Meander Valley Gazette

Your Independent Community Newspaper


Blue Farmer searches the skies

Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
A dozen people plus the media gathered in a paddock outside Ashley Youth Detention Centre for the assembly of the Blue Farmer.   Photo | Mike Moores

A dozen people plus the media gathered in a paddock outside Ashley Youth Detention Centre for the assembly of the Blue Farmer.

Photo | Mike Moores

Feburary 2019 | Hayley Manning

TAKE THE old Meander Valley Road toward Ashley Youth Detention Centre and you will see a big Blue Farmer surveying the surrounding landscape. Bruny Island artist, Grietje van Randen, designed the first Blue Farmer in her ‘Sprokkelwood’ open garden to raise awareness about people in the community with depression, after a spate of tragic events in her partner’s farming family.

The third Farmer project began in 2018, when Tasmanian Craft Fair Director, Lesley Dare, invited Grietje to the all-new Community Arts Tent, where 250 locals and visitors took part in knitting garments from recycled blue twine on purpose-built dowel knitting needles. The completed garments were then sewn together and fitted onto a PVC frame, designed and made by the Ashley students.

Grietje stipulates all Blue Farmers must be positioned scanning the landscape to remind people to ‘look out’ for each other when they drive past, and they are to be created by local community volunteers. “The process of sitting together while the hands are busy allows people to open up and work through things.

This is of immense value if you are having a hard time,” Grietje said. “You might only need one conversation to make a difference.”

Bonza brekkies & fair dinkum fun

Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann

February 2019

WHEN IT comes to Australia Day Breakfasts, Chudleigh certainly brings home the bacon.

With visitors from Melbourne and locals from as far away as Longford, the stalwart volunteers were kept on their toes ferrying huge amounts of tucker for the seemingly endless line of eager and hungry visitors.

At Westbury the old hands set to with a will, up to their elbows in bangers and mushroom.

The previous evening in Prospect Vale saw a few hiccups for Council’s Australia Day Award Ceremonies.

At one stage it seemed unlikely that the event would go ahead when the Highlands fire emergency caused a blackout to Prospect Vale and surrounding suburbs.

Then Councillor Tanya King very bravely sang the national anthem (with some help from the Meander Men) when the scheduled performer didn’t turn up.

Things went smoothly from then on with many wonderful Meander Valleyites being recognised for their extraordinary service to community.

Woody Sampson and daughter Faith recent arrivals from Melbourne enjoy brekky at Chudleigh   Photo | Mike Moores

Woody Sampson and daughter Faith recent arrivals from Melbourne enjoy brekky at Chudleigh

Photo | Mike Moores

From L-R: Sue Poulton, Alison Lee and Dinah Fitzgerald feed the hungry hoards at Westbury.   Photo | Mike Moores

From L-R: Sue Poulton, Alison Lee and Dinah Fitzgerald feed the hungry hoards at Westbury.

Photo | Mike Moores

Carnival at Carrick

Sport, FeatureJoanne Eisemann

February 2019

The Carrick Park Pacing Club’s major event of the season, the Carrick Cup, takes place on Saturday 16th February at twilight. For the first time a sale of yearlings will be held. It is the only sale of standard bred yearlings in Tasmania this year. Other attractions during the evening will include: the Vandenberg Transport Carrick Cup, Fashions on the Field competitions, a double-seated sulky race, celebrity pony race, live music, free children’s jumping castle & face painting, and a Polocrosse demonstration. Tasmanian Polocrosse players from the Midland Spurs and Kentish (green & gold) are pictured above during the polocrosse demonstration match at last years Carrick Cup.

Photo | Mike Moores

Photo | Mike Moores

The Criterium Masters

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Competitors in the Masters Criterium power past the Village Green in Westbury on Boxing Day.

Competitors in the Masters Criterium power past the Village Green in Westbury on Boxing Day.

Kayne 7yrs enjoys the community ride with dad Greig Watson.

Kayne 7yrs enjoys the community ride with dad Greig Watson.

WESTBURY’S TRANQUIL streets bordering the Village Green came alive with cyclists of all ages and abilities on Boxing Day. The green was tinged with gold when the superstars of Australian track cycling descended for the 2018 edition of the Westbury Cycling Criterium, which kick started the 2018-19 Tasmanian Christmas Sports Carnivals.

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medallists Sam Welsford, Alex Porter and eventual winner Kelland O’Brien headlined the men’s race, while in the women’s Alexandra Manly was upstaged by local Perth-raised rider Georgia Baker, who was upbeat in praise. “It’s always great to be back in Westbury.”

The day also had a Masters Criterium and a people’s community ride which ensured more than 100 cyclists showcased their talents and the feature events had the largest amount of competitors across all three Criteriums in the series. Meander Valley Council Mayor Wayne Johnston said he was thrilled that carnivals’ criterium racing had returned to Westbury after an absence last year. “It’s fabulous that cyclists of such high calibre graced our streets on one of Tasmania’s most challenging and spectacular criterium courses,” he enthused.

The Mayor also launched the 30-minute community ride which kick-started the criterium festival. Participants had the opportunity to complete as many laps of the 1.3km circuit as possible and new Councillor Susie Bower led the charge. Council and Carnival organisers were very pleased with the great atmosphere for families. Mayor Johnston described Westbury’s Boxing Day criterium festival as a success and one that is sure to grow in coming years.

Photo | Mike Moores

Connecting our community - celebrating 5 years as Meander Valley’s local newspaper!

