Meander Valley Gazette

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Westbury Prison already locked in?

News, People and Places, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Meander Valley Mayor Wayne Johnston, Corrections Minister Elise Archer and John Tucker, Liberal Member for Lyons, announce the proposed site of the new Northern Regional Prison, at the Westbury Industrial Precinct, just over the Bass Highway from the historic Westbury township.

Photo by Mike Moores

Meander Valley Mayor Wayne Johnston, Corrections Minister Elise Archer and John Tucker, Liberal Member for Lyons, announce the proposed site of the new Northern Regional Prison, at the Westbury Industrial Precinct, just over the Bass Highway from the historic Westbury township.

Image supplied  Visualisation of the new Northern Regional Prison the state government plans to build on the outskirts of Westbury, at 135 Birralee Road.

Image supplied

Visualisation of the new Northern Regional Prison the state government plans to build on the outskirts of Westbury, at 135 Birralee Road.

By Sharon Webb

THE TASMANIAN Government’s announcement of Westbury as the proposed site for a new $270m prison is already taking a toll among residents and local councillors.

Residents are lobbying councillors to protest about the stigma of Westbury becoming a prison town.

And Meander Valley Council Mayor Wayne Johnston was clearly affected on ABC Radio in a discussion about online trolling of councillors. He advised listeners to take up their problems with the prison with the state government not the council.

Councillor John Temple said around six residents a day drop into his Westbury gallery to vent their opinions.

‘People are very much against the proposal,’ he said.

‘They are aware of the social changes it may bring to this community and the nature of the area. It’s also a fear of the unknown.

‘We knew we may get a prison co-located with Ashley and were imagining a smaller prison. We had no thoughts of maximum security.’

Minister for Corrections Elise Archer last week announced that the site for the 270-bed prison would be on the outskirts of the historic village of Westbury, on the property at 135 Birralee Road.

Currently Glen Avon Farms, a 401 hectare site whose owners are located in the UK, the property is now used by a sister company Selborne Biological to produce animal blood products.

Ms Archer said the site was chosen from ten expressions of interest by landowners but would not comment on the other nine locations.

The government has negotiated a conditional contract on 41 hectares of Glen Avon Farms’ land. The prison’s footprint will be 13 hectares.

Advance preparation for the announcement was obvious, with roll-up banners printed for the announcement press conference, flyers dropped in Westbury letterboxes within 48 hours and an information website made available.

Acting Meander Valley Council general manager Jonathan Harmey said the next step is for the State Government to apply to council to rezone the land.

The project will be advertised and the public can make submissions in support or against it. The final decision is made by the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

Ms Archer, along with the website and flyers, emphasised the positive outcomes of the project as jobs for people in the area. ‘Hundreds of jobs during construction over five and ten year phases and 250 people employed permanently once in full operation.’

She was echoed by Meander Valley councillor Andrew Sherriff. ‘It’s a spend of $270m in this municipality – how can it not be a good thing?

‘The prison has got to go somewhere. I’d be more than happy to have it in Deloraine where I live. We have Ashley Detention Centre here – is that a big problem?’

Commenting on recent prison break-outs Cllr Sherriff maintained, that unlike the ageing Risdon prison, the new Northern Regional Prison would be a state-of-the-art high security prison: ‘I don’t know how you’d scale a six metre concrete wall.’

Cllr Frank Nott said, ‘This is a social justice advantage for prisoners from north and north-west Tasmania to have more access to their families.

‘The disadvantage is that noone wants it in their backyard. There’s a stigma attached to suburbs like Risdon Vale.’

History has deep roots at Westbury Primary

Community, Events, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo supplied  The Badcock and Rootes families have a long history at Westbury Primary. Back row: Kim Rootes (nee Badcock) 1972–1976; Brian Badcock 1944–1950;Natalie Brown (nee Rootes) 1999-2005. Front row: Zoe Brown 2016–present; Lily Brown 2019.

Photo supplied

The Badcock and Rootes families have a long history at Westbury Primary. Back row: Kim Rootes (nee Badcock) 1972–1976; Brian Badcock 1944–1950;Natalie Brown (nee Rootes) 1999-2005. Front row: Zoe Brown 2016–present; Lily Brown 2019.

THIS OCTOBER, Westbury Primary School will celebrate 180 years of education with a Birthday Fair.

Multiple generations of local families have attended the school and current and former students will be able to have their names associated with the school permanently with the purchase of pavers to be laid in the school’s quadrangle.

Up to three names can be put on each paver and the cost will be $10 for current students and $50 for former students (per paver). Pavers can be purchased at the fair on the 25th October in the history room. Funds from the pavers will help upgrade of the canteen facilities at the school.

Five generations on both sides of Natalie Brown’s family (the Rootes and the Badcocks) have attended the school.

‘We have gone back as far as my great grandfather, Ernest Rootes who attended Westbury Primary School around 1896,’ said Natalie. ‘We have such a connection to the school and the area that my children Zoe and Lily currently attend the school. The children at the school are caring and friendly and the village is so community minded. We can’t wait to celebrate this milestone in October.’

For information on Westbury 180 go to the Westbury180 Facebook page or email Westbury180@outlook.com.

Creative women

Community, Arts & Artisans, FeatureJoanne Eisemann

By Hayley Manning

THE TASMANIAN Craft Fair, held annually in Deloraine, is an opportune time for visitors and locals to look around and find the artists who live and work in the Meander Valley all year round.

Deloraine Creative Studios on Emu Bay Road is a hub for all sorts of artists and craftspeople who work from their own creative spaces within the building. Other artists and craftspeople sell their art through the Studios and Pottery Hub.

