an island at the edge of the world lies a distinctive, complex and compelling – yet elusive – place: Tasmania’s west.

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is proud to present West: Out on the Edge, a captivating new multidisciplinary exhibition exploring this unique region of our state.

This ‘island within an island’ is perhaps Tasmania in its rawest form: isolated by its extreme terrain but strengthened by its history and community.

West: Out on the Edge shows how people have shaped the west and, in turn, been shaped by it. It asks: ‘Can you truly know Tasmania unless you know the west?’

Learn about the west’s defining natural elements – its distinctive geology, diverse flora and fauna and wild weather – and the connection to country experienced by the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

Discover the stories of people who have made their home in the remote and often inhospitable environment of the west, including those incarcerated there, some against their will, during the harshest days of early Van Diemen’s Land, and how they survived – and even thrived – in its isolation.

Delve into the west’s extensive industrial history and learn how harnessing and extracting its rich natural resources – precious metals, abundant water, ancient forests and spectacular scenery – has led to a boom and bust economy that continues to be weathered by its resilient community.

Be inspired by the west like countless artists past and present: admire sublime artworks of the region’s landscape by William Piguenit, appreciate the stunning wilderness photography of Olegas Truchanas and others, and watch the landmark silent-era film Jewelled Nights, filmed at Savage River in the 1920s.

Finally, contribute your own views and reflections on the west and its past, present and people, both in the galleries and online via Instagram as part of the Hydro Tasmania Photography Project.

West: Out on the Edge is the first in a series of temporary exhibitions exploring people and place in Tasmania, and demonstrates TMAG’s commitment to showcasing the diversity of the communities around our state.

It provides a platform to reflect on the complexities and contradictions of the west: you’ll leave with a better understanding of Tasmania by experiencing the essential elements that make this unique place tick…and perhaps even be inspired to go west yourself.

You can find out more about the exhibition, and its associated public programs, at the links below:

Key themes and stories

Public programs

Teacher Guide


West: Out on the Edge on tour


A condensed version of the exhibition will head to Tasmania's west in 2021, thanks to the support of the Tasmanian Community Fund. It will travel to the following locations:

Queenstown: Queenstown Library, West Coast Community Services Hub, 19 January - 5 March 2021
Rosebery: Rosebery Library, 10 March - 25 March 2021
Zeehan: West Coast Heritage Centre, 30 March - 30 May 2021


West: Out on the Edge sponsors

Image details: Frenchman's Cap – view from Loddon Ranges with bushwalker, explorer and wilderness photographer Fred Smithies in the foreground, February 1928. F. Smithies Collection, Tasmanian Archives.