FeatureJoanne Eisemann

TURNING FIVE may not seem like a big achievement, yet it is a number loaded with significance.

Behind the scenes, ‘5’ adds up to countless hours of volunteering time that has been given by a small army of helpers to create and deliver the paper, month in, month out. Without their vital help, the paper wouldn’t exist. This is because the Gazette is, for all intents and purposes, very much a local, community-driven project.

This story is written to give you a better understanding of the Gazette as an enterprise, and to publicly recognise the valuable contribution made by so many wonderful people who help us out, each and every day.

When our region lost its local newspaper more than five years ago, it quickly became clear that something else went missing too. The valley lost the means to collectively share its stories - its triumphs and tragedies, news and tidbits, joys and friendships.

Equally, local businesses lost a key means to reach out to existing & new customers, and local council lost the ability to broadcast its latest information.

Since the start of the Gazette in 2013 (the first issue went to print in January 2014), all of the above has been made whole again. Five years on, we still regularly receive letters of gratitude and thanks for publishing a local newspaper. We enjoy telling the stories, capturing the valley’s living history and keeping young & old alike in touch with the amazing people and talents that surround us.

People often think that the paper is put out by Meander Valley Council. This is not so. While we are supported by our local council, especially through the inclusion of their Public Notices pages, the newspaper is actually run and published by a small, local not-for- profit organisation called Meander Valley Connect.

As well as the Gazette, Meander Valley Connect manages two Online Access Centres (Deloraine and Mole Creek) as well as Pixels Digital Art Gallery in Deloraine.

Meander Valley Gazette pays a small amount of money to a handful of core staff each month; however, for the most part, the paper is produced by volunteers.

Weekly meetings are held to discuss the paper’s content and direction. The content is predominantly written by volunteer writers who develop stories under direction of the editorial team. We also receive submissions by local community members, politicians and other services/ events visiting Meander Valley.

The stories and advertisements are brought together using industry standard software, two computers and the wonders of ‘cloud computing’, which allows people in a few different locales to access and contribute to the process.

Then, once a month on a Saturday, proofreaders gather in Deloraine to correct any errors. The paper is then converted into finished artwork and sent to the printers.

In line with our ethos of supporting small business, Meander Valley Gazette is printed in Tasmania in Franklin, Huon Valley. It travels to north via 3 different trucks, with Sunrise Trailers in Deloraine lending a final hand in the process by using their forklift to take the pallet of papers off the truck and place them onto the back of a flat tray ute, which is then delivered to the Deloraine Online Centre.

A team of folders get cracking unloading the pallet. Thousands of papers are hand-folded, ready to be delivered by Australia Post and a local contractor. Thousands more are delivered to Salmat in Prospect who organise delivery to residents in Prospect Vale and Hadspen. Yet more volunteers deliver papers to shops and businesses throughout the valley. Once delivered, the whole monthly process starts all over again!

We estimate the paper takes, collectively, around 400 hours per month to put together. Most of these hours are volunteered.

Currently, we are printing 9,500 copies per month. Plus, many people are accessing the paper digitally through our website (Previous editions of the paper can be downloaded there, too. Just head to the shop and download for free).

During the time we have been printing we have uncovered a wealth of skilled artisans and craftspeople. We’ve also looked into many rurally-based enterprises, and the biggest surprise always comes when we discover another local business that is sending their products all over the globe. Innovation is clearly alive and well in Meander Valley and its our aim, with your help, to promote the area to its best advantage.

All up, we’ve been fortunate to be able to call upon the assistance of many people who have long experience in publishing and communications. In fact, the Gazette provides an ideal vehicle for people to express their creativity and make a meaningful contribution to the welfare of the community.

It also provides a wonderful training ground for those wanting to become journalists, photo journalists or graphic designers and we have mentored many of these over the years.

One of the hallmarks of the Gazette is its wonderful photos. We have been fortunate to have the input of Mike Moores, a photo journalist with some 40 years’ experience in both English and Australian newspapers.

The paper is offered free to all residents and visitors of Meander Valley and is financed by advertisers, sponsors and donations.

The break even costs of producing the paper each month are considerable, and we are very grateful to all of our advertisers for their financial support. Three local businesses have recently taken out 12-month sponsorships, helping to smooth out the ups and downs of monthly advertising income and helping ensure the current 20-page format can continue.

As always, our aim is to keep the residents of Meander Valley informed. To ensure that we can do the job properly we need your input. If we don’t know about an event we can’t tell the story!

If it’s interesting to you then it is probably of interest to other people too. Please email if you have a story and/or pictures to share, or phone 6286 8212 on a Tuesday or Wednesday to speak with one of the team.

It’s always affirming when we hear the wonderful feedback the paper receives, and it confirms our steadfast belief that there still is a much-needed place in this digitised world for the printed word.

Thanks for reading your very own local paper!

Matthew Bowen lends a steady hand and keen eye to the job of paper folding.

Matthew Bowen lends a steady hand and keen eye to the job of paper folding.

Carol Tracey looks after our advertisers.

Carol Tracey looks after our advertisers.

Never too old to volunteer, 87 year old Victor Smith delivers hundreds of papers to local businesses each month.

Never too old to volunteer, 87 year old Victor Smith delivers hundreds of papers to local businesses each month.

Land sale plan a reprieve for Quamby Parish churches

FeatureJoanne Eisemann

January 2019 | Sharon Webb

THE PROPOSED sale of a church-owned block of land in Carrick has removed three Quamby Parish churches given to the people in perpetuity from the Anglican church and cemetery fire sale.