All photos by Hayley Manning

Karen Scott-Hoy from Hawley Beach is a volunteer at the Studios and a Pottery Hub artist. She is adept at ceramic sculpture and carving large and miniature items from Huon pine, often combining the two to great effect. Karen recently took up needle felting, a technique that involves stabbing felt wool with barbed needles in order to bind the wool fibres together to create a solid fabric. She is currently making a series of Australian birds using locally sourced supplies from Highland Felting and Fibre.

Karen Scott-Hoy

Karen Scott-Hoy

In Studio 10, Leanne Ames of Migrimah Arts completed a TAFE Diploma of Art and Craft Design at four years ago. She creates her pieces with creative knotting, weaving and sumac, using natural, biodegradable materials, inspiration coming from Tasmanian old growth forests, the earth, mosses and ferns. Leanne uses a natural dye process with bush leaves and the use of fire. ‘I feel connected to a very ancient past, that is elusive, spiritual and a wonder.’

Leanne Ames and grand-daughter Alyssa Lord

Leanne Ames and grand-daughter Alyssa Lord

Marilyn Patton of Studio 14 is a retired social worker who enjoys painting still life, flowers, landscapes, portraits and commission work. She travels from Ulverstone every fortnight and welcomes visitors to watch her paint. Marilyn was a finalist in the inaugural Women’s Art Prize Tasmania last year, and will submit another painting in October this year. ‘I come here quite a lot because I like to be here and interact with others. You know, when you get older, if you isolate yourself so much, it’s not good for you.’

Marilyn Patton

Marilyn Patton

Nell Carr – a remarkable life

People and Places, Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Nell Carr, in the garden at the Western Tiers Visitors Centre which she tended for many years with the Garden Girls and where she is now garden consultant.

Photo by Mike Moores

Nell Carr, in the garden at the Western Tiers Visitors Centre which she tended for many years with the Garden Girls and where she is now garden consultant.

By Hayley Manning

A LARGE contingency of the Deloraine Days for Girls were joined by other well-wishers to present Nell Carr with the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, at the Bush Inn on 12 August.

The award was presented to Nell in acknowledgement of the countless hours she has dedicated to volunteer work over her remarkable life. From Meals on Wheels to Secretary of the Deloraine Film Society, she has thrown herself into many varied roles over the years.

And despite recently reaching her 93rd year, the dynamo has no immediate plans to retire from the volunteer positions that reflect her long-held passions in life – education and gardening.

Nell is a Deloraine House Community Garden Volunteer, and continues to maintain the Commonwealth Bank garden.

Meander Valley’s very own garden guru, Nell tended the Great Western Tiers Visitor Centre garden with the Garden Girls for many years, and has been appointed garden consultant.

The third of six children, Nell Carr grew up on the Dunorlan farm founded by her father on land made available for servicemen who had served in the Great War. Her mother was the daughter of a neighbouring farmer. Nell, her husband and first two children returned to Tasmania from Scotland in 1953. She has lived on the farm ever since.

A writer for the former Great Western Tiers local newspaper, Nell currently writes the knowledgeable gardening column for the Meander Valley Gazette.

Nell organised short courses that included gardening with the former host of the ABC’s Gardening Australia, Peter Cundall, when she introduced and coordinated Adult Education courses in Deloraine.

The Gazette recently contacted Peter who was delighted to hear about Nell’s ongoing activities. ‘The Nell I know and love is an absolute inspiration, a modern-day philanthropist of the gardening universe,’ Peter said. ‘

My personal list of all-time great gardening minds would read: Jane Edmanson, Costa Georgiadis, Don Burke, Jamie Durie, the groundskeeper at Keilor East Recreation Reserve and Nell Carr.’

Nell, the long-term advocate for education joined Days for Girls in 2015, to make sanitary products so Nepalese school girls ‘don’t have to miss school a few days each month.

‘I have met such very interesting people in Days for Girls. As you get older, it’s more important to relate to your fellows.

If everyone stopped volunteering, the whole community would fall to bits, I’m afraid.’ Nell Carr, MVG 2015

Nell recalled aspects of her own education during her award evening speech. ‘Our father being a poor soldier-settler, could only afford to send my three sisters, two brothers and myself to high school for three years each, as it meant paying board for all of us in Launceston.’

After high school, Nell landed her first job in Launceston as a messenger girl. ‘The only qualifications were that I had a bike. But no experience is wasted – it gave me an intimate knowledge of the CBD.’

A young Nell met her husband-to-be, a Scotsman in the Navy, and they married in Sydney before going to Scotland to live. After several years, the couple and their small two children, Deidre and Geoffrey returned to the Dunorlan farm to build a family home, where sons Alistair and Clive were later born.

Nell’s interest in further education was piqued when she read her daughter’s UTAS Hobart study notes. She said if uni ever became available in Launceston she would enrol.

First year university classes were eventually offered at the Adult Education building in High Street, Launceston.

The courses Nell completed there were acknowledged when she completed an off-campus Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in History and Politics, as a mature age student.

The epitome of ‘blooming good health’, Nell credits her robust resilience with her life on the farm where she was born.

‘Life was tough. Up at 4.30 on frosty, dark mornings to milk the cows, followed by a walk across several farms to catch a train to school.’

She was still milking cows on the farm well into her 70s. Nell Carr is a credit to her family and the Meander Valley community.

On behalf of those in the Meander Valley and elsewhere who have had the pleasure and privilege to spend time with her, the Meander Valley Gazette would like to say thank you to Nell for her ongoing contribution to the community through all her hard work.

