The Hobart

Hobart Happenings September 2021

by Stephanie Williams
Hobart Happenings September 2021


The team from Belles have been busy. Belle’s Pizzeria in South Hobart has closed and reopened as Lupin Wine Bar and Snacks (4 Cascade Rd, South Hobart). They’re also popping up in the old Lazenby’s site at UTAS, serving Belles Burgers and brekky Monday to Friday from 8am. The Welcome Swallow (99 Ring Road, New Norfolk) is a micro brewery in New Norfolk and their taproom is now open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Angie Sue (534 S Arm Rd, Lauderdale) adds to the Lauderdale strip, serving all day brunch and small plates from Tuesday to Sunday. Keep an eye out for when they expand into wood fired pizzas and a dinner menu. Somewhere Coffee Bar (5/118 Elizabeth Street, Hobart) is a light and bright new coffee space in Midtown. Penny’s Bakery (Shop 53, The Cat & Fiddle Arcade, Hobart) has emerged in the ex-Shotgun site serving coffee, hot pies, cakes and pastries. Luke Burgess has opened bookings for Seven and a Half, a new fancy pants option for lunch. “It’s situated on a building somewhere between the 7th and 8th floors. It’s a shared table for 10 guests and will serve a leisurely Sunday lunch to begin with and during the course of the year other events will be added,” Luke shared. Caffe Allegro (112 Murray Street, Hobart) has opened where Pilgrim Pies was previously, at the entrance to the Hanging Garden, serving Italian cakes, coffee, pastries, sandwiches and cannoli. The Hobart Coffee Roasters Franklin Wharf Chapter (1/1 Franklin Wharf, Hobart) is now open in the ex-Cafe Lola site. If traditional Kyushu ramen, with that deliciously creamy pork bone broth, is what you’re after, head to Iroyuki Ramen Bar (Shop 5, 14 Channel Highway, Kingston). Or if burgers are more your thing, try Boss Burgers (Channel Court Shopping Centre, Shop 58.2, 29 Channel Hwy, Kingston), a Victorian burger chain that has expanded here with their first Tassie location. The team from Sash in Sandy Bay have relocated and opened Wide Awake Coffee (217 Elizabeth St North Hobart). PLUK (18 Bruny Island Main Rd, Dennes Point), a new little store on Bruny Island filled with art, photography and ceramics, opens this month. Back in town, check out the homewares at Habeo (113 Hampden Road, Battery Point), with a focus on Australian brands and sustainable products. Songbird Collection (Shop 1, 1726 Channel Highway, Margate) recently opened their first store, for lovers of birds and beautiful things. And in big developments for the performing arts in Hobart, the $110 million Hedberg Complex incorporating the Theatre Royal opened recently, designed by Hobart’s internationally renowned Liminal Studio.


A recent pilot program providing lunch to school kids has been extended to include 15 schools next year, with 15 more being added in 2023. The Food For Thought program was developed to help kids who go without nutritious and filling meals, so that they can concentrate and learn at school. Priority has been given to schools in areas of most need. The greater Hobart schools included for 2022 are: Gagebrook Primary School, Herdsmans Cove Primary School, Rokeby Primary School, Austins Ferry Primary School, Warrane Primary School and Sorell Primary School.

Songbird Collection now open


Tracks at the Clarence Mountain Bike Park have been refurbished and are now open to the public. The Black Diamond Downhill Track now has enhanced drops, reshaped corners with bigger berms and additional features and ride lines. The Blue Square Dinosaur Descent, an intermediate run, has had drainage ruts repairs and corners improved.

New trails at Clarence. Pic: Flow Mountain Bike

LOSE THE FLARES Got some dangerous, out-of-date flares tucked away somewhere? For once we are not talking about pants (though those flares can be dangerous on the dance floor too). We mean the bright, flashy, explodey variety. Boat owners can now safely dispose of that kind of flare at local council waste management sites. In the south that includes Mornington Park Waste Transfer Station, Glenorchy’s Jackson Street Waste Management Centre, South Hobart’s McRobies Gully Waste Management Centre, Southbridge Waste Transfer Station in Huonville, Kingborough Waste Services and Orford Waste Transfer Station.


