Hobart Happenings November 2021
by Stephanie Williams
A North Hobart favourite for Vietnamese, Saigon Express has opened a new store in Kingston (Shop 10, Coles Complex, Kingston Plaza, Channel Highway, Kingston) serving up their delicious Vietnamese classics/fried chicken/fast food mash up menu. Feel like dinner AND a movie while you’re out? The Scene (15 Hunter Street, Hobart, below Zero Davey) has got you covered. It’s a movie-themed venue serving burgers, fancy spaghetti (like house favourite salted duck egg spaghetti) and waffle fries, and showcasing both classic and contemporary films. You can even hire the whole space for a group. Love Dave’s Noodles? Well now you can get them hot and fresh in Glenorchy (443B Main Rd, Glenorchy) or order them via the Easi delivery app. Zelda’s Bar and Bistro (1661 Midlands Highway, Bagdad) has opened at the Bagdad Community Club and are already garnering local love for their big schnitties and pub fare. Elizabeth 285 (8/285 Elizabeth St, North Hobart) has reopened after a renovation of their dining and function room, with a new menu featuring their most popular dishes and a few new offerings.
MORE HOMES TO BE BUILT IN HUNTINGFIELD…BUT NOT EVERYONE IS HAPPY ABOUT IT
The Kingborough Council recently approved Stage 1 of the Huntingfield subdivision near Kingston, with 200 new homes on the way. The project will provide a range of lot sizes, from town house size to low density residential, with an average lot size of 450 square metres. A minimum of 15 per cent will be made available for social and affordable housing options. Out of the 67 hectares available, 33 hectares will be set aside for public recreation, green space and the protection of natural and cultural values in the area. Despite this reported increase in amenity, local residents have taken to social media to voice their concerns about over development of their suburb. Early works to build a new roundabout from the subdivision to the Channel Highway will start in early 2022.
PUT YOUR TWO CENTS WORTH IN ON HOBART’S PRECINCT PLAN
The City of Hobart wants to know what you think the CBD and adjoining urban neighbourhoods should look like in the future. Council has released its Central Hobart Precincts Plan Discussion Paper, which ponders topics related to Central Hobart’s land use, built form, public realm, connectivity and investment. Over the next few months, the City will be talking to a wide range of stakeholders, from homeowners and retailers to developers and investors, to gather ideas and opinions of the concept. Once that info has been received, and evaluated, they’ll develop the draft Central Hobart Precincts Plan, which will be released for further community engagement in 2022. Public consultation on the discussion paper is open now via the City of Hobart’s YourSay website (yoursay.hobartcity.com.au). You can contribute feedback through an online survey, or attend one of three in-person workshops on November 15 or 16. You can also upload a formal submission on behalf of an organisation. The engagement period for this stage will close 5pm, Friday 10 December.
MONA + CENTACARE + BRIGHTON TEAM UP FOR NEW GAGEBROOK COMMUNITY SPACE
MONA have partnered with Centacare Evolve Housing and Brighton Council to create a new community space in Gagebrook, alongside a big upgrade of the park facilities. The Cris Fitzpatrick Park, on Tottenham Road, will get a major overhaul, including the installation of the Bond Place Classroom: MONA’s architecturally-designed, free community space offering a permanent undercover, weather-proof classroom. It’s hoped it will be well loved for community activities, meals, events and classes. Brighton Mayor, Leigh Gray, said the project would dramatically improve mobility for Gagebrook and Herdsmans Cove residents while delivering fantastic new park facilities. Mr Gray said it was in line with the council’s 2050 vision, which identified the importance of “building strong positive relationships, partnerships and collaborations in creating a better future for our community.”
ARE LONG HAUL POOS THE SECRET TO COVID SAFETY?
CSIRO boffins have analysed wastewater samples from long haul flights to prove signals of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be detected before passengers show any symptoms. CSIRO lead author Dr Warish Ahmed said as global travel returns, wastewater testing of flights can be an effective way to screen incoming passengers for COVID-19 at points of entry. “It provides an extra layer of data, if there is a possible lag in viral detection in deep nasal and throat samples and if passengers are yet to show symptoms,” Dr Ahmed said. “The rapid on-site surveillance of wastewater at points of entry may be effective for detecting and monitoring other infectious agents that are circulating globally and provide alert to future pandemics.” It might be a handy (s)tool to have up our sleeves as we reopen to the mainland and to overseas visitors.
