Tea trees in their characteristically twisted forms provide the context for a look back, back, back into the far history of our island home. The First Tasmanians: Our Story is the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s newest permanent exhibition, now open to the public.
The exhibition was the brainchild of project manager Greg Lehman who noticed “a bit of a glaring gap” when it came to the state’s deep history; what came before colonialisation.
“It’s a pretty amazing story to tell,” he says of the exhibition’s scope. It dovetails with other displays throughout the state, without overlap, and builds on people’s ability to engage with the island.
Metal Urges Jewellers’ owner Chris Hood has the air of a man on a mission and a mind plump with thoughts. When we meet at a local coffee shop, there’s no need for small talk between long friends. Chris launches straight into his backstory with barely a prompt.
“From early on I’ve been fascinated by my own ability to do something and for others to see the value in it and pay me for that value; I was the kid who was mowing lawns up the street. I had an entrepreneurial spirit before the age of 10.” Our conversation is anchored and punctuated by a canvas roll-bag – undoubtedly pillowing gems – which he percussively taps and plays with as we speak. The bag is symbolic of another trait; the strong desire to share: knowledge and passion.
During the 2016 floods in Northern Tasmania, floodwaters threatened Ritchie’s Mill, the building in which The Mill Gallery (above Stillwater in Launceston) is located. Movingly, paintings inspired by the floods will grace the gallery’s walls during June. The artist behind these paintings is Anna Van Stralen.
The floods affected Anna’s work and life dramatically. Her work was shaped by the idea that, “the outside world was threatening to come inside”. She has recently been creating circular works, portraying the floods as if through a magnifying glass.
Launceston-based artist and designer Emma Davis has just embarked on a self-made challenge to hand letter a series of 20 quotes to help overcome fear. The 25 year old started her career trajectory in the field of medical science, securing work as a pathology assistant straight out of uni. It didn’t take long for her to discover, however, that while it was a respectable job, it wasn’t one that was going to fulfil her creative interests.
Emma took a bold move and enrolled in an accelerated Certificate 4 in Graphic Design through Shillington in Sydney. “I’m not naturally a very courageous person but I’ve always liked drawing, it’s always been how I process things,” she says.
Call me a cynic, but I’ve never put much stock in the awards that most tourist services love to highlight that they have won. There are so many organisations putting out awards that it’s hard to take them too seriously. Every now and then though you come across a company that most definitely deserves any awards they care to claim. Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is one such business.
Robert Pennicott started the business after noticing that tourist fishermen he was taking out to Bruny Island were regularly more interested in the scenery than the fishing. He realised that the rugged landscapes around Bruny, the Tasman Peninsula and the Derwent River itself were attractions that most tourists had no access to, especially from the sea. He set up the guided tours to give people a unique view of the beautiful coastlines near Hobart.