Hobart continues to cement its place as a home of arts and culture with the opening of a whole new performing arts precinct, The Hedberg Complex, on the corner of Campbell St and Collins St. Mixing the old with the new, it incorporates the Theatre Royal (including improvements to the historic theatre and the new Studio Theatre) and a new home for the University of Tasmania’s Conservatorium of Music. Designed by Hobart-based LIMINAL architecture studio, the development cost $110 million. The centre is a partnership between the University of Tasmania, and the Federal and state governments.

Hedberg Complex


Social enterprise Good Car Co, which organises bulk buys of electric vehicles, have now sold more electric cars in Tasmania than Tesla. Last month, after their most recent bulk buy, the group said they’d then sold 280 vehicles in Tasmania. The news came in the same week that Peter Gutwein, Tasmanian Premier and Minister for Climate Change, announced a new round of the Electric Vehicle ChargeSmart Grants program, with $600,000 available to fund the installation of charging stations in regional Tasmania and top tourism spots. “Tasmania is ideally suited to benefit from a growing electric vehicle market,” said Premier Gutwein. “When powered by our locally-produced renewable energy, electric vehicles can be cheaper to run, reduce transport emissions and improve air quality.” The state government is transitioning its fleet to electric vehicles by 2030. They’ve also put in place a two-year stamp duty waiver for electric vehicles and two-year free registration for hire car companies that purchase an electric vehicle. With cars over $45,000 attracting a 4% stamp duty, thats a decent saving.


A much-wanted aquatic centre in Kingston is too expensive for Kingborough Council to build by themselves. Kingborough Mayor, Paula Wriedt, said Council supports the idea but can only afford it with State and Federal funding. A recent feasibility study – outsourced by Council – found a proposed aquatic centre at the Kingborough Sports Precinct site would cost $40.5 million, with another $4.5million required to relocate some of the existing sport clubs in the precinct. That equates to about 2-3 times the Council’s annual capital works budget. The study also predicted the centre would cost upwards of $700 000 per year to run, and that high-quality Aquatic Centres with a 50m pool generally require a population base of at least 100,000. Kingborough currently has a population of approximately 37,000. “Council acknowledged that it is unable to construct an aquatic centre of this size within its existing budget,” Mayor Wriedt said. “Council resolved to lobby the State and Federal Governments for funding and look at this issue from a regional perspective.”


Did you know Tasmania’s libraries offer a home library service for those who cannot get to the library in person? Thanks to some wonderful volunteers, the Libraries Tasmania Home Library Service is a free way for homebound residents and carers to maintain a connection with all that the library offers. It is available to a wide range of people including those with illness or disability, their carers, those in aged care facilities and people in hospital. Contact your local library to register or find out more.


Wastewater samples taken during 2020 show that methamphetamine (ice) use plunged in Australia during the first COVID-19 lockdown while cannabis use spiked, according to a new study led by the University of South Australia.


The Clarence Climate Action Community Expo program is chockablock full of interesting speakers, environmental stallholders and family fun. See IMAS scientists talk about local climate change solutions, try out an electric bike, learn about investing ethically, and more. There will be kids craft, food and drinks and more at this free event on Saturday 18 September, 11am-2:30pm, at Citywide, 400 Cambridge Rd, Mornington.

Climate action in action. Pic: FB


Premier Peter Gutwein remains optimistic that we may well get an AFL team for Tasmania soon, but any decision will not be made until next year. Premier Gutwein recently held a discussion with the AFL (including Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan) and announced that they’d reached an agreement on the timeframe for a decision on the Tasmanian AFL licence. He said it will be made, “once and for all”, in 2022 in line with the finalisation of the funding model for the AFL industry for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. Tough talkin.