VALE TOM SAMEK
We lost a generous, quirky and witty Hobart artist last month when Tom Samek died, aged 71. Born in Prague in 1950 and arriving in Tassie in the 70s, Samek was responsible for some of Hobart’s best loved public works of art, including the floor mural Flawed History of Tasmanian Wine which is in a gallery above the tasting room at the Meadowbank Estate winery and restaurant. He also created the RACT Mural in the foyer of the RACT building in Hobart, and two murals at the University of Tasmania’s School of Engineering. Much of his art represented his passion for good food and wine – he also ran and worked in various restaurants. His work is represented in the Australian National Gallery, South Australian Art Gallery, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Auckland City Gallery, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Australia Council, and Artbank. Our thoughts are with his family, his friends and the close-knit Tasmanian art community. Vale Tom Samek.
SPEED CAMERAS ON THE WAY FOR TASMANIAN ROADS
In May we reported that there were only ten permanent speed cameras operating across the entire state. Tasmania Police used to have a fleet of mobile speed cameras that they’d use at various locations across the state’s hotspots, but that stopped in 2015. Things have recently progressed and tenders were called on September 11 for a contemporary mobile road safety camera program that will see an initial eight cameras on our roads, allowing for expansion to 16 cameras and functionalities such as detection of dangerous mobile phone use and not wearing seat belts.
“This technology is vital in reducing high-risk driving behaviours,” Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson shared with us. “The implementation of an enhanced automated enforcement program is a critical deliverable in achieving the primary target under the Tasmanian Road Safety Strategy 2017-2026 of fewer than 200 serious casualties annually by 2026. The new mobile cameras will complement the existing 10 fixed speed cameras currently operating around Tasmania. It is a deterrence and education through enforcement; and I look forward to the support of the RACT and opposition parties in our efforts to reduce road trauma,” he said.
In 2020 we lost 36 lives on our roads, with speed generally contributing to a third of all Tasmanian crashes that result in serious casualty or death. We average 270 serious injuries as a result of road accidents each year. Throwing all the tactics we can think of at the problem to get those numbers down can only be a good move.
VINTAGE PINNACLE ROAD RAILS TO BE REPLACED
The truly vintage road rails along Pinnacle Rd, heading up the mountain, are currently being replaced to meet Australian safety standards. It’s no surprise they need a little upgrade – they are the original posts and ropes that were installed in the 1930s – so they’re nearly 100 years old! The state government had the road built in response to the high unemployment of the Great Depression. It took nearly three years to build and opened in January 1937. Work on the new rails is underway now, and is expected to take five to six weeks but, as with so many things in Hobart, the work is weather-dependent. The antique posts and ropes will be removed with care and re-used in another project.
EAT + LEARN ABOUT HOBART’S DARK SKIES
Interview: Sarah Aitken
A new series of monthly candlelit dinners gives locals a chance to truly appreciate the Hobart night sky. Chef Luke Burgess, Beaker Street and Dark Sky Tasmania are holding the intimate events – on full moon nights – perched high above the city on the roof of Burgess’ seven and a half restaurant. Each month diners will be graced with a different guest speaker. But what is Dark Sky Tasmania? We caught up with Dark Sky Tasmania’s President, Landon Bannister, to find out more.
What is Dark Sky Tasmania? It’s a not-for-profit association set up to preserve and protect Tasmania’s beautiful dark sky asset.
Why is it important to preserve our night skies? Firstly, preserving our night skies means reducing light pollution. Light pollution is trying to escape our planet, getting caught in our atmosphere and causing a phenomena known as sky glow. This is the glow you see above Hobart from surrounding areas and this is what is blocking our view of the stars. From a cultural and heritage point of view, the stars have been part of our lives for every single civilisation up until now. When we think about how ingrained the stars have been throughout history we talk about everything from religion to navigation and even art – it was Vincent van Gogh who said “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” And the thought of losing that ability to dream, or even to realise how small we are in the universe, should worry us all. Our First Nations Australians, who consider the stars and land as one, are recognised as the world’s first astronomers, with knowledge spanning back over 65,000 years.
From an ecological point of view we are yet to study the effects of light pollution on a single species of wildlife that hasn’t shown negative impact in one way or another. We’ve seen examples of this impact here in Hobart in recent years too, with migrating Shearwaters being trapped in the light pollution of the Tasman Bridge with over 200 injured birds being taken to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in one evening. There are also associated issues with light pollution and human health. Like much of the wildlife, we too are diurnal and have evolved with a day-night cycle. Finally, in preserving our night sky there is the added bonus of reducing waste.
The Dark Sky movement isn’t about no lighting, it’s simply about responsible lighting – removing inappropriate and excessive light from our planet. We estimate, conservatively, that over 30% of the artificial light at night (ALAN) that we generate is wasted. Now, when you consider that ALAN is responsible for roughly 20% of Australia’s daily energy use you can imagine how much greenhouse gasses are produced for the sake of absolutely zero benefit each day.