No blowing raspberries – local café wins tourism award

People and Places, Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Café supervisor Peta Robinson, chef Michael Lambert and manager Elise Chilcott – proud of their staff, service and food – now proud customer experience award winners.

Photo by Mike Moores

Café supervisor Peta Robinson, chef Michael Lambert and manager Elise Chilcott – proud of their staff, service and food – now proud customer experience award winners.

By Sharon Webb

IN LATE afternoon on a mid-winter day the atmosphere at Raspberry Farm Café in Christmas Hills is cosy.

Outside the wind is bitter but a fire burns brightly in the generous fireplace and afternoon tea customers tuck in to scones with raspberry jam and cream and delicious-looking desserts.

It’s tempting to think it’s all about the luscious food - but the ambience and the view of the small lake and surrounding fields take the last bit of tension out of tight shoulder muscles.

But all of that is not why Raspberry Farm Café recently won the Great Customer Experience Award given by the Tasmanian Hospitality Association.

The association recognised the efforts of the venue owners and their staff in providing their customers with a great customer experience, measurable through social media analysis.

Customers have a memorable experience at the café, comment on Facebook, Instagram and Tripadvisor – and then Raspberry Farm Café comments back, setting up a conversation. It’s interactive.

According to manager Elise Chilcott, ‘We have almost 15,000 likes on Facebook, quite a heavy traffic page.

‘We respond quickly to comments and aim to answer every question. We respond in some way to everyone who posts a photo. For everyone there is some sort of acknowledgment.’

The award was a complete surprise.

Unlike many tourism awards, Raspberry Farm Café did not nominate themselves. Yet there they are in the fabulous company of fellow Tasmanian venues such as Black Cow Bistro, the Watergarden Bar and St Helens Furneaux Restaurant.

So, after beginning as a tin shed on the side of the road selling raspberries and soft drinks, what does a 25 year old café in rural Tasmania need to do to win a great customer experience award?

Oh yes, the location and ambience come into it, as does the imaginative food. ‘Customers want raspberries. You find a place and we’ll put a raspberry in it! ’ says Elise.

But Raspberry Farm Café has also put in the hard yards with customer service, training staff to acknowledge customers within five seconds of entering the café and to read the needs of every table.

‘Customer service expectations have changed – it must be way better than it ever was,’ said Elise.

‘With the advent of social media we must be consistently good at what we do.’

According to café supervisor Peta Robertson reading each table is key.

‘It’s about responsiveness: tourists like us to know the area, some people want a joke around the table while others want us to deliver the meal and leave them to it.’

Good staff with the right attitude and skills are critical, says Elise.

‘We have a stable local staff of around 26 in winter. In summer staff numbers grow to 40 plus.

‘Former staff members call from overseas to ask if they can a have a summer job. We don’t often advertise – it’s mainly word-of-mouth.’

Raspberry Farm Café understands its clientele to the extent that it doesn’t just employ cheaper juniors.

‘We’re looking for people who want to work, who have different levels of experience, different personalities, aged into their sixties,’ said Peta.

‘We have absolutely amazing staff; we’re a team, it’s a team environment, we can’t do it alone.’

And finally, yes, it is about the food. A few weeks ago a special dessert with the unlikely name of A Walk in the Forest splashed on social media with 462 likes and 301 comments: chocolate mud soil sprouts magic mushrooms and raspberry cream-filled tuile logs adorn the delightful scene.

‘We serve a raspberry latté, a soup all year round and raspberry waffles will never leave our menu,’ Elise said.

Another thing: this café makes 8.5 tonnes of chocolate-covered raspberries a year. Yes. And they give away 3.5 tonnes over the counter.

Elise has recommendations for start-up cafés.

‘Know where your values are, and your community and their expectations. And once you’ve got your brand, whatever that may be, build on that.’

Of course, having chocolate-coated raspberries on the counter is a big help as well.

The Forest Folk at work

Arts & Artisans, Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Jasmine Rocca of Jackey‘s Marsh, an instructor at the Forest Folk workshops, preparing plants and fabric for dyeing with Bonnie McGee of Weetah.

Photo by Mike Moores

Jasmine Rocca of Jackey‘s Marsh, an instructor at the Forest Folk workshops, preparing plants and fabric for dyeing with Bonnie McGee of Weetah.

NESTLED IN a child-friendly wooded wonderland in Jackey’s Marsh, the Forest Folk recently hosted a fun eco-printing workshop.

Jasmine Rocca and Alena Leek are two ladies who have been running a nature club each Tuesday at Deloraine Primary.

They run programs for children, teaching such natural crafts as making lavender bags, growing eggshell gardens, making hommus and colouring fabrics with natural plant dyes. So successful have these programs been that they hope to expand into other schools.

Jasmine and Alena decided it was unfair for kids to have all the fun, so they have extended their workshops to teach natural skills to adults.

First on the agenda was a forest walk to gather a selection of leaves, wattle blossoms, vines, barks, buds and other vegetation.

An imposing steel tripod supported a blazing outdoor fire that dispelled the winter chills, and boiled two large pots of water.

Back at the work tables, lengths of recycled fabric were sprayed with vinegar water.

Leaves were dipped into a bowl of rusty water, then shaken off, and arranged in pleasing designs on one edge of the fabric. The other side of the fabric was folded on top of the leaves. All was rolled around lengths of bamboo, secured with twine, then tossed into the boiling water, one coloured with turmeric.

An hour of convivial tea drinking and story swapping later, the bamboo rolls were retrieved and laid out with much oohing and aahing as the fabric revealed its secrets.

All were amazed at the almost photographic clarity of tiny details in leaves and buds, and the range of muted colours.

The many prints were hung out to dry on a line, some of them turmeric-yellow with the tie-dye effect of the twine adding more interest.

That such a delightful result could be achieved in little more than an hour was motivation to experiment more with this simple, fail safe technique at home.

Jasmine and Alena explained that their intention is to use only found or recycled objects to create beautiful crafts. They source all their boiling pots, tongs, fabric and rusty objects from tip shops and op shops. The only thing bought retail was vinegar.

The Forest Folk will be teaching eco-printing at Cygnet Folk Festival next January, but until then, they have a great program of other fun, nature-based skill-building workshops at Deloraine.

So if you have ever yearned to whittle, learn bush survival skills, make your own clay bead jewellery, colour fleece and fabric with dyes made from your own garden plants, twine flax into cordage and weave useful baskets, identify and collect edible mushrooms from the forest, and even grow your own shiitake mushroom logs, the Forest Folk can grant your wishes.

Materials are included in the cost for each course, and you can take home anything you have made (including two shiitake logs!)

To view the full range of workshops that are available and to make bookings, go to: www.theforestfolk.com.au. Email jasminerocca@gmail. com or call/text 0422 193 971 for enquiries.

Raising the flag on NAIDOC Week

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Cold and rainy weather for Deloraine did not put off attendees from celebrating at this year’s NAIDOC Week ceremony. Deloraine Elder Hank Horton holds baby Layken West while helping to raise the flag .  Photo by Mike Moores

Cold and rainy weather for Deloraine did not put off attendees from celebrating at this year’s NAIDOC Week ceremony. Deloraine Elder Hank Horton holds baby Layken West while helping to raise the flag .

Photo by Mike Moores

Celebration of NAIDOC Week

By Hayley Manning

NAIDOC WEEK celebrations at Deloraine still drew impressive numbers despite the challenging conditions on the day.

The National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee theme for 2019 was based on reforms in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart, that acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

Voice. Treaty. Truth. ‘Let’s work together for a shared future.’

This delivered a powerful message and created impact in the national media during the 7–14 July NAIDOC Week.

However, the overarching message to emerge from the intense week of discussions was the importance of community. Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt spoke of ‘community pathways’ that allowed each community to have a voice.

Organising the Deloraine event for the first time, Melinda Scott said NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to engage in, and therefore protect, ancient cultural rituals by teaching the next generation while educating the wider community about the achievements and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Melinda planned traditional activities throughout the day, starting with a Welcome to Country, spoken in palawa kani, with poise by Laura Tatnell, which was apt as this is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The indigenous voice of Australia is over 65 000 years old, but Melinda says many stopped using their language when they were relocated.

‘They were ‘rewired’ – they became indecisive. If you lose your voice, you lose everything you have ever stood for. Without the Elders and their knowledge and their voice, we wouldn’t be where we are today, or as knowledgeable as we are.’

Several guest speakers also focused on strong community ties. Founder of the Kooparoona Niara Cultural Trail (Great Western Tiers Mountain of Spirits), Greg Murray, initiated the NAIDOC Week for Deloraine five years ago. ‘The local community has been very positive and supportive right from the start, with respect for our Elders, respect for our culture. It is about everyone being culturally connected.’

Meander Valley Mayor Wayne Johnston’s address also captured the community spirit. ‘In times past we may have been marching, but today it is a walk and the steps we take, we take together.’

Melinda would like to thank Jill Harvey for cooking and catering, the Deloraine Trade Centre trainees, Meander Valley Council and everyone who attended on the day

180 years in Westbury!

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
web_2019_08_02_westbury_ logo.jpg
Westbury children line up to go inside the impressive bluestone building that once housed Westbury State School. Tasmanian archives: Westbury State School (1953).  Photo supplied

Westbury children line up to go inside the impressive bluestone building that once housed Westbury State School. Tasmanian archives: Westbury State School (1953).

Photo supplied

THIS YEAR in October, Westbury Primary School will celebrate its 180th birthday, an impressive milestone for Tasmania and Australia.

The school was established in 1839 at its current location on Taylor Street where an impressive bluestone building once stood.

On 25 October, the school will host a school open day followed by a fun-filled fair.

The open day will begin at 1.30pm with students conducting tours of the school and classrooms. Meander Valley Mayor Wayne Johnston will unveil a commemorative plaque and a student art installation.

Students have collaborated with local singer-songwriter Patrick Gambles who will perform the song with students for the first time at the celebrations. Music will continue with a performance from the school band.

Maypole dancing will launch the fair at 4pm, celebrating the school’s long tradition of Maypole dancing.

The school is keen to hear from former dancers, to perform alongside current dancers at the fair.

School Principal Christine Brown says the school would like to hear from former students about their memories of attending the school, particularly from families where multiple generations have attended.

Delicious food will be on offer with a BBQ and woodfired pizzas from the community garden. All proceeds will go back to the school.

The fair will include face painting, puppeteers, jumping castles, traditional fair games and local food trucks.

For more information about the day, please contact:

Stacey Tweedale, Communications Coordinator, 0413 453 567 or Christine Brown, Principal, 03 6393 1373, Westbury180@ outlook.com, #Westbury180.

Westbury factory supporting salmon industry

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
CEO David Lord, (orange vest), manager Johnny Cabercas (far left) and some of the local workers now employed by Ridley at Westbury.  Photo by Mike Moores

CEO David Lord, (orange vest), manager Johnny Cabercas (far left) and some of the local workers now employed by Ridley at Westbury.

Photo by Mike Moores

By Sharon Webb

A $50M factory manufacturing food for Tasmania’s salmon farming industry has opened officially at Westbury’s industrial zone, Valley Central.

