Claudio Alcorso

Claudio Alcorso was a passionate advocate of the Tasmanian 'dolce vita', including the best of the arts, food & wine, and social and environmental justice.

Fleeing Fascist Italy in the 1930s, Claudio Alcorso arrived in Australia only to find himself interned during World War 2. After internment, Alcorso moved his successful textile business to Tasmania. From Hobart, he maintained an active role in the arts, assisting in the development of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust, the Australia Council and the Sydney Opera House. In Tasmania, he aided the development fo the Tasmanian Centre for the Arts and the Sullivan's Cove development, in which the Haven exhibition will be displayed. He also established a vineyard outside Hobart, which now includes Museum of Antiquities. Alcorso was a passionate advocate of Lake Pedder.

Claudio Alcorso and his wife being arrested during Franklin demonstration
Some excerpts from his book (Claudio Alcorso The Wind You Say: An Italian In Australia Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1993):
Fighting to save the Franklin
With the exception of the uprising at Eureka Stockade, Australia's history does not include revolutions. The fight to save the Franklin was a revolution in the new meaning of the term: it involved large numbers from all over Australia, from all strata of society, who defied the law and were imprisoned for their actions.


Innovative textile designs
[Foreword to book of designs A New Approach to Textile Designing (1946) with designs by Dobell, Preston, Drysdale, Donald Friend, etc.] The designs reproduced in this book are not only a new approach to textile designing; they also are the expression of a desire to introduce creative thought and beauty into the everyday things of life…

Dream of Tasmanian small industry
The Franklin crisis hastened a change in attitudes… The concept that TASMANIA could become synonymous with QUALITY, and together with it, the acceptance of the idea that 'small is beautiful', were being supported by an increasing number of people.
The Roman villa on the Derwent valley
[After parents come to Tasmania in 1955] even though we were ten kilometres upriver, we had cool afternoon sea-breezes in summer which spoiled the day and more so the lingering hours of twilight, l'ora che volge al desio (the hour that turns toward desire), as the poet sang. Amongst all my books I had a copy of a 1937 Domus, an architectural magazine, with an article entitled: 'We do not need a new manner of building, we need a new manner of living'. The article extolled the merits of the old Roman villa which had an internal, sheltered but open patio on ground level. I had kept it because I thought that if one day I would build my home, that would be my model. I could not have dreamt then of Tasmania, where the climate called for precisely that sort of house.
The Koori nation
In my old age, walking along the natural terrace, or sitting in the native garden at dusk or early in the morning, when the water and the trees are stil and I am at peace, I feel kinship with the previous inhabitants. Their love for the land was more instinctive than mine, but also my roots go down into the soil. We restored the land to its original fertility and then brought it to bear fruit in the vineyard…
The Koori nation were destroyed, a cruel episide in the cruel history of humanity. More than 100 years later the wind of life brough me to one of their old, overgrown camping sites. Now I and my kin are the custodians for Mother Earth of this beautiful small corner of the world.