Image for Will Ross be Moved? ~ Part I

*Pic: The Northern Midlands sign by the northern streets of Tunbridge, with the historic bridge seen across the highway among the trees. ~ Photo by Kim Peart

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Drive north from Hobart to Launceston, and the municipal sign for the Northern Midlands is seen while still in Tunbridge.

Why is there such an odd Council boundary, when there is plenty of space between country towns to draw a line on the map?

Ross is only 10 kilometres on from Tunbridge, and Campbell Town a mere 10 kilometres further north.

Taken together, Tunbridge, Ross and Campbell Town are in a region that can be described as the central midlands.

North of Campbell Town there is a long stretch through forest and broad-acre farming, until the larger northern towns of Perth and Longford are reached.

Should we wonder if it was some crazy accident of council amalgamation planning in 1993 that drew a municipal boundary through Tunbridge?

DEFINING PROSSER

When defining the northern boundary of the proposed new Upper House seat of Prosser, the committee ~ “endeavoured, where possible, to utilise locality and local government area (LGA) boundaries when altering the boundaries of existing divisions.” ~ and ~ “Consider the creation of a new central/southern Legislative Council division that has a recognisable community of interest link or regional identity.” [1]

This more cautious approach has found a natural border between the Southern and Northern Midlands at Conara Junction, where the train lines meet.

An Examiner report summed up and quoted the views of Northern Midlands Mayor David Downie ~ “ideally it would be better if the region were bundled together into one Legislative Council electorate. “We feel we would have better representation in one electorate,” he said.” [2]

This would make a heap of sense for the residents of Ross and Campbell Town, that the towns and surrounding region be included in the same Council area that coincides with a boundary of the proposed Legislative Council seat of Prosser.

The central and Southern Midlands are already covered with the State and Federal seats of Lyons.

IMPACT ON THE NORTHERN MIDLANDS

Should the Ross and Campbell Town region be moved into the Southern Midlands municipality with the creation of Prosser, this will have little impact on the Northern Midlands Council, where the bulk of residents reside in the larger northern towns, including Perth and Longford.

Being close to Launceston, many residents can choose to live in the north of the Northern Midlands and commute into Launceston for work, and or shopping, arts and entertainment.

The Northern Midlands is also the home of the Launceston Airport and all related businesses there.

With Longford, Perth and other Northern Midlands towns being satellite towns of Launceston, they are growing communities with increasing populations.

BENEFITS FOR THE SOUTHERN MIDLANDS

The Southern Midlands is a low population rural municipality, with a number of country towns, including historic Oatlands.

Moving the Southern Midlands boundary to the north of Campbell Town, to match that of the proposed Prosser electorate, will give the Southern Midlands a stronger population base, with two country towns only ten and twenty kilometres north of the current Council boundary.

Ross and Oatlands have much in common, as towns built on sandstone industries in a rural community, and with a strong convict history.

Economic, tourist and cultural planning may be improved with many central and Southern Midlands historic towns married together that have much in common.

Plans may be seen that boost the visitor experience through the central and Southern Midlands, for towns like Tunbridge.

IN CONCLUSION

An historical error may be corrected, if the seat of Prosser is created, and the northern boundary of the Southern Midlands comes to match that of Prosser.

Does the central midlands have more in common with the Southern Midlands, than the Northern Midlands and satellite towns of Launceston?

In the follow-on story I will explore some of the issues that have arisen for the central midlands, particularly for Ross.

REFERENCES ~

[1]  2016-17 Redistribution of Legislative Council Electoral Boundaries
https://lcredistribution.tas.gov.au/PDFs/Initial-Proposal-Booklet-2017Redistribution.pdf

[2]  Dorset and Northern Midlands councils question proposed Legislative Council changes
Caitlin Jarvis, 21 February 2017, The Examiner
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4481998/northern-councils-hit-out-at-legislative-council-changes-map/

*Kim Peart was raised in Howrah, Tasmania, from 1952, gaining a taste of history with expeditions to the Bellerive Fort and travelling on the old ferries across the River Derwent. The town of Ross in the central midlands captured Kim’s interest in the 1970s, as the place where there may be a portrait of the one-time governor of Iceland, Jorgen Jorgenson (1780-1841), as the king on the Ross Bridge. Kim organised a seminar on Jorgenson in Ross in 2004, as part of Tasmania’s bicentenary. It was a love of history and the country life that drew Kim and his wife Jennifer to Ross in 2014, where they now live. Kim also engages in the future, connecting with people around the World with an interest in space exploration, where meetings happen via avatars in the virtual worlds, including Second Life. With a head in the stars and a heart in history, Kim also looks to the health of the Earth.