Australian manufacturer of farm animal and pet food, Ridley currently supplies Petuna and Tassal with salmon food, as well as NZ customers.

Ridley’s CEO, David Lord, said the plant currently employs 20 locals: commissioning had been smooth although managers are still fine-tuning.

‘With this world-class technology we are able to produce 50 000 tonnes a year on a five day shift structure,’ he said. ‘Our intention is to have the capacity to go to round the clock, seven day shifts if warranted.’ Westbury factory supporting salmon industry

‘We have relationships with all major salmon producers and now we have made this commitment to be their local Tasmanian supplier, we are looking forward to their support.’

Launching the plant, Premier Will Hodgman said it is expected to inject about $21 million a year into the local economy.

‘Ridley’s new facility is also strategically important for our salmon industry, increasing the supply of locally sourced, high quality feed product to meet projected industry growth,’ he said.

‘The aquaculture sector is a significant contributor to the Tasmanian economy and to support growth and protect our position, the industry must remain competitive in all aspects of the supply chain.’

Ridley uses extrusion technology to produce salmon food and can also produce dry pet food, Mr Lord said.

The ingredients are high quality and locally sourced as much as possible.

Plant construction involved 350 project managers, contractors and sub-contractors across 40 companies, of which 90 percent were Tasmanian.

In approving the plant, Tasmania’s EPA acknowledged the problem of odour emissions 15 times the allowable levels at the plant boundaries, indicated by Ridley’s own testing.

It stipulated Ridley must submit quarterly air testing results in its first operating year and twice a year after that, keep a complaints register and notify the authority of complaints within 24 hours

Alpacas with Maracas and kids!

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Mole creek Primary School was visited by llamas to help celebrate National Simultaneous Storytime.  Photo supplied

Mole creek Primary School was visited by llamas to help celebrate National Simultaneous Storytime.

Photo supplied

By Jessica Marston, teacher librarian at Hagley Farm School

ON 22 May students from across the Meander Valley joined over 1 million children in Australia and New Zealand for National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS), all sharing the same book, Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove.

This was the 19th year of the NSS, which is an event aimed at promoting the value of reading and literacy, the fun of books, and an Australian author and publisher.

Hagley Farm School took advantage of their own reallife alpacas with children from Kinder to Grade 6 enjoying a live-feed from the alpaca paddock.

Visitors’ Centre staff member Mr Tyson introduced the story with help from Maggie, Snowy, Noelle and Blinky Bill. This video can still been seen on the Hagley Visitor Centre Facebook page.

The children then watched the Story Box Library version of the story read by the author Matt Cosgrove and ABC TV identity Jimmy Rees (Jimmy Giggle).

At Bracknell Primary School, Mr Eeles read the story and Mrs Strickland provided the sound effects, while children were able to see the story unfold on the interactive whiteboard.

Mole Creek Primary School had visiting llamas for the day and made lots of alpaca themed crafts. They made their own maracas and even learnt and performed a song about alpacas with maracas!

Deloraine Primary School students were joined by Early Learners from the Toddle Inn Childcare Centre. Mr Samphier filmed Mrs Groenewold reading the story, adding lots of sound effects as well. As children watched this film in their classrooms they felt as if Mrs Groenewold was actually in the story.

Westbury Primary School Prep/1 and 1/2 classes walked to Westbury Library to take part in their NSS event. Anne-Marie Loader from the Deloraine Library kept them engaged with a lively reading of the book. Afterwards they shared library books together and made an alpaca collage.

Giant Steps students from Prep to Grade 12 watched the key-sign video and read along with the story. As well as following up with some craft activities, the children learned the key-signs for alpacas and maracas with some help from their speech pathologists.

At Our Lady of Mercy, Kinder to Grade 2 students followed up the story by making their own maracas using rice, disposable spoons and masking tape. The students then had fun playing songs with their maracas.

For those who didn’t get a chance to join in with the fun of this year’s NSS event, Westbury Show are planning to feature an alpaca display in November this year, which will likely include another

reading of this very engaging

book.

Piping hot and fresh from the garden

Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
From left, Tanya King, David Hudson and Howard Hor sampling soup at the community garden.  Photo by Mike Moores

From left, Tanya King, David Hudson and Howard Hor sampling soup at the community garden.

Photo by Mike Moores

By Hayley Manning

THE DELORAINE Community Garden has been transformed into a flourishing communal space that would have celebrity garden gurus jumping up and down in their gumboots.

And now in their own ‘War on Waste’ the garden volunteers are using excess produce to make soup. This happens every Wednesday and you are more than welcome to join them.

When the Gazette visited, volunteers clutched warming mugs of hot pumpkin soup and engaged in conversation, which as Guidance Project Officer, Tanya King, noted ‘is really what it’s all about’.

Tanya has been coordinating the garden since March 2017, and provides the daily activities on a work board.

She also supervises the Giant Steps students who have been lending a hand for a few hours every Wednesday since February.

‘They just love it. They pick and weed,’ she said.

‘The students also taste the soup first, then go off around the garden to try to find the ingredients they think have been used to make it.’

Volunteer David Hudson said they follow the ‘Plot to Plate’ principle of growing produce, picking it and cooking it.

He said it would be great to get more volunteers and community involved in the garden to share ideas, tips, and different gardening styles.

‘Everyone has gardening knowledge – pruning, weeding, composting.’

David said future plans for the garden may involve advanced cooking demonstrations.

If you are interested in becoming a garden volunteer please contact Tanya King at communitygarden@delorainehouse.com.au.

