Tasmanian Times


Postcards from Tasmania

In an article called ‘Postcards from Tasmania’ he wrote:

That is what is extraordinary about Tasmania. It’s the quality and colour of the light. If you have grown up with it, you may not be aware of it. You may never have noticed. The newcomer cannot help but be aware of it. The light sets Tasmania apart. On a clear day, especially in the spring or the autumn, there is a distinct blueness to the light. It is as if one is viewing the landscape through a filtered pane of glass.

It sharpens the colours, gives an edge to the tones that is not found in the corresponding latitudes in the northern hemisphere, on the Mediterranean coast for instance. The light in northern Italy is quite different, diffused. The Tuscany landscape is filtered by a man-made haze, which renders beautiful pastels in a soft focus.

It is the lack of haze, the intensity and glare of the unfiltered sun which gives the Tasmanian landscape its striking sharpness, a seemingly infinite depth of field.

Perhaps his frequent trips to Italy have now made him more enamoured with the soft focus view and he is today intent on helping achieve that effect locally?

Allan Moult
Editor, www.leatherwoodonline.com

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Andrew

    March 17, 2005 at 9:24 pm

    After I read the letter regarding wood smoke and its ability to make life a living hell. I am reminded again why I will not be coming back to Tassie to live in the near future.

    Since the age of two, I suffered from chronic asthma. We lived in Sandy Bay a posh suburb of Hobart where the locals loved nothing more than burning up log after log on the old open fire.

    As a teenager I went through every winter wondering if I was going to make it out of the hospital after each severe attack and watching a young fellow Asthma sufferer die before his 15th birthday.

    My problems with Asthma are now gone (touch wood) the reason for this is because I have moved away from the prestine crisp air of the wooded hills of the Derwents western shores and moved to one of the most populated and industrialised countries in Europe – Holland. The difference is. Here they don’t have many open fires. Or forests to rape with fire. Primarily because they have concreted over all of the forested areas.And turned them into land that is economically viable. Holland’s tourism industry is reliant on its spectacular-hundreds of year old history and culture. Not its natuaral wealth. They realise this.

    But I wonder if the politicians in Tas realise that after they have raked the remnance of Tassies forests and rare animals into the ground. People are not going to want to visit unless it’s to build a low cost call centre or pulp mill.

    But the message is. For years I put up with it (Asthma induced by wood smoke) and didn’t question the wisdom of our great traditions and freedoms. When in actual fact these are probably responsible for putting many of my fellow Tasmanians in an early grave. I was ignorant until I had the freedom to breathe different air and see the difference.

    I miss so many things about Tassie.

    The great fishing in its lakes. Oh except for the large numbers of European Carp now infesting them.

    The prehistoric old growth forests. Oh except for the ones that have been deemed a resource by the wonderfully broad minded politicians who are prepared to sell everything to the highest bidder local or Japanese.

    The wonderful Tassie devils and other rare marsupials. Oh but wait – except for the ones which have been wiped out by some kind of Devil plague most probably man made and poison related. Or the introduction of foxes, always a crowd pleaser.

    The wonderful laid back way of life. Oh unless you didn’t capatalise on the real estate boom and you’re one of the forgotten poor who exist just above the poverty line in the less well to do suburbs of our towns. Or are not part of the old boys’ club.

    Tassie in some ways is like a diamond that is in the hands of a badly trained jewelsmith. For god’s sake! when will it be rescued it from disaster.

  2. Mark

    March 17, 2005 at 5:45 pm

    Following the lead of Mary and Frederick I frolicked in the central Highlands over the long weekend and climbed Cradle Mountain. I would agree with Bruce Montgomery’s description of a Tasmanian Autumn blue, particularly at 8.30 on a Sunday morning. However, I also noted a light burnt sienna haze to the north west.

    By the time I climbed Cradle Mtn, southern Tasmania was cloaked in haze extending over Barn Bluff. It also brought a tear to my eye (literally) and I retreated to a clearer view of Lake Rodway.

    Autumn has become very familiar. Light rain is followed by a clear still day. This is almost ideal for a forestry burn. I say, “Almost” because it needs one more factor…a Sunday on a long weekend or Easter.

    What is so special about a holiday weekend? Is it the triple time paid to our conscientious forest workers that would ordinarily appear as bad business practice? Is it that people are distracted? Is it that the media has happy holiday snaps? Is it that DPIWE is closed and no complaints are ever received? Is it that the helicopter pilots have the wife and kids aboard to enjoy an autumnal weekend together?

    By the way, there were many international tourists experiencing the same views. Another example of forestry and tourism working together.

  3. editor

    March 17, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    As I reach for my asthma medication I note with delight that autumn has arrived in Tasmania. From last year’s experience, at least one month of sunny still crisp days and chill nights will be choked with a blanket of forestry smoke.

    Given a recent World Health Authority article on third world cooking, wood smoke is as carcinogenic as cigarette smoke. Part-time bar employees are protected from exposure, and I am sure that 24-hour a day exposure for 20-35 days (especially night time saturation of dense smoke) will come close to hospitality levels.

    Last night (Wednesday), at midnight, the local hospital advised my partner (with more serious asthma), to leave home, and find a place out of the smoke. We had all our windows closed, but she had to leave. This was not an over-reaction. I have photographs of the visibility being down to 200 metres with daylight.

    As I write at 9:30 a.m. the hill in front of our house is still shrouded. It is unlikely that I will be able to exercise today.

    An industry has destroyed our ability to enjoy the amenity of our own property on an unprecedented scale. It seems to have the right to do what it likes – not just to our forests, but also to the air (and water) that was once a part of our heritage.

    These days breathing is a threat to our common health.


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