Young single members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Tasmania and Victoria met in Hobart recently for three days of activities.
147 Tasmanian and Victorian singles attended the ‘Young Single Adult’ mini-convention, which also attracted visitors from the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.
Showcasing what Hobart had to offer began on the Friday before the start of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (8th-10th June) with registration and a dance held in the marquee at the Hobart Airport Hotel. For three hours the young people danced to a local Hobart old-time bush band, consisting of an odd-socked dance instructor and a bush string band of 15 members.
The large Saturday morning breakfast was a fitting beginning for a day of sight-seeing. With some a little worse for wear after travelling long distances to get to Hobart, it was off by bus to historic Port Arthur. The tour continued with a tour of ‘Ol’ Convict Town.'
“The weather couldn’t have been more spectacular, with blue skies and enjoyable warm sunshine, as a perfect accompaniment to the historic monuments,” said Maddie Bell from Hobart.
“After lunch, in addition to our explorations, we took a breath-taking cruise to Dead Man’s Island,” Hannah Rattray from Devonport said. “We were all soothed by the calming waters. We could also envision what the lives of convicts in the past may have been like. The picture perfect views of Port Arthur were fantastic.”
The trip back to Hobart was filled with anticipation for that night’s ‘Ball Extravaganza’ at Hobart’s Town Hall. Balloons led the way up the grand staircase to the 19th Century-decorated hall in Hobart’s function centre, which has been in operation since 1866.
One attendee, Kathryn Yost, said: “It was the best dance I have ever been to.” Boys dressed to impress and always had a partner to “swirl” the dance floor.
“We were dancing until 11:30pm when chariots and coaches arrived to take us weary princes and princesses home to our castles,” said Nick King from Hobart.
It was a slow start to the Sunday morning for some after the weekend’s adventures, but, “if the breakfast didn’t wake them up,” Jess Leon said, “the spiritual enlightenment certainly did the trick.”
Throughout the morning, workshops were offered to conference attendees. Presentations focused on applying the teachings of Jesus Christ in ways that strengthen faith, knowledge and character.
“The personal experiences shared by the presenters moved us all,” said Kathryn Yost. “The messages motivated us to live a more Christ-like life.”
Jordan Christie, from Devonport, added: “We had the pleasure of having [Church leaders] Elder Andrew O’Riordan and Elder Robert Dudfield as guest speakers that evening.”
Music, including harp and guitar, was provided by Tasmanian and Victorian attendees.
“A testimony meeting [where individuals could share expressions of their faith with others] was the perfect addition to an already uplifting day,” said Campbell King from Hobart.
Monday morning meant an early rise to beat the sun. Conference-goers loaded onto the buses and headed up the iconic Mount Wellington to see the sunrise over Hobart. A chilling 4 degrees made for a short photo opportunity. The group then headed to downtown Hobart for a 'Where’s Wally' scavenger hunt around the Hobart CBD and waterfront areas.
Finding Wally left the young people in need of some nourishment and time to chat. Waffles and waffling was the order of the day while the youth made blankets for homeless individuals.
“Parting was indeed such sweet sorrow for us,” said Zoe Stewart from Hobart. “We had all embraced the opportunity to visit together in our fair state of Tasmania and enjoy not only the sights but also the Spirit of God.”
Similar conferences for Latter-day Saint youth and young adults are held throughout Australia and worldwide. These gatherings often include social, cultural and community service activities, as well as opportunities for those attending to strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ.