The Baha’i Hobart Centre of Learning. How (and why) did I end up there? Well, first I borrowed a book from the State Library of Tasmania. Then, I went to watch Australia play Italy in a Fed Cup tennis match. Still don’t follow? Okay, let me explain in more detail.

Hobart Centre of Learning - Baha'i Building
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Baha’i Centre of Learning: Hobart

Taste Cafe: Baha’i Hobart Centre

The book I borrowed from the library was Tasmania’s Picnics in Paradise, by Karen Goodwin-Roberts. It was recommended to me by Kerry from Visit Vineyards and I loved it so much, I’ve actually borrowed it twice already. Anyway, the local author also owns the Taste Cafe, which operates from the Baha’i Hobart Centre of Learning.

Hobart Centre of Learning - Tasmania's Picnics in Paradise Book
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Tasmania’s Picnics in Paradise

The Hobart Centre of Learning building looks fascinating. It’s located on the Tasman Highway between the city centre and the Tasman Bridge in the Queens Domain precinct. Right near the Domain Tennis Centre, where I had arrived a little too early to watch Samantha Stosur and her team-mates. So to kill some time, I headed down the hill, past the Hobart Aquatic Centre, to buy a coffee and a cake from the Taste Cafe.

Fabulous idea, except for one thing: the Taste Cafe doesn’t open on Saturdays!  Turns out, Karen Goodwin-Roberts also runs a very busy catering business and has more pressing matters to attend to on the weekends. I get that!

Functions, Events and Exhibitions

But all was not lost, because the friendly volunteers on duty at the Baha’i Hobart Centre of Learning were more than happy to show me around inside. And if the building looks fascinating from the Hobart Highway, it’s nothing short of amazing inside.

Hobart Centre of Learning - Performances
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MONA FOMA performances: Hobart Centre of Learning

Looking like some sort of spaceship with its domed main roof, the Centre is actually a venue for functions, events and exhibitions. Boasting environmentally sustainable and natural features, the foyer leads to many unique and versatile spaces.

Hobart Centre of Learning - Baha'i Domed Roof
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Domed ceiling: Baha’i Centre of Learning, Hobart

The Tranquility Room, for instance, has the technological gear required to host an educational presentation. But far from being an ordinary rectangular conference room, the walls are rounded and offer views to an interior courtyard. Guests can choose a bay-window seat, and the circular formation means no-one has to sit right up the back (or the front!).

Hobart Centre of Learning - Conference Venue
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Tranquility Room, Baha’i Hobart Centre of Learning

Baha’i Hobart Centre of Learning

The dome in the auditorium contributes to the acoustic properties of the room, making it perfect for seminars, conventions, and even live performances. With seating for up to 280 guests as a theatre, the Baha’i Centre had recently been used during the MONA FOMA Festival when I visited. An elaborate kite-shaped skylight provides natural light as well as a stunning visual feature.

Hobart Centre of Learning - Auditorium Skylight
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Kite-shaped skylight, auditorium: Baha’i Centre of Learning

And while the venue does have some substantial rooms, there are other spaces that cater to a more personal gathering. The board room and several “break out” rooms allow small groups to consult and discuss in private.

So the next time I have to co-ordinate a function, my first contact will be with the Baha’i Hobart Centre of Learning. And of course, I still have to go back for that coffee at the Taste Cafe!!

Hobart Centre of Learning - Functions
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Events, functions, conferences, meetings…

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Map: Baha’i Hobart Centre of Learning