AFL Commissioner Colin Carter with Premier Gutwein in May. Pic: FB


The University of Tasmania is seeking established writers for the second Hedberg Writer in Residence program. The residency began last year with local author Robbie Arnott the first winner. The successful applicant receives $30,000 and is able to devote three months to writing in a quiet but stimulating environment on one of the University of Tasmania campuses. Applications are open now until 8 November, 2021, with the residency occurring in the first half of 2022. Eligible writers will need to have had one substantial work published by a recognised publishing house. For more information and to apply for the program visit


The Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service is running an Afghan appeal, with money raised going toward direct and free legal support in Tasmania to assist with a surge in demand for legal services amongst the local Afghan community. The TRLS refecntly received $50 000 in emergency funding from the Tasmanian Government but they still rely on donations to cover sudden increase in demand. “We already have more than 60 new clients who we have commenced assisting in the past two weeks,” said Donna Woodleigh, TRLS Migration Lawyer. TRLS has been supporting clients in multiple ways, she said. “We have worked with The Migrant Resource Centre to set up a major community information session, which was live streamed on our Facebook page, and we’ve had that presentation translated into three languages for the benefit of our client community. We have contacted all our existing onshore Afghan clients to update them on the situation and what we are doing on each case.” They are hoping to lodge over 50 family reunification visa applications in the next five weeks or so. Public donations greatly assist them in doing this work. “No matter how small, collectively those donations really can make a difference to those family members in Tasmania trying to support their families overseas fleeing persecution from the Taliban,” Ms Woodleigh said. To donate, head to You can also follow their progress on their Facebook page.

The recent free Afghanistan rally in Hobart


Spirit of Tasmania is relocating its Victorian operations from Station Pier, Port Melbourne to Corio Quay, north of Geelong. GeelongPort has partnered with Spirit of Tasmania to develop a dedicated passenger and freight terminal for Spirit of Tasmania’s vessels, with plans recently being released. The new 12-hectare site within GeelongPort’s Corio Quay precinct will include a passenger terminal building, a vehicle marshalling area for 600 cars, a parking area for 150 trucks, security facilities, public amenities, crew accommodation, a cafe, children’s play area and a pet exercise area. Construction of the new facilities will start in 2021 and will be operational by 2022.


Kingborough Council is the next local council to introduce FOGO bins, the small benchtop bins that hopefully encourage households to compost their food scraps. The plan is that the easy-to-use little bins will help divert organic matter from landfill (where it rots without oxygen, forming CO2), with householders instead transferring it to the green bins to be collected and added to the tip’s industrial compost system.7000 plastic FOGO bins will head out soon, but if you don’t want one, make sure you opt-out to avoid wasting resources (when the FOGO system was rolled out by Hobart City Council we saw numerous bins blow away into the streets, or turn up at the tip shop!). To opt out, complete the online opt-out form on Council’s website at or visit the Council Civic Centre in Kingston to complete the form.


Public consultation is now open for major projects designed to ease traffic congestion on the Southern Outlet and Davey and Macquarie Streets. The Southern Outlet is at capacity most mornings during the peak period, and with Kingston and the Huon Valley regions both experiencing strong and ongoing regional growth, it is only getting worse. The plans – known as the Hobart City Deal – include an extra lane on the Southern Outlet (from Olinda Grove) through the Davey/Macquarie Streets bottleneck and through to Macquarie Street. The extra lane would be exclusively for buses, emergency vehicles, motorbikes, taxis and private vehicles with three or more occupants. To encourage carpooling and bus use there will be new park and ride facilities at Huntingfield and Firthside, and up to 70 extra bus services and improved bus stops. A new bike lane along Davey Street would give cyclists a safer option for commuting. Community consultation on the concept designs for the transit lane and Macquarie and Davey Street projects will take place until Monday 27 September. You can view the designs and have your say by visiting the Transport website,

The proposed new Spirit Terminal in Geelong


One of Hobart’s live gig venues – The Goods Shed at Mac Point – is on the market for a long-term lease for the first time. It’s hosted gigs, exhibitions, theatre and food markets, but the Mac Point board are hoping the new operators will open it up beyond the weekends. “Built in 1914 and consisting of heritage values, it is our intention for The Goods Shed to remain in public hands. However, we want to find a suitable operator to take on a long-term lease of the building,” Mary Massina, Mac Point CEO said. “What Mac Point is really excited to see from this process will be what each applicant has planned for the site and how they would activate this space beyond events on weekends to become a destination used daily by the public.” Contact Knight Frank Tasmania to submit a proposal. Submissions close on 1 October 2021.