What’s the light pollution like in Hobart? Hobart does have light pollution, plenty in fact, with its skies classified as ‘bright suburban’ under the Bortle scale. What’s interesting about seven and a half is you can literally look out and see a fantastic moon rise, the good and bad of Hobart’s skies, and the good and bad of light pollution.
Join a Dark Sky Moonlighting dinner event. The next will be on November 19. More info on Instagram @darkskytasmania or via lukeburgess.com.au.
COULD FERN TREE WATER BE THE WORLD’S BEST?
Each year water treatment plants from across Tasmania are taste tested, with the top three being submitted to vie for the best drop in the WIOA (Water Industry Operators Association of Australia) Ixom Best Tasting Tap Water competition. This year there are three finalists in Tassie’s local comp, with Hobart’s Fern Tree vying for top spot, alongside tough competition from the Central Highland’s Bronte Park and the Huon Valley’s Rocky Creek. TasWater Laboratory Coordinator Jeremy Verdouw was one of the water taste testers. “When sampling the water from the Fern Tree pump station, it tasted really pure with a nice hint of sweetness to it,” he said. “Overall just a fantastic drop!” Water Process Advisor Tony Grueber who has worked helping to oversee the pump station among others for over 20 years, said the water at Fern Tree was great quality. “The raw water comes from the south west side of Mount Wellington through seventeen intake points connected to the North West Bay pipeline.,” he said. The state winner of the Ixom Best Tasting Tap Water competition will be announced on 16 November.
FUTURE HOBART WALKING TOUR
In preparation for community workshops for the Central Hobart Precinct Plan mentioned earlier in the mag, you can participate in a speculative city walk-around to learn more about important Hobart sites, issues and ideas in the plan. Join City of Hobart urban designers for a wild ride through central Hobart – in conjunction with Open houseHobart. Pre-booked tours will be on 13 November.
HOBART HAS A NEW MAYOR!
No, Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds hasn’t gone anywhere, but we do have a new Children’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Alexander Johnstone from Lansdowne Crescent is our new mini mayor, with Edie Tracey nabbing the deputy position. The two students submitted standout entries in the city-wide call for manifestos on what they’d do if they were Lord Mayor of Hobart. Alexander’s manifesto Saving the Earth on Two Wheels! encouraged a greater focus on active transport. “I propose the creation of electric bike stations situated around town,” he said. “This would encourage people to stop using their cars. It would be free if people returned it by 6pm.” Edie’s manifesto was titled Hobart 360: Closing the Loop. She proposed tackling the growing problem of recycling soft plastics. The new mayor and deputy mayor will hold their positions for all of November and will present their manifestos at the Council meeting on 8 November.
Picture above L-R: Ollie McDonald of Fahan School (highly commended); Meg Seaber Groom of Sandy Bay Infants School (highly commended), and Edie Tracey of Lenah Valley Primary School (Deputy Children’s Mayor). Mayor Alexander was there via Zoom.
DIRTY DERWENT IN $818,000 TRIAL
The River Derwent catchment provides around 60% of greater Hobart’s drinking water, so it was worrying when monitoring showed signs that water quality had declined over the last 20 years. Now, new funding will boost our understanding of river water quality with a trial of real-time water quality analysers at six spots in the Derwent. Ursula Taylor, CEO of the Derwent Estuary Program (DEP), said lots of factors contributed to the Derwent’s health. “Like many catchments, there have been changes in land use, industrial use of freshwater and along with climate change, this has contributed to changes in water quality,” said Ms Taylor. She said there was very limited data on the catchment. “The new analyser technology will measure nutrients as they have the potential to cause undesirable excessive algal growth including toxic algal blooms. Data we collect in this new trial will be available to organisations such as TasWater to assist them to continue to provide good quality drinking water.” Ms Taylor also said regular folk like you and I could help keep the river healthy with little effort. “It’s the small things, such as picking up after our dogs, collecting litter, choosing to use less packaging, disposing of chemicals at a waste management centre instead down stormwater drains, or volunteering with a Landcare or Coastcare group to restore the natural environment,” she said. “Every little bit counts, and lots of little actions add up to a healthier river.” The Derwent Estuary Program has been awarded $246,000 from The Ian Potter Foundation towards a $818,000 three-year trial to improve water quality monitoring in the River Derwent catchment. Funding is also provided by the DEP, EPA Tasmania, TasWater, Hydro Tasmania and Meadowbank Vineyard. The 2018 catchment water quality report is available on the DEP website www. derwentestuary.org.au/publications.
