Woonona man wins biggest prize in Tasmanian summer festival history and gets to take 149 friends

New challenge: Tim and Julie Strange visit HARS to show children Audrey and Imogen what 150 seats look like. Picture: Sylvia Liber
New challenge: Tim and Julie Strange visit HARS to show children Audrey and Imogen what 150 seats look like. Picture: Sylvia Liber

A Woonona man has won the biggest prize in Tasmanian summer festival history and gets to fly to and from Launceston in a Boeing 737 with 149 friends.

After solving the puzzle in a national Mona Foma Festival and Tourism Tasmania competition the new challenge for quiz-loving, foster care case worker Tim Strange is to decide who to take to share the $100,000 prize.

Mr Strange and 149 mates will be flown return from Sydney in mid January on board theAir Mofo 737 bound for the Mona Foma Festival with in flight entertainment inspired by performances at the annual event.

He was the first to find the hidden purple and yellow plane on an online map of Tasmania. A series of clues was posted over six days. The winner was the first person to find the aircraft.

Mr Strange had plenty of competition from people around Australia who spent more than a million minutes searching for Air Mofo.

But after all the clues were posted between October 10 to 14 he found the plane at Lake Mikany within one minute and 40 seconds of the competition going live.

Mona Foma Festival is a summer celebration of music, art and fun at Inveresk near Launceston. It is run by Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art and curated by Brian Ritchie, of the Violent Femmes.

"I was in Tasmania a couple of weeks ago for a car motor racing event near Hobart and in the Airbnb found a brochure promoting Mona Foma.

"I was aware of the Dark Mofo Festival but not this summer festival. I was having a look at their Instagram page after seeing the brochure and came across the competition which I thought looked like a lot of fun and a pretty cool prize. So I thought it would be fun to have a crack at winning.

"By the time I looked at the map quite a few clues had already been given. I was lucky to get it right. There were a couple of places I thought were possibilities but the first place I went to was where it was. A friend and I decided to share some clues and said if one of us wins we will take the other".

Mr Strange said it was a strange feeling when he was told he had won on Tuesday by email. It is still sinking in.

"My first response was to send a message to Julie to say I had won. I was pretty excited but I couldn't jump around or anything because I was in a meeting. I honestly didn't think I would win and be doing something like this so I am still in a bit of shock".

Then he started to think about how he was going to explain exactly what he had won to his wife and how was going to fill the 150 seats on the Air Mofo Being 737. All the family and friends they take will receive a festival pass and return flight home.

"I have started a list with my wife Julie and we will see how far we get," he said.

"I haven't told too many people about it yet but there are a lot of offers on the Facebook page of people willing to take a seat if needed".

The other things Mr Strange needs to do straight away is apply for leave at work for the Friday and Monday of the four-day weekend and start organising accommodation.

"It looks like a great festival. The full program is being released on Friday. They have gorgeous summers in Tasmania and I am looking forward to spending a few days at Mona Foma. It is a beautiful state. I have been there a lot and am pretty familiar with Launceston".

Mrs Strange said her husband enjoyed puzzles and she was keen to find out more about what he had won when he got home from work on Tuesday.

"He loves a quiz and a mental challenge so when I heard about this I thought it was the next thing he was getting into," she said.

"When he sent me a text to say he had won I went "Oh my gosh". I thought I better take this seriously and asked "What have you won"? I then jumped on the website to have a look and see.

"My next thought was we need to start writing a list. We have got friends all over Australia and some of them are considering flying into Sydney to join us for the flight down".

The couple have decided not to take their three children William, Audrey and Imogen to the festival. The next few days will be about trying to fill the Air Mofo plane. A visit to HARS on Thursday helped them get a better appreciation of how many seats that is.

Tourism Tasmania chief executive John Fitzgerald said the competition won by Mr Strange was a first. And had people exploring the entire state trying to solve the puzzle on the virtual map.

"I'm pretty sure this has never been done before," he said.

Brian Ritchie said in the modern world most of us can count our friends on the fingers of both hands. But Mr Strange is going to need 30 hands to fill up his winning Air Mofo flight.

Map Tim Strange used to help solve the puzzle.

Map Tim Strange used to help solve the puzzle.

Fast Facts:

  • Air Mofo will fly from Melbourne or Sydney and is set to land in Launceston on Friday 17 January to kick off the main festival weekend.
  • Mona Foma will take over Launceston from 11-19 January, 2020.
  • Air Mofo is a partnership between Mona Foma and Tourism Tasmania.
  • Mona Foma is supported by the Tasmanian Government through Events Tasmania.
  • Mona Foma is a festival by Mona, the Museum of Old and New Art, in Tasmania. It's a high-summer celebration of music, art, performance and hedonism.
  • Mona Foma is curated by Brian Ritchie who hails from the Violent Femmes.
  • It used to be in Hobart and at Mona, but now it's in Launceston.
  • Most of the action is at the Festival Hub in Inveresk.

Subscribe to our newsletters

This story Woonona man gets to fly 149 mates to Tasmania after winning tourism comp first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.