In December of 2018, Tasmania’s Anglican Bishop, Richard Condie, released a list of church properties to parishioners state-wide, indicating which are to be sold and which reprieved.

St Mary’s Church rectory and cemetery in Hagley, built with donations from the Dry family; St Andrew’s Church in Carrick, given by the Reibey family; and St Andrew’s Church in Westbury, built by the British Government with convict labour, now will not be sold – if the parish can raise $400,000 from the sale of vacant land on the corner of Meander Valley Rd and East St in Carrick.

In addition, Deloraine’s saleyards, church hall and cemetery, and Meander’s St Saviour’s Church appear to be saved from the chopping block.

But according to Reverend Josephine Pyecroft from Quamby Parish, a row is brewing over which real estate agent will sell the Carrick land.

“We had it valued by Harrison Humphreys; Rob Harrison is a descendent of the Reibey family who gave the church to the people. But the Anglican Hobart office wants to arrange the sale with their choice of estate agent.

“However the deeds say the land can’t be sold without the signatures of the priest and two wardens and we need to go to the Reibey family to sell it.

“We want Harrison Humphreys to sell it, then the money must come back to the parish. We will then donate the money to the Anglican’s Child Sexual Abuse National Redress fund.”

Rev Pyecroft said she was amazed at the decision to save the three churches and their cemeteries.

“I thought we might save Hagley because Sir Richard Dry, the first Tasmanian-born premier of this State, is buried beneath the altar there, but all three churches were off the list,” she said.

“In the lead-up to the decision I asked parishioners to pray every day for two minutes at 12 noon and I’m silly enough to think that had a lot to do with it.”

Quamby Parish has raised more than $50,000 to head off the churches’ sale; in addition, new State draft legislation decreeing cemeteries cannot be closed until 100 years after the last burial instead of the current 30 years has damped down Bishop Condie’s sale plan. St Mary’s Church is defined as a cemetery because Sir Richard is buried in it.

Rev. Pyecroft said she could identify with people distressed at the thought of the sale of land containing their relatives’ graves; her parents’ ashes are buried in her husband’s grave in St Mary’s cemetery.

“This has been the emotional and spiritual abuse this year,” she said.

“I haven’t heard of anyone against the sexual abuse redress scheme, but all the while this other abuse has been going on in the background. This is not the Anglican Church I know.”

Rev. Pyecroft was also able to shed light on the rationale for Bishop Condie’s churches and cemetery sale plan.

“The Bishop told us he had to raise $8m for the redress scheme and he proposed to sell 106 properties,” she said.

“Twenty-five per cent of the money raised was to go to the redress scheme and the rest to be used to start a new Tasmanian ministry, where congregations would meet in school halls and people’s houses.

“The former Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen and his brother, Dean Phillip Jensen totally changed the face of the diocese to create an almost nonliturgical church run on Calvinist lines. And Bishop Condie has announced that he’s a Calvinist.”

Rev. Pyecroft, who has not been paid by the Anglican Church for the past 18 years, said clergy were not told what the new Tasmanian ministry would be like, just that the Quamby Parish would need to raise $216,000 for the redress scheme and $200,000 to indicate they could pay the salary of a new priest.

“More than $400,000 is an impossible task so we put in a submission to the Anglican Church Diocesan Council proposing to sell the Carrick land,” she said.

Two thirds of the Anglican properties listed for sale have not been rescued, including the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hadspen, the Fencing Paddock in Carrick, and vacant land in Elizabeth Town.

Photo | Mike Moores

St Andrews Church, in Westbury is one of four Meander Valley churches to escape closure and sale.

St Andrews Church, in Westbury is one of four Meander Valley churches to escape closure and sale.

Over 50 species of birds

FeatureJoanne Eisemann

By Tara Ulbrich

YOU ARE standing in an excellent place for bird watching. So promises one of the interpretive boards on the Liffey River Reserve.

Read on and you’ll be invited to sit down and seek out varieties of the more than 50 species that have been recorded in the area. This one-hour walk, or two depending on how long you sit, offers bird watching and much more.

As a loop track you will have to make two creek crossings. Therefore, recent observation of rainfall is a must. At first the walking is easy along Pages Creek with its own plumage of rich fernery but then some light climbing is involved.

Every five minutes or so you’ll want to pause. The landscape radically changes and although you might think that your senses are tuned into the scenery, transitions can be missed. A boardwalk across grassland suddenly turns into a rocky path with thicket of musk daisy-bush.

In 1990 Bob Brown donated this 105 acres to the then fledgling organisation Bush Heritage Australia. Now its volunteers manage the site, protecting the place for the fauna and flora, but also for our appreciation. This location of myrtle beech rainforest and dry and wet eucalypt forest is part of a collection of national treasures.

The Liffey River Reserve walk is easily accessed from the lower car-park of the more frequently visited Liffey Falls. Enjoy this track for its opportunity to read about the birdlife, the forest and the rock formations or enjoy it for the chance to sit in a pristine, ornithological utopia.

Fairy Wren spotted at the Liffey Falls Reserve Walk. Photo by Jade Hallam

Fairy Wren spotted at the Liffey Falls Reserve Walk. Photo by Jade Hallam

Cambodian carving

Community, Arts and Reviews, FeatureJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

COOL TEMPERATURES during the Tasmanian Craft Fair were a new experience for four visiting Cambodian artists and sculptors demonstrating their skills at the Deloraine event this year.