LOOKING AHEAD TO ANOTHER 25 YEARS SUPPORTING STROKE SURVIVORS IN TASMANIA
October marked the 25th anniversary of Stroke Foundation – the only national organisation focused on stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery for all Australians. This is critical here in Tasmania, where 665 people experienced a stroke for the first-time last year, and where 11,000 people are already living with the impact of stroke. Stroke Foundation’s State Manager for Tasmania, Eamonn O’Toole, said the organisation provides access to a range of services for people impacted by stroke and wants to educate on how to recognise stroke is happening. “It starts with knowing the F.A.S.T message as that knowledge genuinely saves lives. To make sure as many Australians as possible learn what it means, we provide that message in Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Arabic, Cantonese, Hindi and Korean on our website,” Mr O’Toole said.
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, thinking F.A.S.T involves asking these simple questions:
Face. Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms. Can they lift both arms?
Speech. Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time is critical. If you see any of these signs call triple zero (000) immediately.
BEWARE! THERE’S A SPIKE IN THE NORTHERN SUBURBS
Get ready Hobart, Cactasmania is back! It’s the biggest cactus and succulent event in Tassie and this year is being held from 27 – 28 November at the Claremont Memorial Hall. Stan Walker from the Claremont Flower Show Group shared with us, that “with the hall booked out with specialist growers from around the state and competitions in a number of classes for the general public, we’re expecting record patrons to attend, albeit under the current covid instructions as per the state health department.” Entry is by gold coin donation and the show is open from 10am – 5pm on the Saturday and from 9am – 3pm on the Sunday.
NET ZERO THE TALK OF THE TOWN
With Scott Morrison visiting Glasgow to talk Net Zero here’s a round up of what’s happening locally. Brighton Council has set itself a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with a 30 per reduction on 2021 emissions by 2030. Mayor Leigh Gray said the community clearly wanted strong action and leadership on climate change. He also said the actions they’d already taken on climate change had saved them money, which is a nice bonus when you’re trying to avoid mass extinction and apocalypse. Mayor Gray also said reducing waste to landfill remained one of the biggest challenges, representing 97% of greenhouse gas emissions from Council’s services.
The City of Hobart is in the process of assessing its strategies and politics in regards to climate change – searching for ways they can be strengthened to help meet the state government’s target. Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds moved the motion in response to the Tasmanian Premier’s plan to introduce a target of zero net emissions by 2030. “Over the coming months, the state government will develop legislation and support the development of emissions reduction and resilience plans for key sectors,” Cr Reynolds said. “This will include sectors generating emissions that operate from the City of Hobart or are emissions that are influenced in part by decisions made by local government.”
The University of Tasmania has released a discussion paper on options for a climate-positive Tasmania. The paper welcomes the Tasmanian Government’s proposed target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 and beyond, but also highlights that we’ll need significant emissions cuts from key sectors such as transport, agriculture and industry to meet this target and prepare the Tasmanian economy for a low carbon future. Professor Richard Eccleston, one of the primary authors of the university-wide collaboration, summarised the challenge: “It’s important to understand that we will have to achieve significant emissions reduction across the Tasmanian economy over the next decade to ensure that Tasmania maintains its current net-negative emissions status to 2030 and beyond,” Prof Eccleston said. “Decarbonising the Tasmanian economy will require fundamental changes to how we live and how our industries operate, but with our renewable energy assets, expertise and commitment to climate action, we are well placed to meet this challenge in a way that benefits the economy, the Tasmanian community and the planet,” he said.
BE ALERT SCAMMERS ABOUT
Tasmania Police have reminded us to be alert for scams when using online buy and sell sites – unfortunately not all buyers are legitimate. Police are aware of a recent scam on online buy and sell sites where an item is offered for sale, a person offers to buy the item and provides a screenshot of a bank transfer for payment, the buyer then requests the seller deliver the goods to them and the seller delivers the goods. But the kicker…the bank transfer is fake and the money is never paid. Please be vigilant when buying online and ensure you receive payment before ever handing over your belongings. For more information about recognising, avoiding and reporting scams visit the Scamwatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au.
CUTE BIRD ALERT! 40 SPOTTED PARDALOTES SAVED FROM PARASITES
A rescue mission led by ANU researcher Fernanda Alves was underway recently in Kingborough to save endangered 40 Spotted Pardalotes. Fernanda discovered the birds were being killed by parasitic flies laying eggs in the nests of the pardalote and as a result she developed a feather dispenser for the birds to build their nests to remove the flies. She also enlisted the help of Kingborough’s natural areas interpretation officer, Bridget Jupe and the Blackmans Bay Scouts and more than 100 dispensers were built before nesting season.
