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Journeys : Apr May 2011
Call me greedy, but my slice of the island is probably more like a dozen little slices. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my career to visit some extraordinary places and meet some even more extraordinary people. I’ve stood nearly a kilometre underground at the Beaconsfield gold mine and seen the exact spot where two miners were trapped for two weeks while rescuers worked to free them and while journalists above ground pontificated about the miners’ musical preference and what they ate for breakfast. I’ve seen blear y-eyed bushwalkers limp from the Tasmanian wilderness under police escort. I’ve seen runners and endurance mountain bikers emerge, fists punching the air, from the same parts. I ’ve hovered hundreds of metres above Tasmania while bushfires crackled through dry forest. The slices of the island that I enjoy most are probably the ones connected with my sport, rowing. I can’t explain why anyone would get up before the sparrows, don what can only be described as a ‘Where’s Wally’s underwear nightmare’ and head down to the nearest boatshed to participate in a sport where at any moment you risk toppling into the icy reaches of the Derwent, Tamar or Huon. I can’t explain it other than to suggest you tr y it for yourself – I’m hopelessly addicted. The sport takes you to some staggeringly beautiful places. On the Huon River south of Hobart, your exertions in training are applauded only by cows and the occasional kookaburra. Even the Tamar River with its glor ious mud piles is something to make you gasp when the tide is high and the sun is rising. I love all of these waters but my absolute favour ite is Lake Barrington. A Hydro dam in northern Tasmania has created more than 20 kilometres of rowing heaven. The lake has even hosted the World Championships, but like all good Tasmanian spots it’s out of the way. The road to Lake Barrington weaves around tree-lined hills, past the star tling Mount Roland and through places deliciously named No Where Else and Paradise. I love show ing off Tasmania to visitors. I’ve hosted quite a few in recent times and they just cannot get over the rocks and forests that protrude from the landscape, untouched and unnoticed by locals. They mar vel at our her itage buildings, even though they’re toddlers by European standards. But what really inspires a photo-taking flurry in my guests is when I push them into a rowing coach’s boat. Of course there are other Tasmanian water ways I’m yet to discover. Many are no doubt more beautiful than I could possibly describe. I haven’t even begun about Tasmanians themselves – but I love the good-natured concern that Tasmanians show for each other. For instance, I once observed a phalanx of reporters and cameramen chasing a Beaconsfield miner outside a Launceston court. The miner had been grilled for hours as a witness to an inquest and was in a hurry to get home, or possibly to the pub. As the group harassed him all the way down the street, one of the cameramen hit a pole and fell over. The reporters ignored the fallen man, but the miner turned to his pursuer and inquired “Are you all right mate?” That’s just small selection of my slices from this island, although I am keen to collect many more. Opposite: Rowers on Lake Barrington; Jacqui reports from a snowy Ben Lomond. This page, clockwise from top left: Coaching on the North Esk River; Lake Barrington regatta; on the scene of a bushfire in north-east Tasmania; at work in a Launceston press conference YangkeeSherpaJacquiStreetKenJeffreysMelissaLewarn In Tasmania today April / May 2011 41
Feb March 2011
Jun Jul 2011