Waterlines: Artist call out

Tasmanian Regional Arts is seeking Expressions of Interest for our 2016 project WATERLINES.

Waterlines is a curated, state-wide arts project that invites Tasmanian Regional Arts (TRA) members to examine the concept of waterlines, the nature of water, retracing its path and revealing the interconnected and infiltrating nature of water at both the seen level above and the unseen level below. Waterlines aims to reveal common connections; woven threads of communities new and old, across Tasmania and across Australia.


Click on this link for more info:





Portal is a photographic art exhibition currently running through the Devonport Regional Art Gallery. It features 78 photos captured on January 2, 2016, by those living and visiting the north-west coast. Submissions have ranged in subject and time to build an intimate insight into life in Tasmania. This exploratory project is a celebration of our community’s identities and experiences.

Portal is a collective experience highlighting Tasmania’s unique land, and people through a microcosm of photographs.

For more information visit:



– Tyler Martin

Fires Rage Across Tasmania

Difficult to control bush fires are still raging across Tasmania with several communities at risk from falling embers and thick smoke.

What had started as several small fires have over the course of several weeks been pushed forward by strong winds, adding to the challenges faced by firefighter teams.

The state’s first ever four day total fire ban has been issued today, as currently more than fifty fires burn across the state and authorities are attempting to cut down any additional risks.
TFS chief officer, Gavin Freeman, today urged people to practice caution and good sense.

“We know it’s a long weekend and we know there will be people camping, but just gas fired cookers, they’re ok as long as the area around them is cleared, but no open fires please,” he said.

While many are being maintained and monitored across remote parts of the state, twelve are currently (at time of posting) burning close to communities and are at the “advice” alert level. No immediate threat is faced by these communities but they are advised to practice caution and remain ready for more news.

Two larger blazes however have recently been upgraded to the “watch and act” alert level, with firefighters issuing several advisements to residents in and around the areas of Nunamara on the Tasman Highway, with the between Bourkes Road and Binghams Road most affected.

All residents are advised to:
-Be on the lookout for falling embers, being scattered by strong winds.
-Be mindful of the danger of thick smoke.
-Take action to ensure your house and family are safe.
-If the premises is too unprepared, be prepared to leave, quickly.
-If you have a bushfire survival plan, use it now.

Firefighters have also issued a warning to anyone who doesn’t live in or near the Nunamara area to stay away and if travelling, find an alternate route.

A “watch and act” alert is also in affect for the Mawbanna area, with the blaze located next to Pipeline road.

The warnings issued to residents near this area include the same warnings as above but also include:

-Keep up to date on details of the situation by listening to ABC local radio or visiting    www.fire.tas.gov.au for updated alerts.
-Residents are also advised to report any fire activity they believe fire services are not currently be aware of, specifically fresh sparks/embers.

-Drivers in the region are also advised to drive with their headlights on no matter the time of day, when driving through smoke, to avoid accident.

Across the state, the effects of the numerous ongoing blazes are being felt in a very real way with a blanket of thick white smoke covering much of the state, moving across towns and even reaching the cities. Visibility ranges from hazy to very obscuring with many drivers across the state using their headlights to avoid risk of accident.

While temperatures have dropped slightly across the state this week, lack of significant rainfall and strong winds have meant that Tasmanian fire crews have been stretched thin, maintaining such a large number of blazes.

With more than forty two thousand hectares burnt in the past ten days, the decision was made to call in reinforcements from interstate, to alleviate some of the stress on Tasmanian fire crews and help regain control. More than one hundred remote area fire fighters are being flown in from New South Wales and will be joined by more than thirty support personnel.

Emergency Management Minister Rene Hidding said that this reinforcement boost combined with expected cooler weather approaching next week is a welcome wave of good news.

“With interstate back-up to arrive tomorrow and more favourable weather conditions forecast, I am advised that substantial progress can be made by early to mid next week,” he said.
For any details or queries about the current fire situation near you,

please visit www.fire.tas.gov.au

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: www.facebook.com/HealthWellnessLatrobe

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:  www.deltadogsafetas.org.au

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

University terrorism threat

One of the UTAS cyber security teams discovered a possible threat to the university’s campuses this  week. The infamous social media site 4chan was rumoured to be the source of the concern. An email was sent to staff and students warning them of a potential threat and a joint security force between the police and university were set up to ensure the safety of the people on campus.

Police Commander Glenn Frame said earlier that threat to UTAS was ultimately not credible and ordered police resources to be withdrawn from the campuses at Hobart, Launceston, and Burnie. “As a result of analysing the threat, in conjunction with other jurisdictions, we can advise we do not consider the threat to be genuine and does not pose a risk to staff and students.”

A UTAS spokesperson said that the threat was similar to that against the University of New South Wales wherein a 4chan user claimed to have obtained a handgun of sorts and warned UNSW students that should not go into campus the following day. Anti-terrorism police descended onto the UNSW campus yesterday in response to the threat in Sydney.

The threat against UTAS arrives at a stressful time for students since many are starting to prepare for end of year exams.

Jakob Barrett

Rising temperatures bring fire dangers

A fire in Geeveston has been downgraded after Thursday’s high alert, having been contained by the Tasmania Fire Service through the use of tankers and a helicopter.  A total fire ban was declared across the southern Tasmania as temperatures surged. Hobart saw temperatures reach 30°. The municipalities of Brighton, Derwent Valley, Hobart, Sorell, Central Highlands, Glamorgan Spring Bay, Huon Valley, Southern Midlands, Clarence, Glenorchy, Kingborough and Tasman were all placed on fire bans.

The Tasmanian Fire Service has been preparing for a dangerous season. Standard rules for fire bans are in place so no fires may be lit or allowed to remain alight in open air. No spark generating tools or tools that use a naked flame such as welding or grinding tools may be used in open air. Wood, charcoal or other solid fuel barbecues may not be used either. Public gas and electric barbecues are not banned as long as the barbecue is a fixed permanent structure.

For further details and alerts visit www.fire.tas.gov.au

Jakob Barrett