Accustomed to the 30C-plus temperatures of their homes in Siem Reap in Cambodia’s north, the artists rugged up with scarves and jackets to combat cold November winds.

Their manager, installation artist Svay Sareth, said the four were having an outstanding trip to Tasmania; stone sculptors Rath Phun and Chab Khchao had never been out of Cambodia before he said.

“We are staying in a stone cottage in Dunorlan and loving it,” he said.

“It was arranged for us by the Deloraine Rotarians; we have never stayed in such a place before.

“We are interested to see the support for young artists in Australia; in our country to be an artist is to take a risk.”

Svay, whose large installation art was not being exhibited at the fair but can be seen in Hong Kong, South Korea, Berlin and New York, spoke for the two stone sculptors who have workshops at Artisans D’Angkor in Siem Reap.

There, tourists can see Rath and Chab and other craftspeople at work, using their ancient skills to make replica sculptures to rejuvenate the 9th – 15th century Angkor temple complex on a 162 hectare just outside Siem Reap – temples only uncovered from the jungles in recent decades and which are now Cambodia’s biggest tourist attraction.

The fourth Cambodian, Nguon Savann Melea, is communications director at Artisans D’Angkor and showed fair-goers stunning silk scarves and handbags made from fabrics created at Cambodian silkworm farms and their attached weaving mills.

Svay described bringing large slabs of stone to Tasmania, used by Rath and Chab to sculpt an elephant and an ancient Khmer king during the craft fair.

But he also spoke to Rotarians in particular about the precarious political situation in Cambodia and the impact of China on the world economy.

These subjects are embedded in Svay’s contemporary art, some of which has been collected by the National Gallery in Melbourne. Having grown up in a refugee camp in Cambodia during the 1970s and 1980s, a time of the notorious communist government of Pol Pot, the themes of war and resistance are always present in his work.

Announced Contemporary Asian Artist of the Year in 2016, Svay’s message is ultimately positive: “Artists have the possibility of power to change things for the new generation,” he said

Visiting Cambodian artists displayed their unique talents at the Deloraine Craft Fair this year. Photo by Mike Moores

Visiting Cambodian artists displayed their unique talents at the Deloraine Craft Fair this year. Photo by Mike Moores

Rowing for refugees

News, FeatureJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

AROUND 20 Meander Valley residents took to the water last month to add their voices to other Australians fighting to get child refugees off‰ Nauru.

Battling a stiff‰ wind on Deloraine’s Meander River in their canoes, kayaks and rowboats, they joined 1000 people in Sydney’s Hyde Park who listened to rock idol Jimmy Barnes, around 500 people in Melbourne and 6000 petitioning Australian doctors to demonstrate their strong objections to keeping children on Nauru.

Local organiser Pip Stanley said on the day: “There are still 80 kids on Nauru and they are having to go through the courts to get to Australia.

“The government is saying all will be off‰ by Christmas but we believe there’s no reason they can’t come now.”

According to Guardian Australia, the Federal Government is spending around $300,000 a year fighting legal cases aimed at getting refugees off‰ Nauru, including “a large number of children, among whom there is a worsening mental health crisis and several cases of resignation syndrome – a rare and potentially fatal condition that is considered a reaction to extreme trauma.”

As Deloraine’s own boat people demonstrated their prowess on the water, complete with wobbly rowing and at least one unexpected dip, Reedy Marsh resident and former Meander Primary School principal Graham Pennicott maintained the Australian Government had created “a humanitarian crisis” on Nauru.

Deloraine resident Andy Dunn coxed an inexperienced rowing crew while Mark Kitteridge said he’d just wanted to turn up and make his voice heard on the issue.

Locals Margaret Tabor and John Phelps sported canoe signs saying “Try being humane” and “Sorry?” with John commenting: “My theory is that the Australian PM in 10 years’ time will be saying sorry to these refugees.

Margaret Tabor and John Phelps added their voices to a protest for refugees held on the Meander River.  Photo by Mike Moores

Margaret Tabor and John Phelps added their voices to a protest for refugees held on the Meander River.

Photo by Mike Moores

Kerry’s king of the crop

Events, Rural, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Kerry the rooster ruƒffled a few feathers when he was awarded Best Bird In Show for the second year running at the Deloraine Show. Being firmly at the top of the pecking order, Kerry the Rhode Island Red, certainly has something to crow about. While the prize money may seem like chickenfeed, the award is the top perch when it comes to prestige. Kerry is pictured here with his proud owner, Tony Sherri‹. Photo by Mike Moores

Kerry the rooster ruƒffled a few feathers when he was awarded Best Bird In Show for the second year running at the Deloraine Show. Being firmly at the top of the pecking order, Kerry the Rhode Island Red, certainly has something to crow about. While the prize money may seem like chickenfeed, the award is the top perch when it comes to prestige. Kerry is pictured here with his proud owner, Tony Sherri‹. Photo by Mike Moores

Rafting the rapids

Business, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Lucy Karafilis is one of the first to take on the rapids with new adventure tourism business, Meander Wilderness Experience.

Lucy Karafilis is one of the first to take on the rapids with new adventure tourism business, Meander Wilderness Experience.

November 2018 | Hayley Manning

A MEANDER resident has just launched an innovative river sled business and he couldn’t be happier! Meander Wilderness Experience owner, Daniel Wickham, moved to Meander with his family seven years ago.

He had been working at the Education Department for the past six and a half years but wanted to return to the small business world in a bid to show his children that there is another way of earning an income, besides working for someone else. “I have always just loved being a business owner. I have fleshed out so many potential ideas from a caravan park to a chicken farm but there were half a million things to do and a lot of money required,” he said.

Dan’s previous small business experience helped him get through the seven months of planning and many obstacles that fell his way. “I met so many amazing people and had the best fun ever.” Dan has conducted several test runs with friends, family and professional river guides, including his friend and mentor Nathan Welch, (who has paddled 6,500 km’s down the Amazon River), to ensure safety and provide a framework for the level of experience his guides should have.

After a test run, Dan received positive feedback from Nathan who said: “I think you have got something here,” and the other guides who were amazed at the “vibe on the river.” And Dan couldn’t agree more. “This is a beautiful part of the world that people would not ordinarily see.”

Photo | Mike Moores

A beautiful secret chasm

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
‘A mantle of green spreads on seemingly every surface’, along the Bastion Cascades walk.

‘A mantle of green spreads on seemingly every surface’, along the Bastion Cascades walk.

November 2018 | Tara Ulbrich

IT’S A SECRET chasm with falls that both plummet and step down vertical cliffs. Plant life reaches high and the creek bed is sliced by vertical trunks, uprooted and wedged by rock. A mantle of green spreads on seemingly every surface and overarching this spectacle are massive, curved rock ledges, reducing the scale of a walker’s presence to minuscule.

People speak about preserving isolation and locking away access to sensitive areas. I want to remind them that humanity is not a blight on nature. We belong to nature. We are part of the web. The sensitivity also belongs to us. My companions and I sit at the base of these falls, sipping a thermos of hot tea, taking photos, shifting between silent awe and sharing spotted details.

A luminescent purple fungus, a twisted tree fern curls around a cheese-wood trunk, birdsong calls to us from high above. We simultaneously experience a sense of humility and the importance of doing no harm. Our responsibility is to exchange the sensory pleasure of passing through this forest with the obligation to leave no trace. Stepping on the carpet fall of pepper scented sassafras I imagine the white flowers continuing to drop, covering our footprints.

Bastion Cascades is a comfortable four-hour return. Although mostly walking in rainforest across a southeast face, good shoes are required and be prepared for some scrambling up wet rock. The route is found on a barely marked sidetrack off of the Meander Falls Road. I am going to trust you to do your own research to find the track and trust you to respect the place while you’re there.

Photo | Jade Hallam

A brewer’s list for Christmas

FeatureJoanne Eisemann

November 2018 | Karl Gammler

NOW IS a good time to start thinking about having some quality beer ready for Christmas – two weeks in the FV (fermenting vessel) and a minimum of two weeks in the bottle. Bottle-conditioned kit beer does improve with time.

Between 6 weeks and 3 months it’s generally at its best. Here are some tips to help improve a basic kit (extract) beer:

1. Keep a diary/journal – This is the most important thing you can do. I never had consistent results until I started writing things down.

2. Only use quality ingredients/fermentables. Use a recognised brand of extract and try to use at least half light dried malt in your mix.

3. Temperature control. Most ale yeasts won’t develop unwanted flavours and esters when fermented between 18°C–22°C. Aim for 20°C.

4. Seek out a quality yeast. Use more than 1 packet if only using supplied kit yeast.

5. Increase fermentation time – Allow 2 weeks for your yeast to fully ferment out and clean up after itself when fermenting at lower temperatures. Be patient – really good beer takes time – your hydrometer will tell you when it is ready to bottle or keg.

6. Be clean. Unfortunately, there is no way around this step. Cleaning and sanitising will become second nature, but there are some things you can do to minimise labour time.

7. Gain knowledge, seek advice, ask questions, read books, watch videos. I have been brewing for over 15 years and I am still learning every day The most common mistake with budding beginner brewers is to just use sugar when mixing and then ferment at warm temperatures and bottle after 1 week.

There’s no shame in it, we’ve all done it. After all, this is how the instructions told us to do it. (In Germany, it’s actually illegal to put any sugar in beer.) This method will give you something drinkable, but chances are, it will also have that cidery, home-brewed twang.

This method most benefits the makers of the extract, as you will be buying one tin a week instead of one a fortnight. If you need more than one batch every two weeks, get a second fermenter.

One batch and it will have paid for itself, by not buying store-bought commercial beer. Light dried malt or liquid malt extract will improve your beer enormously, along with a longer ferment at lower temperatures and by using adequate quality yeast. Some dextrose is fine depending on the tin and the style of beer you are brewing.

Some dependable ratios are: 800gLDM/300Dex for ales, half and half for lighter styles. Cut your final volume down a bit as well, between 19 – 22 litres. Experiment! Half the fun is creating your own recipes. But don’t forget to write things down! It’s too easy to make that one spectacular batch and then forget your exact ingredients and technique when you try to repeat the recipe.

For help with all your brewing needs, try Andy at Brew By You, 120 Invermay Road. Little John’s Brewing and Fast Homebrew (both on YouTube) also give in-depth advice and tips.

Recipe for Boag’s XXX Ale (red) clone:

Ingredients: 1 tin of Black Rock Draught,

500g LDM, 500g dextrose.

Method: Mix to 22 litres with a good quality ale yeast (Fermentis US 05 will be sufficient). Let it go for 2 weeks at 20°C. This kit does turn out quite a bit darker than the original XXX but it tastes surprisingly similar. If you choose to increase the malt ratio or use Light Liquid Malt it becomes closer to Boag’s Wizards Smith’s Ale. Good brewing!

Photo | Image Supplied

From scalpels to fire irons

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Meander Vallley man Karl has a long history in working with metal.

Meander Vallley man Karl has a long history in working with metal.

November 2018 | Haley Manning

STANDING IN his long leather apron and stirring a red-hot forge, Karl the Blacksmith shares some memorable snippets from his working life. Despite always having the desire to be a blacksmith, Karl says he began his working career as an apprentice surgical instrument maker at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The study requirements during the five year course were akin to that of a medical degree. “We had to learn Latin terminology, anatomy, bones, physiology and biomechanics. It almost drove me nuts.” On completion of his apprenticeship, Karl was confronted by unforeseen challenges when he entered the workforce.

“It was instilled in me as an apprentice: it didn’t matter how long I took on the job, it had to be perfect for the operating theatre. Perfect. It [the instrument] couldn’t fail under any circumstances. So, of course, the foreman would be onto me with a stopwatch saying: ‘You’ve been two hours on that…what are we going to charge the customer?’ I couldn’t adapt to that.”

Karl says the market dropped off in Australia when everything became mass-produced and disposable. However, Karl notes that Delacrox-Chevalier in France have remained dedicated to the design and manufacture of surgical instruments, although they are often still disposable items.

“Surgeons can order a specialised instrument made from magnificent stainless steel and it will be used once then thrown in the bin, because it is cheaper to throw it away than sterilise it in the autoclave” he said. “It is an unbelievable waste.” Karl picked up a decent pay and learnt some animated aspects of the Italian language working as a bricklayer’s labourer for many years, until he finally took up the ancient art of blacksmithing; a trade that has long been shrouded in mystery due to some of the earliest known folklore tales based on the devil and hellfire.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the blacksmith. Their masterful production of weapons and tools of torture were a guarantee of protection during the Spanish Inquisition. According to Rural Youth Events Manager, Selena Flanagan, Karl the Blacksmith was a crowd favourite at the Agfest Heritage Display for 25 years. “Karl showcased traditional blacksmithing with skills that are both futuristic and creative,” Ms Flanagan said.

Unfortunately, he was forced to retire from Agfest last year due to a knee injury that prevented him transporting his workstation and all the other heavy equipment required for the three days on site. But he says he managed to avoid any major harm to himself over the years, unlike a fellow blacksmith he met at Agfest whose thumbs were “as flat as frogs.” “Don’t think too hard Stevenson…you’ll hurt yourself.”

Karl says he often reflects on the words of wisdom imparted by his grade four teacher. “The essence of Zen Buddhism is to drop the functioning mind entirely, so when I’m working on the anvil, it is automatic – you don’t need the functioning mind and in that respect it’s very therapeutic.”

Photo | Hayley Manning

Vision for venison

Rural, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Michal Frydrych (L) cooks venison with world famous chef Alex Atala. Photo by: Chris Crerar

Michal Frydrych (L) cooks venison with world famous chef Alex Atala. Photo by: Chris Crerar

November 2018 | Lorraine Clarke

THE HUMBLE district of Mole Creek was recently visited by a world-class foodie. Alex Atala is a Brazilian with 70,000 Facebook followers, an ex-punk rocker and DJ turned world-class chef and restaurateur. He owns the São Paolo restaurants, D.O.M., Dalva e Dito and Açougue Central, where he fuses fine dining with wild and wonderful native ingredients from the Amazon basin.

He didn’t set out to be one of the world’s top 10 Chefs, but his restaurant has 2 Michelin stars, and was voted 4th in the world in 2012. Atala has his own TV show and writes cookbooks. He came to Tasmania with his sous-chef Brendan this month in a tour organised by Tourism Northern Tasmania, seeking to taste local produce in its natural environment.

“Hats off to whoever organised the tour and brought Alex Atala here,” said Springfield Deer Farm owner Michal Frydrych, who believes our future lies in getting international exposure for Meander Valley’s superb foods. Michal cooked for and with Atala in the rustic setting of Springfield Deer Farm. He barbecued his own free-range organic venison, cooked a local kangaroo mini-roast and spiced up King Island wallaby with native pepper berries.

Michal also used Stephens’ Honey, and preserves made by Deloraine’s Amble Inn, because his vision is not only about Springfield, but embraces regional foods. Michal, who has won two prestigious delicious Produce Awards, was somewhat daunted at cooking in the presence of such an illustrious epicure. He confessed that he had never roasted kangaroo this way before, but Alex put him at ease by saying,

“Michal, let me help!” Alex is keenly interested in all local products, and willing to use anything. “Personally, I’m an olive oil, garlic and lemon man,” said Michal. “I want people to taste the venison.” Alex immediately requested some Springfield venison to take to the $250 per head Chromy’s Dinner where he was guest chef that night. Michal also took venison to TAFE where Alex was doing a cooking demonstration.

“Local chefs are scared of venison,” said Michal. “They don’t know what to do with it. We need to change people’s mental approach. It’s about educating the chefs. Showing them where free range venison is produced, how it is prepared.”

Michal is delighted to arrange a one-on-one farm visit for professional chefs wishing to learn how to prepare venison. “People are preaching paddock-to-plate, but very few understand it.” They come to Springfield Deer Farm and see the fallow deer herd free-ranging on the side of a mountain overlooking Mole Creek, where they have the best life before being harvested in their prime, under stress-free conditions, on-site at Michal’s licensed abattoir.

Springfield Venison is sold at the monthly Deloraine and Mole Creek Markets, and farm gate sales by arrangement. Froggie’s Bakery makes venison pies, Westbury’s Gourmet Butcher and Casalinga in Launceston produce venison smallgoods. Deloraine Deli and the Empire Hotel feature venison on their menus.

Michal recently returned from his sell-out stall at Flavours of Tasmania held in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, where he was among many other Tasmanian food producers showcasing our superb gourmet fare ranging from bottled water through beers, wines and spirits, seafood, chocolates, smallgoods, dairy, condiments and, of course, venison.

Senator Eric Abetz has organised this annual event for over 15 years and developed it into the go-to social event in Canberra, an unmatched promotional opportunity for Tasmanian producers. This year it was attended by over 500 international ambassadors, business and community leaders and parliamentarians.

“Hardly anyone in Canberra knew where Meander Valley is,” said Michal, who has a fervour for putting Mole Creek on the tourist and foodie map. He is impressed that our parliamentarians are doing so much to promote our area as a source of the finest quality organic produce.

Photo | Chris Crerar

On track for another Frost

Sport, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
At just 16 years old, Westbury young gun Tate Frost is holding his own on the national circuit.

At just 16 years old, Westbury young gun Tate Frost is holding his own on the national circuit.

November 2018 | Danny Ross

I’M SURE most readers will know what a go-kart is and there are probably a few who would be able to describe what a sprintcar looks like. But I wonder how many would know that Westbury is home to possibly one of the brightest go-kart and sprintcar talents the country has ever seen?

With around 300 starts under his belt and some 60 odd trophies on the shelf, Tate Frost has had podium finishes against some of the best karters in the nation, if not the world, and is fast becoming the next car racing sensation in Australia. And he is just 16 years of age.

With a pedigree of car racers in his blood (his father Anthony and grandfather David were both racers in their own right), Tate is on track to surpass his forefathers’ successes and become one of the best this country has seen. Tate started go-karting when he was 9 years old and had his first competition win a year later at Smithton. He now races throughout Tasmania and is a frequent competitor on many of the mainland tracks.

Already he has picked up three Tasmanian Championship title wins and in 2016 Tate was awarded the “Tasmanian Karter of the Year” trophy after an outstanding season winning 24 races from 24 starts in his class. In August of this year, Tate competed in the 5th Round of the Australian Championship in Victoria and, after being placed in two heats, eventually finished 5th in a field of 36 in the Final. It should be noted that this field contained both national and overseas competitors including past champions.

Just last year, Tate started to race in sprintcar events and has already managed a podium finish in Hobart. The team is quietly confident the new season will bring Tate his first sprintcar win. Apart from exceptional skill and talent, Tate’s success is in no small way due to the dedication of his racing team and especially the determined and resolute support from his family. When asked about his plans for the immediate future, Tate says he’ll be looking to become a mechanic when he leaves school at St Patrick’s College in Launceston.

Presently Tate and his racing team are very busy fitting out the new transport vehicle for the team and cars. The huge articulated truck doesn’t just hold two cars; there are partitions and shelves everywhere for spare parts, extra frames and sets of wheels and tyres. And, up front is a small lounge area complete with couches, TV, fridge and microwave for the crew. The van even has a pop-up rooftop, which provides the crew with the perfect vantage point for viewing the races. As far as his future in racing goes, Tate says,

“Hopefully I’ll get to race in America.” Atop Tate’s wish list is to race in the NASCAR series. As he says, “It’s a big dream but we’ll be right to get there.” His father Anthony says, “My plan is that within five years he’ll be racing in America.” And his mother Deb adds confidently, “I don’t think there is any doubt that Tate will succeed in his racing future.”

And, with such a dedicated team at his side and such solid family backing, there is no reason to believe he won’t achieve his ultimate goal to compete on the NASCAR circuit. Further information on go-karting and sprintcar racing can be found on Facebook at AFR Anthony Frost Racing. You will also be able to keep up-to-date with Tate’s progress and see pictures of the new transporter.

Photo | Mike Moores

Fairy tales for fido

News, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
After a few sniffs and a wag of his tail, Bowza, a 6-year-old ‘pound hound’, settled on the mat next to his new friend Alyssa.

After a few sniffs and a wag of his tail, Bowza, a 6-year-old ‘pound hound’, settled on the mat next to his new friend Alyssa.

October 2018 | Marguerite McNeil

JUST A couple of years older than her new pal, the Deloraine Primary grade 2 student smiled and then picked up a book and started to read. Stroking the dog with one hand, Alssya relaxed and read out loud while Bowza fidgeted a bit before settling into his ‘story dog’ role. Enjoying the novelty of the program, Alyssa said it was good fun to practice reading with a dog.

Aimed at improving reading skills and developing fluency and confidence, the story dogs program encourages children to read aloud to entertain a dog in a relaxing and non-threatening way. Story dogs go through some intensive training before being accepted as visitors into schools where they spend time with students listening to them read. And from all accounts the outcomes of the program are to be applauded. It is said that as well as being great listeners story dogs are non-judgemental and have a calming effect that encourages children to relax and try harder when they read.

In such a setting, childrens’ focus improves, their literacy skills increase and their confidence soars. Handler Alison Scott said that it was Bowza’s first year in the program and once the vest was on he knew that he was working and coming to school. She said that as well as listening to the children reading he could tell when they were struggling with a word and would give them a nudge to help them along.

Enthused by the success of the program she has seen a vast improvement in the reading skills of many children who have taken part, with some now reading twice as many books as before in the same time frame.

