Health and wellbeing in Latrobe.


The town of Latrobe is set to play host to a refreshing festival at the end of this month with the Total Health and Wellness Festival.
Events include physical health checks and life tools, presentations on holistic therapies, nutrition and skin care. There will also be plenty of stalls offering a wide variety of retail and handmade goods.

The festival will be held at the Latrobe Memorial Hall, on the 28th – 29th of November

For more information please visit:

Keagan Belbin.

Delta Therapy Dogs


A local not-for-profit organisation is currently seeking help of the four legged variety.

Delta Therapy Dogs is a group dedicated to providing a unique kind of support: the canine kind. Many recent studies have found interaction with animals, especially dogs can have amazing impact on the elderly in aged care, people living with dementia and other disabilities, with young people especially benefitting from the engagement.
It can be as simple as a pat and a hug.
Sue Jennings of the group has been taking her dog, a beautiful border collie named Tash to the Emmerton Park aged care centre, in the state’s north-west for nearly three years.
“We just go round and spend 10 or 15 minutes with the residents in their rooms and Tash goes up and gets the big pats,” she said.
“I just have a little chat with them and see how they’re going.
“It’s known that if people can pat and stroke dogs, particularly in their last few years, then it’s beneficial to their health.”
In fact, it’s not just the dogs’ handlers who notice a positive change.
Emmerton Park’s leisure and lifestyle co-ordinator Dave Dunkerley said the visits had had a wonderful impact on the residents.
“It’s very relaxing, they mellow, they start chatting, they talk to a dog very often first and then they’ll talk to us,” he said.
He also said of note, was the behaviour of dementia patients.
“Particularly with dementia you can get some undesirable behaviours at times, but the dogs tend to lessen the behaviours,” he said.
Recently the group has faced hard times, with a number of the handlers finding full time work and many of the dogs, getting older and needing to retire. So they have put the call out, for help from human and dog alike.
Northern coordinator, Claire Curtis, recently said the organisation was in desperate need for more volunteers to keep the program going.
“We’ve been visiting in Burnie for a long time, but I have teams from Forth, Ulverstone and Somerset covering these facilities,” she said.
“We desperately need volunteers down in Smithton and Circular Head as well.
“We assess dogs from 18 months to ten years of age and they only have to be a well-behaved, well-mannered dog.”
The organisation currently visited 19 facilities in Tasmania’s north, but wanted to expand their services.
“I know there’s respite centres, brain injury units, there are a lot of places that could still benefit from having a dog coming in every week,” she said.
“But at the moment, until we got more volunteers we can’t do that.”
For more details please visit:

Or call: 6248 7661

Keagan Belbin.

Street art project update

Street art poster final

Rising Phoenix Studios has been busy getting the Street Art project rolling. Some wonderful submissions are starting to come in. We are gaining growing support from a number of local Tasmanian businesses who are acknowledging the value of this project and the efforts of the young Rising Phoenix artists organizing it. Homelessness touches so many Tasmanian lives – it’s scary. We are enthused by the growing community support across our beautiful state helping to raise awareness about this issue.

Due to a number of requests, we have extended the Street Art submission deadline to the 31st of December. Keep those wonderful pieces coming in and thank you for helping to spread the word.

For details visit:

Psychs on bikes


A group of dedicated mental health professionals arrived in Tasmania last week but while doctors often come and go, these ones are part of a unique group: one that is travelling on two wheels.

The annual Psychs on Bikes tour this year came to Tasmania for the first time.

Thirteen psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health support nurses, will this week travel the state with the goal of spreading mental health awareness to regional and regional communities.

The riders are from all across Australia and bring a wealth of knowledge in a state where mental health is an increasingly large issue.

The group understands that one factor that can affect people choosing to seek is money issues so they will also be providing free health checks that include, blood mass indication tests, blood pressure tests and respiratory function tests.

Their main focus is raising awareness of mental health issues and trying to combat some of the stigma associated with mental health which can be a big problem especially facing men in a rural area.

Their goals are to sit with community members and have simple, light chats, encouraging “speaking up.”

Psychs on Bikes president Joe Dunn spoke about the focus on men being important, with the focus on patience but perseverance “The idea is to engage men in these communities because they tend to under-use health services.”

“The suicide rate is four men to one women, so things need to change.”

Tony Barker, an outreach worker with Rural Alive and Well, spoke about how the tour also encourages men to find a healthy balance between relationships, lifestyle and work-life.

“It’s all about talking to a mate and making that initial conversation,” Mr Barker said.

Over the course of the week the Psychs on Bikes toured Smithton, Queenstown, Bothwell, Longford, Sheffield and other towns across the state.

Keagan Belbin

Stand up for childhood charity


Mission Australia have renewed calls for support for their charity program, Stand Up for Childhood – a service that aims to help families of Australia suffering through homelessness. Their program is funded through monthly donations, which directly help those in need. For many Australians suffering through homelessness, any support is welcome. Last year Mission Australia helped 67,808 through their family services.

For more information, call Mission Australia on 1800 88 88 68 or visit their website at

Jakob Barrett

New technology to boost local economy and job sector

The North West coast looks set to see more prosperous employment opportunities and revenue results soon as a Wynyard based mining company has just received federal funding in the form of a new technology grant.