Scaling the heights with Rotary

Community, Events, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
John Zeckendorf, the first Tasmanian to reach the summit of Mount Everest.  Photo supplied

John Zeckendorf, the first Tasmanian to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Photo supplied

By Hayley Manning

OPPORTUNITY USUALLY knocks once, so it’s time to get off the couch, shake out the winter chills and spend a special evening with the first Tasmanian to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and adventurer, John Zeckendorf will give an informative and entertaining insight into Sherpas and what it takes to climb Mt Everest, the last mountain he completed on the Seven Summits list – the highest mountains in each of the seven continents.

But John says the evening is not just about listening to him. The real emphasis is on audience engagement and asking him questions that highlight the ‘human side’ of climbing that people don’t usually hear about.

Deloraine Rotary Club’s Lois Beckwith and the team are pulling out all the stops to transform the Rotary Function Centre. Lois said there will be long tables for clubs and organisations, group bookings, plus individuals … all are welcome.

Bar facilities will be available and a Nepali craft trade table. Supper will be provided at food stations featuring an assorted variety of chef-cooked, light curries. Side options will be provided for those who like to spice things up a bit.

All proceeds from the evening will help Rotary build a Youth Training Centre in Kathmandu to educate and empower disadvantaged youth, particularly vulnerable young girls. The young children are told: ‘If you don’t get a miracle; become one.’

John is an altruistic man and has long-held the belief that people should use their gifts and talents to help others where possible. He has auctioned carabiners (climbing clips), rocks, and bits and pieces from his Mt Everest tour to raise funds for Pathways Tasmania, an organisation that helps homeless youth battle addictions.

At a Tasmanian fund-raiser in 2017, $5000 was bid for a board mounted with a Mercury article and a rock, carabiner, and undies from John’s Everest trip.

Local MP Guy Barnett, who gave John three Tasmanian flags and advised him to ‘make sure you climb this thing’, has been invited to bring a surprise item for the Dutch auction, as have several other MPs.

Everyone is encouraged to bring an item for the auction to help make what promises to be a night with a difference.

Please contact Lois Beckwith for your donations of auction items.

For more information and bookings, contact Lois on 03 6369 5393.

Tickets: $25 per person
Rotary Function Centre,
Alveston Drive, Deloraine
7pm, 27 July 2019

Small steps, giant results

Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Michael Nicholson and Terri Walker of Giant Steps, working with the communication app Proloquo2Go.  Photo by Mike Moores

Michael Nicholson and Terri Walker of Giant Steps, working with the communication app Proloquo2Go.

Photo by Mike Moores

GIANT STEPS in Deloraine recently received a $5000 grant from Aurora Energy as part of its Community Grants Program. This has enabled the school to purchase brand new iPads and specialised apps to assist students who have difficulties with communication.

The Proloquo2Go and LAMP apps are used at Giant Steps to give non-verbal students (who cannot talk) and minimally verbal students the voice they need to communicate. Children point to the symbols or words on the apps and the iPad then ‘says’ the word that they have pointed to.

Using these apps, the students can put sentences together to express their ideas and wants.

These apps have also been shown to support the ability of the student to understand what is said to them.

Terri Walker is one of two speech pathologists at Giant Steps who are using iPads and apps for what is known as Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC).

Developed overseas, these apps can have a vocabulary modified for Australian students.

Words and images can be restricted or ‘masked’ for younger students or those who are just beginning to communicate and can be expanded or ‘unmasked’ as students progress.

There is a large range of communication skills across the students at Giant Steps The iPads and different apps that are available assist the teaching staff to extend these skills.

‘For a student to be able to ask to go outside and play, to say they are hungry or even to say ‘hello’ to people is empowering and they are more able to develop relationships with others if they can communicate,’ said Giant Steps Principal Tim Chugg.

Students on the autism spectrum, even when very talkative, still respond better to visual cues rather than aural. They often perform better in the classroom, learning more quickly if they communicate and receive input visually as well as verbally.

Autism often causes a ‘motor planning problem’ – a child knows what they want to do or say, but has difficulty getting their body to respond. The use of the communication technology (AAC systems) does not stop students from ever talking.

Research has shown that the opposite occurs and it will help develop talking skills in many non-verbal students.

Giving students a voice means they are able to express themselves through words rather than behaviour.

Students who move to mainstream schools may continue to need visual cues to help them study and navigate a confusing environment.

World Autism Awareness Day is held on 2nd April every year. Software can be bought for half price to assist families to provide their children with the tools to communicate with the wider world.

Thinking big for Agfest

Events, Rural, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Perched on a Goldacres chemical sprayer, Tytan Wolfe, 3, of Tullah.  Photo by Mike Moores

Perched on a Goldacres chemical sprayer, Tytan Wolfe, 3, of Tullah.

Photo by Mike Moores

Longhorn cattle were an impressive sight.  Photo by Mike Moores

Longhorn cattle were an impressive sight.

Photo by Mike Moores

By David Claridge

QUERCUS RURAL Youth Park in Carrick will benefit from a grant announced by Senator Steve Martin in March. They will gain around $96,000 to have an accommodation block built.

Rural Youth State President, Dale Hayers, is grateful for the grant, explaining that it will help to better utilise the site throughout the year, Agfest being the busiest time of the year for the site.

‘The 24-person accommodation unit will go next to the existing function centre at the Quercus Park site,’ he said.

‘It’s to help utilise the site better through the remainder of the year, away from Agfest, encouraging school groups and others to come out and use the facilities.

‘We have a number of other community groups who consistently use the site away from Agfest, they expressed an interest in this happening.’

The funding is due to be available next financial year, with the building to built away from site and delivered by January 2020 and ready for use a couple of months after that.

Blooming marvellous!

Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
From left, Wendy and Roger Travis along with Helen Clarke, President of Westbury Garden Club, planting bulbs outside the White House in King Street, opposite the Village Green, Westbury.  Photo by Mike Moores

From left, Wendy and Roger Travis along with Helen Clarke, President of Westbury Garden Club, planting bulbs outside the White House in King Street, opposite the Village Green, Westbury.

Photo by Mike Moores

THE WESTBURY Garden Club has coordinated the planting of over 3,000 bulbs in May, at the eastern entrance to the town and beneath more than 200 street trees.

The Garden Club contributed $1000 for the purchase of bulbs, in addition to the many that were donated by the community.

A $3000 grant from Meander Valley Council and the involvement of the Council’s Works Department allowed the project to be expanded, complementing Council’s street tree plantings.

With donations and help from throughout the Westbury community, the bulbs will create an annual display that can only enhance Westbury’s considerable street appeal.

A tall ship to Antarctica

Feature, People and PlacesJoanne Eisemann
Chris Grose of Blackstone Heights recently returned from a voyage to Antarctica on the three-masted  Bark Europa . Chris is sharing his story and photos with the Gazette this month. Drop in to see the full exhibition at Pixels Gallery at the Deloraine Online Centre. The gallery will be showcasing Chris’s photos for the months of June and July.

Chris Grose of Blackstone Heights recently returned from a voyage to Antarctica on the three-masted Bark Europa. Chris is sharing his story and photos with the Gazette this month. Drop in to see the full exhibition at Pixels Gallery at the Deloraine Online Centre. The gallery will be showcasing Chris’s photos for the months of June and July.

Story and photos by Chris Grose

SAILING TO ANTARCTICA aboard a 40m three-masted steel sailing bark may not be everyone’s holiday of choice but for me it was the only way to go. And so I found myself at the helm of Bark Europa as we ploughed through 5m seas and a 50 knot gale heading across the Drake Passage, the notoriously rough stretch of water where the Pacific meets the Atlantic ocean at the tip of South America.

For the first 24 hours of the crossing most of the voyage crew had succumbed to seasickness and rarely moved from our bunks. ‘Sounds like world war three down here,’ I overheard one experienced crew member say, amidst the moaning and groaning, as I lay hunched over my little yellow bucket.

As we found our sea legs, more and more of us could be found on deck, taking the helm or standing watch as the ship rolled beneath us and the wind howled through the rigging. Meal times became a social occasion rather than something to be endured. After four days of sailing we reached the South Shetland Islands and made our first landfall at Yankee Harbour and were greeted by the soon-to-be familiar aroma of penguin guano.

Going ashore in the zodiacs we were left to wander the pebbly beaches, observing hundreds of gentoo penguins, skuas, fur seals and occasional elephant seals, none of whom appeared in the least perturbed to see us.

Over the following two weeks we had numerous shore landings and zodiac cruises amongst the icebergs. At Walkers Bay on Livingstone Island we climbed an old glacial moraine and looked down upon a tremendous glacier descending from the island’s heart until it reached the sea where it ended in great ice cliffs. Even from our airy lookout we could hear the thunder as great lumps of ice calved off and plunged into the sea.

At Deception Island we visited the remains of an old whaling station and marvelled at steam rising from the beaches where sea water was being heated by thermal activity – the island is itself a dormant volcano!

At every landing site there were gentoo, chinstrap or adelie penguins to greet us. We saw more elephant, weddell and leopard seals. Rising early one morning I climbed the rigging of the main mast and looked out at dramatic mountains and glaciers and a sea that reflected the sapphire blue sky overhead.

Everywhere I turned, both near and far, there were spouts from humpback whales – several passed within 50m of Europa. Most memorable of all were the deep blue shadows hidden inside the many icebergs that we passed.

All too soon it was time to head back across the Drake – but this time few succumbed to sea sickness. As we passed by a distant Cape Horn, thoughts turned to home and those that we had left behind. How could we best explain what dramatic landscapes and marvellous wildlife we had experienced?

I knew the question everyone would ask. ‘What was it like?’ could not be answered with mere words.

My lasting impression of Antarctica is one of just how fragile it is and how important it is that we all look after and protect it in every way we can.

Europa  appears dwarfed by the landscape as the voyage crew take ahike at Orne Harbor to visit a chinstrap penguin colony.

Europa appears dwarfed by the landscape as the voyage crew take ahike at Orne Harbor to visit a chinstrap penguin colony.

Sunrise in the Gerlache Strait. I rose early on this particular morning and watched numerous humpback whales feeding around the ship.

Sunrise in the Gerlache Strait. I rose early on this particular morning and watched numerous humpback whales feeding around the ship.

A Gentoo penguin, one of three types of penguin that we saw during the trip, appears to fly above the water.

A Gentoo penguin, one of three types of penguin that we saw during the trip, appears to fly above the water.

Approaching the Lemaire Channel, also known as ‘Kodak Gap’ due to the spectacular mountain and glacier scenery.

Approaching the Lemaire Channel, also known as ‘Kodak Gap’ due to the spectacular mountain and glacier scenery.

Swinging dancers, not so square

Events, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
The Community Complex was a sea of movement and colour as over 600 square dancers took to the dance floor to strut their stuff.  Photo by Mike Moores

The Community Complex was a sea of movement and colour as over 600 square dancers took to the dance floor to strut their stuff.

Photo by Mike Moores

By Wendy Laing

DELORAINE AND the Valley welcomed the 60th National Square Dancing Convention this month.

Six hundred and thirty-five registered square dancers, ranging in age from 12 years to over 80 years, came from all over Australia for the event, which was held across two venues, the Community Complex and the Bowls Club, from 24–28th April.