Photo | Mike Moores

Timber given kiss of life

News, Events, Feature, ArtsJoanne Eisemann
Launceston’s Simon Ancher will be demonstrating the use of hydrowood at this year’s Craft Fair.

Launceston’s Simon Ancher will be demonstrating the use of hydrowood at this year’s Craft Fair.

October 2018 | David Claridge

THERE IS an intriguing display set for the Deloraine Craft Fair this November - expertly crafted wooden furniture and other items - and it’s intriguing because the wood comes from underwater.

Hydrowood has been salvaged from below Lake Pieman from the wild west coast of Tasmania and given to the creative hands of four selected craftsmen to present and answer questions at the fair.

Around 25 years ago, Lake Pieman was dammed to generate hydro-electricity and many rare trees were submerged and forgotten. They were rediscovered in 2012 and, with some ingenuity, they were harvested, brought to the surface and used. Deloraine Craft Fair Director Lesley Dare is looking forward to showcasing Hydrowood to Craft Fair visitors.

“Hydrowood is not about cutting down trees, it’s about rediscovered trees lost at the bottom of Lake Pieman.”

“Through the ingenuity of Tasmanians, they’ve invented this system where they can retrieve the timber.

“We’re showing the whole process from harvesting to crafting at the fair. Four of the top craftspeople in Tasmania have been selected to use the wood, show what they made from it, and host master classes. Craftsman Geoff Marshall has used Hydrowood to make a variety of furniture including a light, a chair and an ottoman.

“I was at university when they were first doing studies on the wood. That is when I first learned about it” he said. “I think it’s a great story of how the wood has been rediscovered and made available for us to use. It’s an amazing product.”

Another Craftsman, Toby Muir-Wilson, is working on nine illustrated panels.

“It will take about 4-5 weeks to complete them. I’m aiming to show a variety of ways in which you can texture and colour the wood,” he said. “It’s an interesting project to be involved in.”

One of the chosen artists, Simon Ancher, has been working with Hydrowood since the beginning. He will be looking for feedback on some benches he has worked hard on.  “I love the fact that we have a second chance to make good use of an amazing resource, a precious resource that was thought to be lost.

“I feel very fortunate to have visited the operation on Lake Pieman. It’s an inspiring part of Tasmania and for me as a designer/maker I feel the connection to place and material is strong.” Huon pine, Sassafras, Eucalypt, Celery Top and Western Beech are some of the special kinds of wood that have been discovered.

A brochure describes the quality like this: “Hydrowood has a purity. No rusty nails or bolts from a previous life. Instead, untouched grain. Not salvaged timber, long dead on a musty floor but rare timber Master Builders dream of.”

Photo | Mike Moores

A fast and furious final

Sport, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
bracknell contends grand final2018cropped.jpg

October 2018

Bracknell Seniors made the finals this year and played South Launceston at Windsor Park. In the first quarter Bracknell stormed onto the field and were all over the opposition like a cheap suit.

The play was fast and aggressive not giving Launceston time to settle. South Launceston must have received a severe pep talk because the second quarter saw them come out firing on all cylinders and soon wiped out Bracknell’s lead and went on to establish a comfortable lead by the end of the quarter and were never headed.

Congratulations to Bracknell Reserves who also played South Launceston in the Grand Final and took out the premiership with a 20 point margin

Photo | Mike Moores

Red Caviar?

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Spring is in the air and foaling is well underway at Grenville thoroughbred stud at Whitemore. Pictured is a 10 day-old foal by Lionhearted (a relative of Black Caviar) enjoying a gallop in the warm sunshine with his mum, Feisty Rose.

Spring is in the air and foaling is well underway at Grenville thoroughbred stud at Whitemore. Pictured is a 10 day-old foal by Lionhearted (a relative of Black Caviar) enjoying a gallop in the warm sunshine with his mum, Feisty Rose.

SEPTEMBER 2018 | Lorraine Clarke

THOROUGHBRED RACING projects a glamour image, and is a significant industry in Tasmania where our climate and rich pastures nurture many champions. Behind the scenes however, there is lots of hard graft, muck and mud, especially in a winter as wet as we have just endured.

Welcome spring days herald the newest generation of racehorses. Years of dreams of breeders and owners are condensed into elegant long-legged foals matching strides with their dams as they dance across the grass, warm sun on their backs and skylarks rejoicing above.

Grenville Stud’s Graeme McCulloch loves this time of year, although 24-hour foaling duty means many sleepless nights. Foals are carefully planned to arrive as soon after 1st August as possible, as this is the southern hemisphere’s official horses’ birthday. Early foals have the longest time to grow into strong two-year olds before their first racing season begins.

Several foals already grace the fields at Whitemore, and about 40 mares will foal there this season.

Two stallions stand at stud at Grenville. Group 1 winner Mawingo by Tertullian out of Montfleur collected over $1million in Germany, Singapore and Australia. His first progeny have impressed buyers at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale, with a top price of $47,500.

Zululand (Fastnet Rock, Dream Play[USA]) was a $1.5M Easter Yearling who showed brilliant 2YO speed and won the Group 2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes. Zululand replaces the stallion Lionhearted, also by Fastnet Rock and related to Black Caviar, sadly lost during his first season at stud last year, after having sired 16 foals.

Graeme trains racehorses at his property, and likes to break in a couple of yearlings at a time. He also grows crops of potatoes and poppies, as well as the hay to feed all Grenville’s future champions.


Photo | Mike Moores