Haulmax, the mining equipment and vehicle manufacturer, last week received a $3 million grant to help fund the design and development of two new ‘Mobile Explosive Units.’

While this funding boost is certainly going to help the company, Haulmax Managing Director Kelly Elphinstone believes it will also be a significant boost to the local economy and job sector.

“Under the current project, as it stands today, we’re looking at between an extra 20 and 40 positions,” she said recently.

“Obviously if we do a good job, the end goal is to secure a longer-term supply contract, which will hopefully eventuate in significantly more quantities of these units being produced out of Burnie on a yearly basis.

“If that does eventuate, we’re probably looking at anywhere from 60 to 80 positions.”

The unemployment issue has been a pressing one for Tasmania and has hit hard on the North West, so these numbers speak very positively for the coming months and if successful, the coming years.

But it’s not just direct employment that looks set to benefit, Haulmax also relies upon local businesses for both outsourcing and general services. The boost in employment to Haulmax would also likely encourage new positions as need arises for these businesses.

Ms Elphinstone describes this as a ‘flow on effect.’
“It’s absolutely beneficial for our local supply chain,” she said.

“When we’re able to attract opportunities like this, we grab them with both hands and see where we can take them because the flow-on effects for the rest of the community is substantial.

“They say for every one direct job, three indirect jobs are created so if we’re looking at 20 direct jobs, you know, that’s another 60 positions out in the community.”

What do you think of this news? Does the prospect of new mining jobs and opportunities excite you?


Keagan Belbin

Street art submissions

Street art poster final

Rising Phoenix Studios is seeking contributors for our next project, Street Art, a publication scheduled for a 2016 release in both print and electronic formats. Street Art is a literary project aiming to give voice to those who are currently homeless or have had their lives touched by homelessness in some form. It will be an anthology collection of short stories, poetry, photography and art – a celebration of passions, endurance, hopes and dreams. Proceeds from the sale of this work to be donated to the food van services currently providing for the homeless in Devonport, Launceston and Hobart.

For details go to:

Dog parks and recreation

Dog owners are set to get a big win this financial year, with a new off-the-leash dog park in Devonport receiving the green light.

The new park would be located near the Splash Aquatic Centre, providing a place free from traffic and distractions where owners can take their dogs to exercise, play and maybe even meet some other furry friends. It will feature plenty of seating, shade and water areas. There will even be an agility play ground for the dogs to try out.

This park seems to be the answer a lot of local dog owners have been asking for, with current options for off-the-leash areas being minimal. Now owners can let their four legged friend run and play in safety. The development is set to take place during the 2015-16 financial period, with planning already underway.

Keagan Belbin

Light the Night Devonport 2015


The Leukemia Foundation Light the Night event was held on September 11 to help raise money and awareness for families affected by blood cancers.  The event in Devonport was a walk hosted in conjunction with the Devonport Rotary Club with additional support by TT-Line.

The night started at the Devonport Surf Life Saving Club on the Bluff.  Participants walked along Victoria Parade with lanterns to light their way and ended the walk at Roundhouse Park. This was a good chance for the community to rally behind such a valuable cause. Representatives from Tasmania’s Thylacine 501st Garrison came dressed as Star Wars Stormtroopers , which helped to make this a fun family event. The Rotary Club of Devonport hosted a barbecue and their volunteers provided exemplary support for the night.

Additional Light the Night events are scheduled all across Australia and further information can be found here:

Jakob Barrett

Tattoos in the Workplace

Tattooing is one of the oldest art forms in human history having existed for literally thousands of years. In today’s modern society, there are differing ideals of how a person should look, act, and talk. One point of concern to many is that tattoos are often deemed taboo in the workplace. There is certainly a bias in the professional environment regarding body art and great debate on whether this is right or wrong. There are obvious exceptions such as in the case of something racist or derogatory (please reconsider how that will affect other people’s perception of you).

It is important to be aware in this state, as of December 2014, changes to the Police Offences Act 1935 were introduced to help protect young Tasmanians. It is illegal to tattoo or perform body modification (such as ear lobe stretching) on a person under the age of 18.

If you are considering getting a tattoo; do your research! Have a look around your local area for reliable tattoo artists. Find a parlour that is licensed and don’t be afraid to ask about hygiene or sterilization of needles. These are important questions that can help you avoid getting a disease, such as Hepatitis C from a dodgy backyard operator. Find a tattoo artist able to work with the style you have chosen. While one artist may be skilled at black and white style tattoos, they might be terrible at colouring. If you are unsure, talk to them. It will not hurt to learn. Get some tips on how to let it heal.

Good placements for tattoos are also an important consideration. If your tattoo artist tries dissuading you from getting a particular tattoo or in a certain location, please listen. Tattoos are their livelihood and they know better than anyone does how people react to tattoos. Reconsider getting one on your neck or face, please, unless you know that it will not ever affect your occupational prospects. There are also plenty of online resources teaching people how to conceal tattoos. You can cover them up with a base layer of liquid concealer and a layer of foundation over the top. Try getting as close to your skin tone as possible.

The popularity of tattoos among young people seems to be on the rise and it is important when modifying your body in this manner you make the right choices and consider all of your options. If not, you risk ending up with a long-term regret or perhaps featured on an episode of Tattoo Nightmares!

Jakob Barrett