Unique Tasmania

Written on the Hume Highway

Yes you read right...we are unique. Tasmanians tend to forget that. We let ourselves believe the hype of "Big Australia". We even let them call it the "Main Land" But did you know that Bruny islanders call Tasmania the "Main Land"?
There are the super funny jibes at Tasmanians..."oh my friends from Tasmania...do you know them?"...."Wheres your scar?" ..."Your all related....hows your husband/cousin?"

Ha ha ha....sarcasm font. 

Even in Tasmania there are levels of prejudice. Some Hobartarians have never visited our beautiful North West coast becasue they dont believe that it is worth visiting. A big city does not a place make.
Yes we are a state of high heart disease....mainly becasue of our aging population compared to the rest of Australia. Our young people believe the hype and take off to find the "better" in other places. Why dont they stay and contribute to their community? Instead many give up and abandoning it as a lost casue.
When it comes to our weather i have  to say that yes we are a tad cooler than the rest of Australia. But there are not the extremes of hot and cold that others endure. We never get over 35 (or very little) and we are warmer  (at least in the NW) than Canberra in winter.
Yes "Big Australia" has some great cities and towns, but they also have a lot of rural dis-advantage places just as we do in regional Tasmania.

As Tasmanian's we need to continually build the brand of Tasmanian uniqueness. We need young people to stay and develop their communities into what they would like to participate in. One of my main "urks" are those people that i call "gunna's". I'm gunna do that, I was gunna do that...well just bloody get off your arse, participate and stop complaining about the shitness of Tasmania. If you don't contribute then don't expect it to change (same as facie, if you don't communicate with facie don't expect it to communicate back).

We have amazing arts and crafts here that are so undervalued by their local community that most of them don't see the light of day. I can see people really trying to draw on the unique Tasmanian characters that inspires them and this makes their work amazing...and it works for them. With the advent of the internet there is no reason not to pursue whatever you want to excel in right here in Tassie. I mean why not?? You cant get a better place to raise your children...especially if you contribute to the loveliness of your place of residence and not just sit in front of the telly whinging.

When i built the community arts centre "Artscape" i found it so hard to get people to participate, contribute and take me seriously that i almost gave up. Now it is looking after itself as i have stepped down to let it evolve into the community space that it was intended as. Sure, i dont' like where some of the recent decisions have taken the art centre but it is no longer my baby and i am concerning myself more with the "Made with Love Market Bazaar" as i feel that is where my heart lies right now.

Those stitchy girls are truly inspired to create, they inspire me and others, they have wonderful temperaments and are willing to help, to get out there and contribute. Without meeting girls like that i am sure i would still be rocking back and forward in a corner with my creative life.

Notes to visitors about Tasmania:
  • No you can not drive around Tasmania in a weekend. We are not that small.
  • What do you want in your holiday? Pick your place to suit. The North. South, East and West all have major differences in their lifestyle and climates.
  • We are surrounded by so many beaches its almost impossible not to live near one.
  • Inside Tassie the mountains are amazing and dangerous adventures.
  • Yes we have bogans...but so do you.
  • Please leave your Tassie jokes at home. We don't find them funny any more...actually we never did.
  • Respect our boarder controls on fruit and veg. We don't want your diseases. Stop trying to ruin us.
  • While your here make sure you participate in some cultural tourism. Take in a market, gallery, studio, coffee shop and become amazed while supporting locals. I can guarantee that you will be surprised and impressed.
Whether you live in Tassie or not then please take another look at our/your place. Look at it with new eyes and get out there and get active. Not even necessarily in an art sense. Whatever tickles your fancy. No excuses ok. Live it ....don't dream it. Risks are what make life worth living. Where ever you are make sure you embrace whats makes you and your place unique. You have nothing to lose...only that in which to gain.

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Michelle Walker is a Tasmanian born creative. An Artist for life, Visual Arts Teacher, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Hairdresser by trade and mother to two beautiful children.