Meander Valley Gazette

Your Independent Community Newspaper


Westbury, Meander Valley’s power cut capital

NewsJoanne EisemannComment

AUGUST 2018 | David Claridge

A HIGH number of recent power outages in the Westbury area have prompted locals to speak up in the hope of finding out what is going on.

Information supplied from Tas Networks can confirm that from 2017 to 2018 there have been 33 outages, with only 16 of them planned. The outages have varied in length from three minutes to nine hours.

Talking with a spokesman from Tas Networks, this reporter has learned that the bulk of the Westbury area is supplied by a feeder from the Hadspen substation. The same feeder also supplies Whitemore and Glenore.

Tas Networks are aware of the issue, claiming that ‘The Westbury community does not currently meet their reliability standards’.

“TasNetworks recognises Westbury urban community as one of the poor performing communities and has plans to reduce the length, and hence exposure, of the feeders supplying it” the spokesman said.

“A project has been proposed to rationalise the supply to Westbury urban area, enabling the feeder a cleaner, more direct route to Westbury.

“The project will involve extending our network 5 km along the Bass Highway between Hagley Station Lane and Veterans Row at an estimated cost of $1.7 million and it is planned to be operational by June 2023.”

“Interim solutions, such as investigating if we can eliminate or minimise outages through better protection and transfer capability are currently being investigated to improve the reliability performance of the community prior to the execution of the long term solution.”

It has been shared that one Westbury resident has been refunded $80.00 by Tas Networks for an outage that lasted longer than nine hours.

Photo | Mike Moores

The French connection

FeatureJoanne EisemannComment
Steven french of Whitemore photographer author journalist

Steven french of Whitemore photographer author journalist

MAY 2017 | Joanne Eisemann

AS AN accomplished photographer, journalist, author and editor, there is not much Steven French doesn’t know about publishing in Tasmania.

Steven grew up and still lives in Whitemore, where his family has history dating back to 1865. His 7th generation Tasmanian grandchildren live next door.

Taking up photography in his early teens, neighbours soon began asking him to take pictures of their stud animals.

“At one stage, Whitemore had the highest concentration of stud livestock of anywhere in the world,” Steven comments.

From there he started taking pictures for Stock and Land and the Weekly Times. Then someone asked him to photograph their wedding, “It all got a bit out of hand,” shares Steven.

Not long after rural newspaper Tas Country began. The editor asked Steven to take some photographs. “My captions kept on getting bigger and bigger…I was full time within 6 months,” explains Steven.

The Mercury bought Tas Country and didn’t have a photographer position for Steven so offered him a job as a journalist. With no formal journalism training Steven taught himself on the job. “I did a few creative writing courses and things like that, but if you don’t learn pretty quick when someone has edited your work you are not going to make it. I also used to analyse how other people had written stories.”

Three years later he and his wife Ellen opened Reflections Photographic Studio in Launceston where they employed nine people. It was the states largest wedding/portrait studio that ran for many years with Steven continuing to be a photojournalist on the side.

The studio closed when Gateway, the then Northern Tasmanian Tourism body offered him a job as marketing manager which he accepted, later being appointed general manager.

The purchase of magazine Tasmanian Life started his career as an editor. Steven wrote many of the stories and shot the photographs used in the publication. “I think its every photographer or journalists fancy to have a magazine,” says Steven of the acquisition. The magazine employed a graphic designer and a sales person.

Since then Steven has edited and worked for a number of Tasmanian magazines and began writing books. “I finished up editing Tasmanian Plus. I was writing and photographing 2/3’s of it I suppose. Then I was getting close to retirement so I gave it up. In the meantime I’d written a book called Hand Made in Tasmania that was on the state’s best seller list for quite some time. It went really well.”

Now retired, his life has changed focus with time being spent renovating the house, teaching their Irish donkey, Missy to pull a cart, breeding Ryelands sheep and using bullocks to do some of the work around the farm. “I’m a great fan of farming using the old methods,” explains Steven.

But he hasn’t completely left photography and writing behind - editing, writing and photographing Sheep Australia magazine twice per year as well as working on various other books, stories and pictures.

Who is the most famous person he has photographed? “I photographed the Queen, she came to Launceston show, I was covering it for Tas Country. She was very cooperative while I was running around in front of her with a camera. Now there would be minders all over you. I didn’t even have a press pass at that time.”

Photo | Mike Moores

Whitemore Will's a winner

SportJoanne EisemannComment

Photo - William French (6years) and Hamish McLachlan

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AUGUST 2015 | 

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WHITEMORE LOCAL, William French, was the envy of all kids after winning the most coveted prize in NAB AFL Auskick, a nomination for ‘NAB AFL Auskicker of the Year’.

French, 6, will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to present a Premiership medal to an AFL player from the winning team on Grand Final day in the middle of the MCG.

He will join 21 other lucky NAB AFL Auskickers in Melbourne for an unforgettable experience that will also include walking in the 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final Parade and playing on the hallowed turf of the MCG on the day of football’s Holy Grail.

It only gets better for William. He is now in the running to win $5000 in a NAB Reward Saver account, plus have Geelong Captain and superstar, Joel Selwood, as his personal footy mentor in 2016.

Joel Selwood, said the competition was every kids dream and encourages all Auskickers from around the country to enter in 2015.

William is hoping to see his favourite team, West Coast, play on the biggest stage of all and cannot wait to rub shoulders with the stars of the game.

[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores