Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Letter to the Editor on a cable car …

Richard Flanagan's memorable speech at a protest rally against the cable car mid-year. More than 5000 attended the protest rally which was held in Cascade Park. Richard Flanagan's speech

Dear Councillor Zelinda Sherlock, 12 Nov. 2018,

I enclose a copy of UTG’s A New Ethic – not for your conversion, you are your own person and do not need any converting, but for your interest. Hugh Dell wrote A New Ethic back in 1972 when UTG was originally formed. It has recently been updated. I also enclose a coaster, which I know you already endorse, but I have one on display just as a reminder to people – it says What is your passion?

What I would like to convert you about is the proposed cable car for kunanyi/Mt Wellington. To date most of the discussion has focussed on economic, visual and, to a lesser extent, environmental factors. What goes much deeper and is more widespread are the spiritual or emotional factors that underlie Hobartians’ profound respect and love for The Mountain – and it is this common title that is indicative of the special, spiritual acknowledgement of the Mountain.

There are many places in the world where a mountain or volcano is regarded as a sacred or special place – from various Himalayan mountains (eg, Mt. Kailash) through to a volcano on the tiny island of Fogo in the country of Cabo Verde.

People rarely express the spiritual aspects of the Mountain, largely because it is hard to put into words; it is better presented in images, images of its ever-changing presence – hence the number of photographic books dedicated to its celebration.

The proposed cable car is simply an abomination that would, if it were to go ahead, destroy the sanctity of the Mountain. If it does go ahead it will, just as with the loss of Lake Pedder in 1972, create enormous mental and spiritual anguish among many people I know, if not suicides (as happened with the loss of Lake Pedder).

Many of us still suffer today, almost every day, for the loss of Lake Pedder. Mt Wellington is much closer to home and a cable car anywhere on the mountain could have the same effect.

Geoff Holloway (Dr.)
Secretary, United Tasmania Group.

Cc: Councillor Holly Ewin, Councillor Mike Dutta

Dr Geoff Holloway, was State Secretary of the United Tasmania Group (UTG) 1974-77 and again since revival of UTG two years ago. Geoff has a PhD (sociology), specialising in social movements, health and research methods; poet (4 books published); climber; traveller – two years in Chilean & Argentinean Patagonia, but also Colombia, Ecuador and Brasil, twice recently to Cabo Verde and Lisbon, fluent in Spanish, understands written Portuguese; focus over past 20 years on children with disabilities, child protection and youth justice issues.

Richard Flanagan’s speech

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


  1. MjF

    December 2, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Seems a good old dose of Tasmanianitis had bedeviled Qld now. Check out proposed Mt Coottha zipline proposal and predictable green Brisbane NIMBY response. So eerily similar, only this time local government is working with proponent. Such a refreshing change.

  2. Rob Halton

    November 18, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Wait for the big punch-up tomorrow night when our newly elected Hobart city Council meets face to face for the first time!

    There won’t be too much representation of the ratepayer or public interest happening as it will all be about their survival to spout about their achievements.

    I can’t see the Anti Cable Car Festival Queen being able to bring about any order whatsoever! Tuesday’s Mercury should be a good seller, reporting as the events unfold.

    I suppose one only gets what one votes for. We should have done better than we did for saving our precious mountain. This reflects back on the stupidity of the Hodgman government. Blame it for the result which was so obvious as the election unfolded.

    It was a smart move by Reynolds to get the mayor’s robes, but I don’t think that that will equate to securing a workable Hobart City Council!

  3. Rob Halton

    November 17, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Good morning Geoff. I got up early am to light the fire to warm up the house for this early Saturday morning period!

    During the early am caffiene charge that followed, it occurred to me, re the cable car in a recent Mercury article, that I am quite sure that the father and daughter “team” that’s just been elected to council has differing views.

    Mike Dutta is against, and Zelinda Sherlock supports, the cable car on the mountain!

    This leaves me with a view that when the cable car issue is brought up at the first newly elected Hobart City Council meeting on Monday night 20th Nov, I would expect that sparks will be flying in all directions, especially as Mayor Anna Reynolds was elected on the strength of her commitment to the public opposing the cable car.

    My message remains clear: I don’t want to see precious time wasted over the cable car. Dispose of it into the dustbin of history, as you say, Geoff!

    I do want to see a more proactive council which is prepared to guide the state government with the Hobart City Deal about which I have only recently become a bit more familiar!

    On top of transport initiatives already mentioned, I think the Greens and the government both agree on minor initiatives to improve the traffic situation on the Southern Outlet, such as dedicated bus and taxi lanes during peak hours!

    It still remains a fact that the traffic situation remains unanswered given the increasing development to the south of the city as constrained topographically by one access only through the CBD on Davey and Macquarie Sts.

    The City Deal must include an Investigation Panel to access and report on alternative measures which would involve a City Bypass heading to the Western suburbs linking with the Brooker Hwy, and increasing the usefulness of the Bowen Bridge or a tunnel under the city, as recently described in a Mercury article by Bob Cotgrove of UTAS, and a team of dedicated, retired HEC engineers.

    Geoff, the problem is that Greens in government, with two in the state government, one in our Federal senate and at least half of the new Hobart City Council, plus all the drifters and hangers on around the community fringes, and to the best of my local knowledge, will not support a major roading development as being necessary to service the Southern region, when in fact cars and larger trucks dominate the road network!

    I go into the city regularly. It is an eyeopener to observe the rapidly increasing number of heavy transport vehicles using the route as development and tourism investment take over the Southern region .. which includes Greater Hobart!

    I am suggesting that a major public road safety issue is emerging with the congested route especially on the descent from Mt Nelson coming down into South Hobart, then through the city until the Tasman Highway is reached. Does it require a major traffic incident to prompt our local and State government to do something other than the day-to-day crisis management existing at present?

    I just want to make you aware that I tried to engage recently in North Hobart with two of our new Green councillers, now Deputy Mayor Helen Burnet and Ald Bill Harvey, but they seemed to be shocked by my approach!

    I had a rather heated discussion with Ald Harvey two months ago in the city, and he made it clear to me he would not support any major road engineering solutions for city traffic, so presumably all Greens feel the same way!

    It comes as a rude shock, but what seems to be Green policy does not go anywhere in solving the city’s traffic problems. It is also irresponsible for the government not to grasp the situation now, as there should be an opportunity during the Hobart City Deal debate.

    Yes, I happy to support the Greens and others over the Cable Car issue, but unfortunately there is little or no reasonable cooperation forthcoming from them on the safety issues accompanying increased traffic movement levels through the city.

    So how much timewasting and in house fighting are we going to see with a split “Green and Red” Hobart City Council? Glenorchy and Huon Valley Councils may be the two lucky ones after their recent restructure!

  4. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    November 16, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Geoff, it is slightly ironic that apparently secular people who routinely ridicule the ‘superstitious’ spiritual beliefs and legitimacy of the traditionally religious, come out so unabashedly with their own version of sacred sitism, as if mountains have spirits, a la the stone age animist beliefs of indigenous people.

    I will grant you that there is such a thing as a narrative of place which combines sometimes shared memory and imaginative iconic visions, but it is really a fantasy; maybe a resonant and moving one, but a fantasy nonetheless. To try and raise Mount Wellington to a kind of existentialist identity stone with the same status as currently fashionable sexistential and racistential pseudo philosophy is just a bit ideologically twee.

    Good real estate advertising, poetry of place and landscape painting, all piggyback on that capacity to imagine natural spaces. But no one actually ‘believes’ these images more than provisionally. It is open to anyone to reimagine it.

    There is no such thing as ‘the official line’ on such narratives, which is what I think you are trying to assert. And you, or at least many of your associates, vehemently and routinely deny ideological/spiritual/religious ‘official lines’.

    You do not have a lock down on how Mount Wellington ought to be regarded. The mountain doesn’t have a spirit separate from us or you. This is just your vision; your romance; your fantasy.

    That vision has its constituency, but why should others share it, especially when what is being proposed is so lightweight, energy efficient, waste mindful, visually and environmental footprint minimalist, and offers the city and its visitors so much potential enjoyment and amenity?

    With respect, I can only explain your ‘spiritual’ yearnings and concerns in this matter by seeing them as emblematic of something else that is unstated; perhaps a kind of ideological displacement of a much more general loss of some sort; a kind of petty bourgeois angst that you are not nearly as important as you think you ought to be.

    Whatever the case, displacement behaviour never solves the underlying real problem, and it wastes effort. Tasmania does have major environmental challenges in front of it, but the Mount Wellington skylift isn’t one of them.