‘The Deloraine Community Complex is amazing,’ Coordinator and Caller, Di Ashton from the Launceston Square Dance Club said. ‘We had a great rapport with the Meander Valley Council to help stage the event in Deloraine.’

Square dancing clubs began in Tasmania in 1952 and then went on to join the National body 60 years ago. Usually conducted in capital cities, this was the first time a National Convention had been held in a regional town anywhere in Australia.

Not only were the established square dancers having a wonderful time, but on the Sunday afternoon a public session was held, and anybody interested in learning how to square dance was invited to come along and join in.

During the Convention, the Australian National Association also held well-attended workshops on all aspects of square dancing.

‘The square dances at this Convention are called the mainstream level,’ Di Ashton said. ‘There are 64 moves you need to know by heart. Consistency is the keyword and once learned, you can dance anywhere in the world.’

Weekly classes in modern square dancing have begun in Deloraine and are held on Friday nights from 7.30pm to 10.00pm at the Bowls Club.

Couples, singles and families are welcome to come along and enjoy a fun night of dancing and friendship. For further details contact Gary Petersen on 0499 088 680 or email tassquare@bigpond.com.

Thumbs up for Kanga, the Roos’ new recruit

Feature, SportJoanne Eisemann
Deloraine Football Club’s new mascot Kanga gets to know some of the club’s rusted-on supporters. From left, Cooper Field, Benji Crowden (6) and Lucy Crowden (3).  Photo by Mike Moores

Deloraine Football Club’s new mascot Kanga gets to know some of the club’s rusted-on supporters. From left, Cooper Field, Benji Crowden (6) and Lucy Crowden (3).

Photo by Mike Moores

By Hayley Manning

THE DELORAINE Football Club’s latest recruit – Kanga, has become quite the socialite, posing for snaps, sponsoring businesses and handing out Easter eggs around Deloraine.

It is going to be a busy year for Kanga on the field and at the club, as they prepare to acknowledge Deloraine Football Club’s milestone 125 years with a host of events.

Club President, Shaun Donohue, said he wants to ensure the year is a success, not just in terms of winning games but with the local community taking part in the celebrations. And presumably Kanga and friends will be there too.

Bethany and Kylie, looking fresh

Sport, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Bethany Macfarlane, 16, and her horse Kylie are looking forward to improving their showjumping over winter. From Exeter, Bethany rides for the Birralee and Districts Pony Club and has just joined the Tasmanian Showjumping Association (North).  Photo by Mike Moores

Bethany Macfarlane, 16, and her horse Kylie are looking forward to improving their showjumping over winter. From Exeter, Bethany rides for the Birralee and Districts Pony Club and has just joined the Tasmanian Showjumping Association (North).

Photo by Mike Moores

WESTBURY SHOW Horse Committee were most impressed with the performance of young horse riders and seasoned competitors who took the opportunity to jump their horses over well designed courses at the recent Freshman’s Day, held at Westbury Showground on the 13th April.

Held in beautiful weather on a superb jumping surface, the riders thoroughly enjoyed the friendly, encouraging atmosphere.

Local course designer Liz Richards provided flowing courses, while Level II accredited coach Judy Kilby was available to assist the riders.

Participants on the day ranged in age from a 4-year-old led around the course on a pony to 77-year-old Sandra Atkins riding her horse Wally.

Sandra and Wally both thoroughly enjoyed the rounds of jumps that the day offered.

The Freshman’s Day was a great chance for riders to educate their horses around the jumps without the stress of a real competition.

With about 30 competitors on this day, riders could choose 2 from 6 rounds at 50, 60, 70, 80, 90cm and 1m heights.

The horse committee have scheduled the next Freshman’s Day on the 11th May

Back on the Village Green, the pipes, the pipes are calling…

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Brian Owens of Ouse, flute and tin whistle player, playing his Indian rosewood flute on the Westbury Village Green. Just one of Brian’s collection of wind instruments, the flute was made in 1837 by an instrument maker called Joseph Wallis, in the Euston Road, London.   Photo | Mike Moores

Brian Owens of Ouse, flute and tin whistle player, playing his Indian rosewood flute on the Westbury Village Green. Just one of Brian’s collection of wind instruments, the flute was made in 1837 by an instrument maker called Joseph Wallis, in the Euston Road, London.

Photo | Mike Moores

WESTBURY AND the Village Green came alive on Saturday 16th March with the town’s revival of the annual St Patrick’s Festival. This iconic event drew big crowds to revel in the sunshine and soak up a wonderful atmosphere of Celtic and community spirit.

There was something for everyone – a street parade led by St Patrick himself, a bustling church market, more craft and food stalls than you could poke a stick at, vintage tractors, classic cars, children’s activities and a packed program of folk music, song and dance.

As always, the Maypole dancing by Westbury Primary School students proved to be a huge hit and in its traditional Village Green setting, created a real sense of history coming alive. John Hickey of the Wheels folk group gave his thanks, “for organising such a charming festival.

The Wheels really enjoyed it, especially as traditional Irish music is so relevant to Westbury’s rich history. “The music in the church was a highlight for me (great acoustic venue). Barry Higgins’ Irish pipes sounded wonderful. “Hope the Steering Group got a chance to enjoy the festival as much as we did.” The Festival’s new committee have been buoyed by the community response and has already started planning for 2020.

Chairman, Phil Steers, said, “the decision to make the Festival entry by donation has been a total success with many more local families able to enjoy celebrating the town’s Irish roots. “Thanks to everyone who helped to make it happen. With the weather with us, we look forward to an even bigger event next year.”