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Ian Evans: Touching Magic: A lost secret re-dicovered

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Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

91 Murray Street

Hobart, TAS 7000

Australia

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The role of magic in the lives of Europeans in 19th century Tasmania will be revealed in a talk at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts in February 2018.

Dr. Ian Evans, author of numerous books on the history and conservation of old Australian houses, will report on his seventeen years of research into the lost and secret history of magic in Tasmania. Dr. Evans said that people arriving from Britain in early Tasmania felt the need for magical protection in the exotic and sometimes threatening environment in which they found themselves.

‘The seasons were turned around, strange stars illuminated the night sky and a host of bizarre birds and animals were all around them,’ he said.

In addition, they were threatened by absconded convicts, bushrangers and the Tasmanian Aborigines whose ancestral hunting grounds had been occupied by the new arrivals.

Europeans placed evil-averting marks on their houses and other buildings and concealed objects to decoy hostile spiritual forces into voids from which they could not escape.

Words such as charm, magic, spell and nightmare, conveyed very different mean¬ings to the people of 19th century Tasmania than they do today. This will be the first opportunity to learn about one of Dr. Evans’ most recent discoveries, a 19th century notebook belonging to a Tasmanian ‘cunning man’, containing recipes for folk remedies. The book has recently been digitised by the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office and the original will be on display for this event.

Those attending will learn how to find a witch in their village and be invited to join in the search for the first Tasmanian witch bottle.

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Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

91 Murray Street

Hobart, TAS 7000

Australia

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