Bazabee, gives me a wonderful platform to reply,

I shall attempt in a few words a short lesson in Tasmanian settlement history as I have come to understand it ...

In the time of Lieutenant Governor Arthur over one million acres of land was alienated in Tasmania. A modern equivalent to the MIS tax scam which has turned native forests and agricultural land into vast swathes of unsaleable non FSC accredited monocultural plantations between 1995-2011 all at great cost to the taxpayer for no foreseeable advantage.

In the early days the land went mostly to free settlers who emigrated from Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales.  Some had money, some had very little money and some were army men.  Their perception must have been that Van Diemen’s Land offered opportunities, which Britain at the time did not.  Once that decision was made to journey to the other, mostly unknown, side of the world it was for the most part irreversible and, I suggest, that with hindsight they did well. 

It has to be remembered that our Tasmanian landscape did not “evolve” as had the English landscape across hundreds of centuries of “settled” places, with small villages or towns with supporting infrastructure. The land that adjoined those villages or towns was the centre of a communal life with an ancient and evolved rural land use.

None of that was to be found by the “New Chums” on their arrival in Tasmania.

We cannot take back what more than two hundred years ago was decided in the British parliament.  We cannot reverse history so that it would have been better if there had been no Tasmanian white British settlement. We cannot wish that there had been no penal system. It happened and that is the reality.

To play the man and not the ball, in my view, is not constructive.  To re-arrange history, “men who sat in comfort gazing on the face of their Beloved Queen” is even less constructive and less true; life was dangerous, hard and for women with no facilities nearly impossible. A sense of that communal spirit then engendered is still with us today.

The Tasmanian land template was a largely “natural” landscape, inhabited for centuries by Aboriginal peoples. Land occupation by the British came first without any “settled” infrastructure. Land for the first two if not three decades, was swapped, located to, possessed by and as a result “granted” by “Lieutenant Governors”.

The land system had to be redeemed in the fourth decade of settlement with a more formalised structure, when much stricter conditions were put in place. Many of those men also women, who obtained land in the 1830’s, were responsible for establishing the framework of settlement and of helping create a civilised Tasmanian society.  They gave generously and willingly of their time, skills, expertise, effort and knowledge they volunteered a word rarely to be found in the Lexicon of today to create a place and society that was functional.

This is the “face,” the patina of a Tasmanian rural landscape so valued in 2012 by the tourists, it owes much to the very people you, Bazabee, appear to have so instantly have cast aside.

Like it or not Tourism’s contribution to the state budget, and the industries created by tourism bring in much needed revenue that far exceeds the contributions of your so called forestry industry, backed into a corner by the fossils of the past.

Many of those who were sent by the British penal system had more subsequent opportunity to make a reasonable life for themselves than those persons incarcerated back “home”; read about the Irish prisons and their conditions for a start.
The Ticket-of-Leave men, and Assigned convicts, the latter being the largest class formed; around 66% of those who were sent via the penal system. 

Also be careful when you apply a great big thick brush and sweep the original free settlers to smithereens; there is an immense diversity in those as to where and whence they came and many of their descendants still play an important part in our Island life. A considered reading of the newspapers via the Trove website (National Library of Australia) might help to improve or even reverse your perceptions.

I used Trove in part to write a 6000 word three part dissertation on “The Creation and Furnishing of Government House Hobart between 1817 and 1843, published in the Australiana Society Journal in three parts 2008/9, available from the State Library.

The articles discuss in particular the efforts of Arthur, Franklin and his wife Lady Jane to create a sense of identity and place by acting in a civilized and cultured way in this a distant and poorly educated colony on the other side of the world.

You will be pleased to hear that they were similarly mocked and misunderstood by the likes of your good self; yet they went on to greater things. 

Tasmania is a wonderful and beautiful place, with probably around 300,000 adult residents. We must all work together to choose our leaders with care from those who have the ability to lead without fear or favour, rather than those spun into a position of power as a result of nepotism ,familial relationships or the general apathy of the voter.

Sniping at each other from the trenches, as is your modus operandi, will not resolve our present day problems.

John Hawkins is challenging Greg Hall as MLC for the seat of Western Tiers on May 5. Responsibility for election comment is taken by S. Webb, 59a West Parade, Deloraine.

Tassie’s cultural revolution:

WHAT value can we place on cultural development? It may come as a surprise that, on a national scale, Tasmania has an innovative approach.

Queensland’s new Premier Campbell Newman, still riding high on the most thumping parliamentary majority ever seen in the state, abolished the Premier’s Literary Awards without warning or consultation.