Part of Hobart’s beauty is the abundance of heritage buildings that have survived gentrification. Heritage grants are now available to help preserve these buildings for the future, offering financial assistance for owners of heritage-listed properties to make repairs, do important maintenance and share their property’s story with the community. In this grant round, grants of up to $10,000 can be accessed to fund up to one-third of project costs. Apply by 5pm Monday 18 October. Find out more at


Do your kids have burning questions about climate change? If they do, and they’re in grades five through to 12, they can have them answered by the experts… scientists. The Curious Climate Schools program is bringing UTAS scientists – including IPCC report lead authors – into classrooms and online to answer kids’ big questions about climate change. Teachers (including home educators) are asked to register their classes online by 17 September, and upload the students’ questions by 24 September. Climate experts will respond to student questions in time for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) on November 1-12. To register and find out more, visit


If you’ve ever tried to get a speech pathology appointment in Hobart, then this is exciting news! A new local Speech Pathology degree will hopefully help ease the dire shortage of speech pathologists across Tasmania. The University of Tasmania has launched a postgraduate program as part of its Allied Health Expansion Program, including a Master of Speech Pathology. There is currently no speech pathology degree available in Tasmania. Kathryn Fordyce, Tasmanian branch chair of Speech Pathology Australia, said speech pathologists offered vital services to patients of all ages, but that Tasmania did not have enough of them. “We’ve seen increasing demand for speech pathology services across the state and difficulties with the recruitment and retention of speech pathologists,” she said. Students will participate in work-based learning in health care facilities, schools, disability services and private practices. The Master of Speech Pathology will be available for entry in August, 2022, along with plans for a Master of Occupational Therapy.


Hobart actor Aimee Butler made it through the regional finals of the World Monologue Games – a competition born in last year’s lockdowns – and will now compete in the next round, on September 10-12. The World Monologue Games was set up by Aussie Pete Malicki, who wanted a lockdown-friendly platform for performers. Aimee will perform a monologue about Catholic Nun Sister Mary, and you can watch it, live streamed, from the comfort of your couch:


What would you do if your kinder child’s classroom was outside. Not in a ‘bush kinder’ kind of way, but a “we don’t have space, so your option is to sit outside in a locker area” kind of way. This is the situation that parents and kids at South Hobart Primary School have found themselves in, with no end in sight. Plus twenty other Tasmanian schools are on the same Priority One list, with numerous going unfunded in the latest budget.

Last year the students at SHPS lost their library space as it was converted into two classrooms to accommodate extra students, and this year the kindergarten classes are juggling 60 students in two small classrooms that were converted from one classroom. A third time kinder parent Jo*, shared that it’s been a very different experience this year compared to that of her eldest son ve years ago. “It feels like a zoo. On Wednesdays, there are about 60 kids spread out across two very small classrooms. My four year old often cries when I leave him. I think the chaotic environment is partly to blame,” Jo shared. “He is then decanted out to the drama room, PE hall, art space, etc all day because there is no classroom space for him. This is exhausting for a four year old, especially during winter.”