HOBART MAN AMONG PRESTIGIOUS AGRI SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
Australian agriculture’s best and brightest have been awarded prestigious Nuffield Scholarships, with two Tasmanians featuring on the winners list. Recipients will study topics as diverse as carbon sequestration and accounting, to drones and Australian native foods, and will each travel in Australia and overseas to research innovative concepts, techniques and systems that will make a positive impact on their businesses and the broader agricultural industry. Max Edgley from Kingston will study the opportunities for medicinal cannabis producers in Australia to build a sustainable future for the industry. Colette Glazik from Ross will research fairer ways to audit the greenhouse gas emissions from wool production in Australia. Thanks to the generous support of investors, each 2022 Nuffield Scholar receives a $30,000 bursary to spend on travel in the next few years.
BRAIN INJURY CARDS ON THEIR WAY
Cards featuring key information about a person living with brain injury – including their disability-related difficulties and ways they can be assisted – are on their way. The National Assistance Card will be available to all people in Australia living with brain injury. They will help brain-injured people convey their condition if they become distressed, overwhelmed, or disoriented in public settings. Brain injury is often called the “invisible injury”, as externally, the person may look fine, but in reality they’re living with a hidden disability. Mark Acheson from the Brain Injury Association of Tasmania told us that they’d already received over 400 local expressions of interest in the cards. The cards will be officially launched in Hobart on 1 December – see www.biat.org.au for more information.
EXTRA TASSIE AMBOS TO JOIN IN DECEMBER
Our struggling paramedic teams will be given a small reprieve in December, when 24 new paramedics are added across Hobart and Launceston. The state government has also allocated funding for another 24 paramedics to be posted to regional areas including Bruny Island and New Norfolk in the future. In 2020-21, the total number of ambulance responses was 101,800, which was an increase of more than 8,000 from the previous year.
MARIST REGIONAL COLLEGE GIRLS REPORT DEMEANING SKIRT CHECKS
Words: Stephanie Williams
Year eight female students at Burnie’s Marist Regional College were recently asked by teachers to kneel on the floor to have the length of their school skirts inspected to make sure they weren’t too short. At the time The Advocate newspaper reported that a statement was made at the time to the girls by one of the teachers that short skirts were distracting for male teachers and/or other male students.
WTF? There’s a bit to unpack here. In this day and age, making a student kneel in front of a teacher, for any reason, is just wrong. Add to that why the skirts were even being measured. ABC reported that the Principal, Gregg Sharman, said the school had a guide to dress and skirt length in the college’s uniform and presentation policy. “There’s a subjective guide to dress and skirt length being a hand’s width from the knee, so that’s a guide in the policy itself,” he said. If there was an issue with skirts being too short for the school’s policy, a conversation with parents and children should be the first step, not a line up. It also sends a message to the male students that this is acceptable.
If a teacher is distracted by a 14 year old girl’s skirt length then perhaps they should not be in a position of teaching children. Laying the blame on a skirt is akin to laying the blame for a woman being assaulted on her being out late, or alone, or wearing the wrong clothes, or any manner of reason that shifts the blame from the perpetrator to the victim.
This time last year, we were preparing a story featuring Grace Tame. It was just before she was deservedly named Australian of the Year for her work on the #LetHerSpeak campaign and with survivors of sexual assault. Her important work this year has made space for other survivors to come forward with their own stories, and created opportunities for learning and discussion. But almost a year on, we’re witnessing incidents like this at Marist.
Tarang Chawla is an anti-violence campaigner from Melbourne, who lost his sister Nikita Chawla when she was murdered by her male partner when she was 23. In response to this Marist incident, Tarang shared with his large social media audience, “This is yet another example of how puritanical culture dictates this notion that what women wear is somehow cause for male behaviour. News flash: It’s not. What a woman, or girl, wears is not responsible for the actions of boys and men. Disappointment doesn’t cut it anymore. We need to do the work so that we don’t raise yet another generation of boys who grow up to have entitled attitudes towards women.”
Discrimination on the basis of gender is unlawful. Sarah Bolt, Tasmania’s Anti- Discrimination Commissioner shared with us that, “discriminatory behaviours and actions impact negatively upon individual and community wellbeing generally. Regulating how women should dress to avoid unwelcome sexual attention and sexual harassment increases the risk of perpetuating a victim-blaming culture. This type of conduct undermines social progression and gender equity.”