    • Geoff Holloway

      November 16, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      Christopher Nagle, there are so many incredible distortions of fact and logic in your unsubstantiated, gobbledegook diatribe that I am not going to bother to take them apart.

    • Geoff Holloway

      November 16, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      Also Christopher, you clearly do not understand the significance of the mountain, and how deeply people feel about it – but then again, that is not surprising given that you do not live here!

    • michael seabrook

      November 17, 2018 at 12:06 am

      look at what is offered by the shonky pollies/councillors
      monopoly rights to develop the mountain top for is it 100 years.
      monopoly rights to the springs development if the existing monopoly rights holder pisses off.
      massive costs and restrictions to drive up the mountain and car parking ( look at queenstown nz, rotorua nz, vancouver, saltzburg etc. – only way the cable cars can make money.
      handouts and special rate etc, deals from the council, state and fed governments.

      will steal est. 20% of customers from other businesses (without compensation) set up to service the cruise ship passengers

    • MjF

      November 17, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Beautifully put, CE-N.
      I much prefer your gobbledegook to Holloway’s any day.

      • spikey

        November 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm

        spin over substance, drowned in words
        no wonder you’re a fan fitch
        prolly why you still tow
        hilarious forestry lines

        • MjF

          November 18, 2018 at 8:31 am

          Can you impart some wisdom re Cadburys and orangatangs, Spike?


          Snide remark deleted.

          — Moderator

  5. Geoff Holloway

    November 16, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for the compliments Rob, but I disagree with your comments about Councillor Zelinda Sherlock.

    Although I have only met her briefly once after we have corresponded, it is my opinion, and that of many others to whom I have spoken, that she is very genuine and sincere, and certainly not immature. With an Arts/Law Degree she is in the final year of her PhD. I have seen a research brief of her PhD and it is very sophisticated and complex – she is clearly very intelligent. As for being “too young” – we need younger people in all levels of government, including Councillor Holly Ewin who has the spirit to move communities forward, and it’s time for the old guard to move on!

    I have only met Councillor Mike Dutta once, but he is highly respected across the community and strikes me as being equally compassionate and wise.

    I agree with you that the Cable Car issue needs to be disposed into the dustbin of history so that we can move on to the more important issues, as you have indicated.

  6. Rob Halton

    November 16, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Geoff, I am one of the most politically unGreen locals that one could imagine, but I do have a strong environmental ethic with a balanced view of things applying to both the buildup and the natural world.

    I cannot follow the Bob Brown /Jenny Weber bullshit as it continue to inhabit a fairy land over forestry and many of the associated land management issues, and I simply cannot trust their judgement in most cases!

    Look at this way that Reynolds woman, who is now the Mayor, bamboozled the voters her way via the anti cable car campaign as an Independent. Independent my tail! She is a Green, but it worked wonderfully to save the Organ Pipes from becoming a major environmental eyesore although in my opinion she will be a poor Mayor! Unfortunately it won’t be a crash hot council on development issues and we might need the close oversight of local government Minister Peter Gutwein, or better still former Mayor Sue Hickey who knows the ropes better than most!

    I am all for leaving the prominent face of the mountain alone altogether. Aas Alderman Jeff Briscoe put it, an alternative site away from the face of mountain from Glenorchy up from Tolosa .. but only if a private business case stacks up.

    Geoff, I admire the structure of your letter to Zelinda Sherlock. I have met her. She still is a bit too young and scatty to have been elected to council, and although her heart seems to be for the good of people, her lacking in maturity will be the issue we may all have to bear!

    Both Council and the state government need to terminate their interest in the Cable Car, and concentrate on tackling the impending out-of-control heavy traffic numbers along the Davey St / Macquaries St rat run onto the Southern Outlet.

    A plan to either construct a city bypass behind the city along the backside of Knocklofty towards the Western suburbs linking back to the Brooker Highway, or a tunnel under the city as was recently revealed by the joker from UTAS and ex HEC engineers, is part of an essential requirement to advance Greater Hobart.

    Geoff, the sad part is that the new Hobart City council with too many Greens will no doubt buck the trend for new roading infrastructure, and fiddle about with fairyland ideals that compromise car and heavy transport. These will remain the primary source of convenient transport in Tasmania for many years to come.

    Please get them to drop the Cable Car altogether, and get on with major road transport improvements! That is my message to the Local council, and the slow moving Hodgman government.

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