Scrapping funding to the arts and indicating that it is a “waste of taxpayer money” may be a taste of things to come under Queensland’s new Liberal Government.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events. Since the 1990s, when Peter Beattie’s Labor government established the awards, Queenslanders have worked hard to establish the state’s credentials as a dynamic centre for literature and the arts, thriving with industry, lifestyle, education and environment.

With “the new Brisbane”, Queensland had finally overcome its cultural-backwater stigma, showing that culture, industry, lifestyle, education and environment are woven together and that culture and economy go hand in hand.

Newman’s decision to axe a major writers’ award ironically, during the National Year of Reading does not bode well for his Government’s value of cultural development.

Newman seems to think that cultural development is not important.

“Cultural capital” is a term that includes forms of knowledge, skills, education and advantages that a person has, which give them a higher status in society. It can be applied to cities as well, and that’s where Hobart is moving ahead.

Here in Tasmania we have much to celebrate with the current cultural boom, buoyed by new and exciting developments, as the success and international acclaim of Tasmania’s MONA and MONA FOMA show.

Tasmania’s literary journal Island magazine is embracing the new in digital media, tone and format, with a revival by new editor Dale Campisi, designer Michael Brady, poetry editor John Kinsella and managing editor Rachel Edwards.

The renovation and rebirth of cultural institutions such as the Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery, along with an energetic Artist-Run-Initiative gallery community at Hobart’s Inflight ARI and Launceston’s Sawtooth ARI, all point towards a cultural bloom spreading across the state.

To the rest of Australia and the world, a vibrant and respected arts scene signifies, illustrates and elucidates our social evolution ...

Read the rest of Rebecca Fitzgibbon on Mercury website ...

State needs a brand new focus:

Tasmania has something that multinationals pay a fortune to build and maintain, but our island state is failing to capitalise on it, writes Gerard Castles.

I AM fortunate. I grew up on the North-West Coast of Tasmania on a dairy farm.

My universe was described by places I could pretty much walk to or reach by a short trip by car neighbouring farms, or Railton, Sheffield or Latrobe.

Devonport was the big smoke, Launceston a rarely visited metropolis and Hobart a distant idea.

Eventually I found my way to university and then, to cut a long story short, like many Tasmanians I left the island and worked away.

I found myself at a management consulting firm in Sydney and travelled the world working on projects in the US, Europe and Asia.

I started to understand business at the top end of town.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the largest, most successful companies in the world.

I don’t say this to brag. I say it so you understand my perspective. Something happened through this experience I started to see Tasmania through different eyes, not the eyes of the boy from Sunnyside, not as a proto green but as a Tasmanian abroad.

I was working with global firms, looking back into this strange archipelago we so proudly call home, and wondering what those captains of industry would see as our strategic advantage.

I would tell clients where I was from.

They were enchanted, mystified and attracted to the idea that is Tasmania.

It was then that I began to realise that something we all hold dear, that ephemeral essence of Tasmania, has value unrealised, amazing value.

The brand gurus from Saatchi and Saatchi and other firms I occasionally work with describe this as “brand”.

Brand is a funny idea.

It is nothing and everything.

It is immediately recognisable.

Brand is reputation.

It is about promise.

If you see “Swiss-made” on something, you expect quality and precision ...

Read the rest of Gerard Castles on Mercury website ...

• Mary Massina, Tasmanians for Reform: Local government reform campaign ramps up another notch

Tasmanians for Reform have ramped up their call for local government reform in the lead
up to the State Budget, with a new advertising campaign and a call to refer the matter to
the Local Government Board.

Tasmanians for Reform Chairwoman, Mary Massina said the statewide advertising
campaign would run for the next twelve weeks and was designed to highlight the fact that
281 councillors and 29 councils in a state with just 500,000 was ‘rubbish’.

“With Tasmania facing significant economic challenges, it is even more relevant that we
have local government reform in Tasmania,” Ms Massina said.

“Even by their own figures, Councils estimate some 15 per cent efficiency could be achieved
through council amalgamations.”

Ms Massina said every week consumers faced spiralling utility charges and while both the
State and Federal Governments were pulling their belts in, local governments’ response was
to do nothing.

“Not only would council reform see better financial outcomes for consumers but it can also
mean improved community services and support, as well as increased community
participation in local government,” Ms Massina said.

“The aim of the advertising campaign is to remind consumers and politicians alike, that
there is an opportunity to do something about local government in Tasmania,” Ms Massina

“By referring the matter to the independent Local Government Board, the State
Government can easily deal with this issue.”

Tasmanians for Reform is the largest group of its kind in Tasmanian history, with peak
organisations representing chemists, car dealers, plumbers, hoteliers, real estate agents,
small businesses, hair dressers and butchers, just to name a few.