For the past week I’ve been spending most of my time driving a Winnebago through remote and far north Tassie communities following the Ten Days on the Island Festival for ArtsHub.
It’s reminded me again that for the most part Tassie hasn’t been ‘Monafied’*. It’s still the warm, friendly country town where everyone knows each other’s names and they swap tomatoes for relish over the neighbouring fence. There’s still tiny bakeries selling vanilla slices for $2 and cafes asking you if you want you coffee in a mug or a cup.
If you want the key to the local hall it’s most likely that Bev has it- ‘just pop down the side of the house, I’ll leave it in the meter box hon’.
Dressing up for the theatre means wearing covered shoes (maybe) and reactions to art aren’t cloaked in any idea of coolness or what ‘should’ be said.
It’s brilliantly refreshing and completely pointless trying to impose any kind of east coast mainland sensibilities onto it- just enjoy!
It’s not to say we don’t like fancy things; world-class art museums, cheese, wine and pepperberries and some of the best pinot in the world, but it comes with a decent dose of honesty on the side. Capital city snobberies are almost completely useless here, simplicity, getting along, groundedness and survival are the cornerstones of life. It’s in the DNA of Tasmanians.
I moved to Tasmania permanently just over 2 years ago. My Dad lived here before he passed.
During the first year four things became clear.
1. You must develop an excellent recipe for zucchini slice (you’ll work out why in your first Summer)
2. Every snake here has the capacity to kill you (true story)
3. No one will believe you’re actually here to stay unless you’ve “done a Winter’
4. ‘It’s a small island’. This phrase is muttered with collective resignation and glimmers of hope, and deployed to cure all manner of disagreements.
The entire state is classified as regional, and many of its outlying areas to do not have connection to basic services. It has the greatest growing housing market in the country and a simultenous homelessness and health care crisis. It’s a state where you can be served up world renowed experimental dining experiences on famous locally designed pottery in Hobart and an instant coffee made in a blender and called a cappuccino.
Sometimes you get frustrated about the Tasmanian habit of not putting an address on advertising for an event ‘because everyone knows where it is’ and at times the insularity of Island life makes you crave outside stimulus.
That’s the thing about living on an island – you can always look out to see the horizon. Whatever land is over those oceans is only a plane trip away. And those big, beautiful skies and beaches with no one else on them will be right back where you left them- in one of the most stunning places on earth.
*I can’t claim credit for this brilliant term of phrase- I first heard it from Jane Haley
For more information about me check out my LinkedIn profile.