For three years the school has restricted enrolments to the local catchment area only, but with student numbers doubling in the past 10 years, future growth projections mean SHPS are on track to also lose the music room and gym within the next two to three years. This situation is on the increase at other inner city schools too. Anna Powell, chair of the SHPS Association has been working in collaboration with the school leadership and Department of Education to address this issue. “We have welcomed the Department commencing a new Master Plan for the school and understood that SHPS was a Priority One classification for capital works funding in 2021/22. There are approximately 20 other schools on the Priority One list.” Anna says the SHPS Association is deeply concerned that they have young students who are starting out their school years in in- adequate learning facilities. “To have 4 and 5 year olds learning in an outdoor locker area in the middle of a Tasmanian winter is unacceptable.” Anna emphasises that while the school leadership and teachers are doing an outstanding job of keeping the school running under these conditions, the Tasmanian government needs to do more. ”The impact of the government’s poor planning and a lack of investment in the school facilities over the last four years is directly impacting the learning and wellbeing of our students. Our ask was that the Master Plan be funded in the recent August budget – and we pushed the Department to have the Master Plan ready and costed by August.” In the latest budget, SHPS was overlooked, despite being a Priority One school for funding, alongside other schools on that list. “The school is over capacity already, another year of waiting for funding means that the kinders now will not have adequate facilities for learning until they are in grade three or later – half way through their primary schooling,” Anna said.

Sarah Courtney, Minister for Education, was approached for comment. A spokesperson shared that the South Hobart Primary School has been listed as a priority site for capital investment and the Department of Education is working with the Principal and School Association. “A Master Plan has been developed and will provide a purpose-built library space and increase the school’s capacity to 575 students, and a capital works submission will now be prepared for consideration in future Budgets.” But the timeframe for when this school will be funded has not been specified, and many other schools also lie in wait for funding. “We will continue to work with the Principal to provide support to ensure the needs of the school and its students continue to be met. This includes the provision of additional temporary space for the start of the 2022 school year should it be required.” Let’s hope that’s enough to keep the kinder kids in from the cold while they wait for funding. * Not her real name. Is your school bursting at the seams? Share at

The outdoor kinder area


Artists needing a leg-up to get back on their feet in the fickle, pandemic-stricken gig economy can now apply for grants of between $500 and $2,000 under the new Creative Support Small Grants Fund. The grants can cover activities relevant to their artistic practice, including the hiring or purchasing of equipment, lessons or workshops, engaging a mentor or hiring a studio or venue. The Creative Support Small Grants Fund is open to all Tasmanian artists or groups with Tasmanian members. Applications close on 11 October 2021. Head to for more.


Nominations for the Kingborough Awards are open for the categories: Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and for the Community Group of the Year. The Kingborough Awards honour people who make a real difference in a wide variety of ways. Nominations close at midnight on Monday 11 October, via the council website.


We’re teaming up with Terrapin Puppet Theatre to offer a family ticket for four people to experience their new show, A Not So Traditional Story, by Nathan Maynard, plus two tickets to Shadow Play, a workshop with Terrapin at TMAG. Once upon a time two kids, Wurangkili (who is keen on adventure) and Timita (who takes a bit of convincing), are crashed upon by an alien from a faraway land. They embark on an epic quest across the island of lutruwita in search of the ‘oldest of old elders’, meeting up with some hilarious and unique friends along the way. It’s a beautiful and funny production by Terrapin, using masks, shadow puppetry and physical theatre to tell an important story of culture, identity, bravery and friendship. To enter, you just need to like both the Terrapin Puppet Theatre and The Hobart Magazine Facebook pages and tag who you’d like to take along to the show on the official competition post on our Facebook page. A Not So Traditional Story is on at Theatre Royal, Hobart, 7-9 October 2021.

Pic: Bryony Jackson


Work will commence soon on a new park and playground at Blossom Crescent park in Cambridge. There will be a bird’s nest swing, in-ground trampoline, swings, mini soccer goals and large play equipment unit for kids of all ages. The plans were partly inspired by the suggestions of students at Cambridge Primary School who used drawing and modelling to present their incredible ideas for playground equipment and layouts. We look forward to trying it out when it’s open.

Proposed big kids play tower. Pic: CCC


Can dogs, sports teams and playing families happily share a community space? An ongoing dispute about the state of the South Hobart Oval at Darcy Street makes us wonder. There’s a few parties to the feud – the South Hobart Football Club, South Hobart dog walkers, other park users and Hobart City Council – which erupted again last month when the Mercury ran a story about the situation. We have heard that it’s not just limited to the football club having issues with the dogs – readers have expressed concern about the dogs interacting with children who are using the field to practice soccer and for recreation and resulting poo mishaps (check out the INBOX page for one reader’s take, which prompted us to delve deeper). We’ve been told the council has received more complaints between members of the public and dog owners at Darcy Street than any other park. South Hobart Primary School reportedly also have issues regarding oval bookings for sport training after school, with some dog owners refusing to vacate the grounds during their oval bookings. Despite a council source sharing that they’re looking at some sort of alternative scenario at Darcy Street, a Hobart City Council official spokesperson told The Hobart Magazine that dogs would not be banned from the space. “South Hobart Oval is a shared community space that is available to all members of the community,” they said. “Dog owners always carry the responsibility of picking up after their dogs in any public space and additional signage reminding of this has been arranged for the oval. We provide bags for dog owners at four locations within the park and officers patrol the area regularly to ensure owners are doing the right thing. Consultation undertaken for the City’s Dog Management Policy demonstrated the importance of the space to the local community as a dog exercise area.” There’s clearly lots at play at Darcy Street, and it’s interesting to see the council shut down the option of further consultation. In the interests of meeting the needs of all members of the local community, surely a commitment to consultation is the first step?

Golden hour at Darcy Street


As part of National Homelessness Week 2021, Clarence City Council launched its homelessness support packs and critical information cards to help those sleeping rough and braving the elements across Clarence. Of the more than 100 backpacks, 40 packs have already been given out through partnerships with Salvation Army and Housing Connect Tasmania to those doing it tough. The support packs include a high-quality 35 litre backpack full of essential items, including warm clothing, personal hygiene products, and a Metro bus card, and were co-purchased by council and the Lion’s Club of Clarence. Clarence City Council Mayor Alderman Doug Chipman said these support packs come at a crucial time for the homeless community in Clarence. “Warm clothing and some basic essentials can make a big difference for someone experiencing homelessness. We hope these packs and cards will be a useful resource for people in our community who are doing it tough.” Tyson Montgomery has experienced homelessness himself and is now a board member for the Housing with Dignity Reference Group. “For someone like myself, at the time when I was sleeping on the streets, having one of these packs would have meant a few more good days than bad ones. It would have been a load off my mind to have these essentials available,” he said. “I would like to see packs like these available in more places, all Tasmanian councils should get on board and support the homeless community.” Further additions to the support packs are being investigated including portable phone chargers and clothing vouchers from not-for-profit organisations. The idea of opening up council shower facilities, so that those sleeping rough can access a hot shower, on a twice weekly basis is also being explored. Council is also collaborating with Vinnies’ Louis’ Van, with a goal to bring the van to Clarence more often.

The backpack contents


Fullers, a local independent bookshop, is reporting that Tasmanian writing is dominating their bestselling lists at the moment, indicative of our growing love for home-grown books. Of their top ten best selling books so far for 2021, seven are Tasmanian, two more are Australian, and Kazuo Ishiguro has the honour of being the only international writer to make it in there.


Leigh Arnold is a communications expert and recently setup a new Instagram account for introverts in Hobart called @shhhobart.

What does it mean to be introverted? Introversion is a personality trait. It’s about how you gain and lose energy. Introverts gain energy by spending time alone. We lose energy through lots of social interaction. The reverse is true for extroverts. Extroverts find too much alone time draining. And they get energised by socialising. Introversion-extroversion is a scale. You can be very introverted or very extroverted or anywhere in between. Some people are ambiverts: equally introverted and extroverted. Most of us tend to lean one way or the other though. A good test is to ask: Where do I get my energy? How do I recharge? If it’s being alone in a favourite place, you’re probably more introverted. If it’s going out socialising, you’re probably an extrovert.

Why did you start @shhhobart and where do you see it going? @shhhobart is an introvert’s guide to Hobart on Instagram, with tips on quiet places in our city. Introverts need quiet places to recharge. But quiet places can be hard to find in modern cities. @shhhobart tells you where to find those places. I hope more and more people will follow the account and send me their tips on favourite quiet places so I can include those too!

Is introversion the same as shyness? Being an introvert does not automatically mean you’re shy. Shyness and introversion are separate personality traits. Both traits are normal, and both are very common. Being shy means you find social interaction uncomfortable. Being introverted means you find it draining. Interestingly, it is possible to be both extroverted and shy.

Do introverts have a bad name? Historically introversion has been viewed pretty negatively. We have been unfairly described as self-absorbed, anti-social, withdrawn, sulky, boring, uninspiring, weak-willed and so on. So bad is the per­ception of introverts in Western societies that many introverts don’t recognise themselves as introverts, and often spend years acting as extroverts, which is exhausting. We need to talk up introverts because society needs introverts. And there are lots of us. Between 30 and 50% of people are introverted. That’s about 60,000 to 100,000 Hobartians. Introverts bring amazing qualities like being humble, modest, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing, alert, reflective, bookish, sensitive, thoughtful, serious, contemplative, gentle, calm and risk-averse. And we are really great at things like delegating, encouraging others, deep listening, asking good questions, empathy, staying on task, negotiating, strategizing and solving complex problems.

Can extroverts enjoy @shhhobart too? @shhhobart is for everyone who enjoys quiet places. And quiet places are important. They give us the space to contemplate problems and avoid mistakes. They help us be more empathetic towards others and be more generous and forgiving to ourselves. Evidence suggests that slow, restorative quiet time is vital for our mental and physical health. @shhhobart is for everyone.


Hobart author Kate Gordon has won the Children’s Book Council of Australia 2021 Book of the Year for Younger Readers (7-12) with her novel Aster’s Good, Right Things. It’s a warm and beautiful chapter book about anxious 11 year old Aster, who blames herself for her mother leaving, and commits to doing various good, right things in service of others to atone for it. The CBCA said Aster’s voice was “written with great insight and delight,” and that the story provided “a brilliant portrayal of mental health.” Sarah Aitken grabbed Kate shortly after the announcement to congratulate her and find out a bit more.

Congrats on winning the CBCA Book of the Year award! How does it feel? It feels enormous and over­whelming and not like real life!

What does winning this prize mean to you? It means the world to me. I don’t write big, flashy books. I don’t write bestsellers. I tend to write books about quiet kids with big dreams and they’re not often the books that get attention. To have this book recognised and to know that some people who know a lot about books love it…that’s beyond my wildest dreams. It also means that, hopefully, more kids will get to read it, and if they’re quiet, troubled kids like Aster, maybe it will help them.

Tell us about Aster – where did she come to you from? Aster is basically me as a kid. I was a bundle of nerves and guilt and anxiety and a deep awareness that my brain worked differently and I didn’t seem to *fit* anywhere. I felt so alone and I turned to books for comfort and to find other kids like me. I wrote this book for my child self and for any other kids who might feel like they’re alone.

What’s the young fiction field look like in Australia at the moment? The middle grade sector in Australia is absolutely booming. On one side of it, there are the glorious, funny books like the ones Andy Griffiths and James Foley and Aaron Blabey and Adrian Beck write (and my kid and I adore those books – they’re so much fun). They’re going absolutely gangbusters because they’re clever and bright and hilarious and kids love that sort of book. On the other side, really thoughtful, deep books like Kate Foster’s Paws and Nova Weetman’s The Edge of Thirteen are also being embraced by kids who want something quieter and more true. And then there are the books that fall somewhere in between, like those by Nat Amoore and Penny Tangey. And adventure books are huge, still, too, like Al Tait’s wonderful series. And graphic novels are seeing a huge boom, too. My daughter loves Remy Lai and is working on her own graphic novel! I feel like there are books now for every kid and publishers are taking a chance on so many different kinds of story. It’s a wonderful time to be working in middle grade!

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February 2024

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Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!