Tasmanian Times


If the DVC don’t get you then the TFS website will!

Pic: Copyright Giles Hugo. The dry lightning strike that lit a fire two weeks ago ...

The Derwent Valley Council gave us a hard time in September 2017, issuing a pending eviction notice for the alleged crime of illegally residing on a site designated “General Industrial”, which is not allowed these days, but was in 1993 when we bought our property.

This is the former ANM Depot, just 2 km west of Maydena. https://tasmaniantimes.com/2017/10/please-help-me-i-am-in-serious-trouble/ The DVC have still, 16 months later, not even acknowledged our objection to their pending eviction notice, let alone provided us with the details of how they ruled on our appeal, or what their assessment of our current legal residence status is?

The whole illegal bullshit eviction notice was so that a proposed limestone quarry, just 300 metres away, could proceed, without violating the 2017 Quarry Code of Practise guidelines, which prohibit such operations within close proximity to “legal” residents.

The quarry has still not started operations, nor gained Ministerial approval to do so.  The final approval (or not), we have been officially informed, is currently being assessed, and a Ministerial approval, (or not), is imminent (as it has been for over 12 months!)

Our other immediate threat is of being consumed by fire from the adjacent Gell River bushfire, currently having burnt over 26000 ha and counting daily.  It is now just 12 km west of us, and has such a huge presence that any high temperature day with strong winds between westerly and north westerly, could spell our doom.

Just last night for example, it was rather balmy temperature wise and windy from the west with a wonderful red glow visible in the sky to our west.  As I explained to my daughter when she asked this morning how we were getting on : –

Qn :” Hi dad, how is that fire up your way?”

A: “Well, the TFS guys came along about 10.30 last night and said be prepared to evacuate or stay and defend, because the fire had crossed Gordon River Rd about 12 km from us; and was heading our way at a rate of knots.  We could see a nice red colour in the sky to our west.

Then when we woke this morning the wind was gone and we had 7 mm of rain. It is now jumper needing cold and raining again with 5 mm of fresh rain in the gauge at the moment

Let’s hope for another few more inches of rain before things start heating “up again?”

Well then, an astute observer might ask? – What is the current fire status for the Gell River fire for Maydena residents? ( It is appreciated that lots more Tasmanian residents are in a diabolically more extreme fire situation, but this is just about the Gell River fire development!)

A:  Who knows? 

The TFS website is great at upgrading their reports, by simply altering the reported date and time, but unfortunately hopeless at upgrading their area burnt statistics, and their maps of the areas burnt in various fire emergency areas. (typically 2 + days to upgrade their maps of the area burnt).  Even when the area burnt is provided in a map of the area, there is no way of knowing just where the active fire front areas are in the ubiquitous grey colour of the fire burnt area.  (the Sentinal website  https://sentinel.ga.gov.au/#/   is streets better in this regard! )

It seems such a shame that the men and women doing all the stressful amazing work of extinguishing the fires are let down by bureaucratic incompetence which fails to explain the hour by hour situation on their website in regard to where the various fire hot spots are,? This is especially in regard to articulating what is being done in detail to fight the fires, such as back burning, bulldozer fire lines, and the various types and effectiveness of fire fighting air tractors etc?

Wind data at the fire locations, such as speed and direction, with details of local variability, continually updated, would also be invaluable.  This would avoid us having to rely on very general BOM forecasts covering just general areas of the State?

Some of us would also like an explanation of just how come the immediate fire response seemed so tawdry?  i.e. How come no 27th December immediate response to the Gell River 2 ignition lightning ignition sources via permanently positioned sky train type heavy lifting helicopters lifting water and tracked bulldozer type fire fighting equipment to the initial ignition sites.?

How come no Lidar satellite image use to enable immediate recognition of new fires?.  How come we can spend 100 billion dollars plus on a dozen new submarines for nonexistent enemies when we are under real and immediate threat every year in every State by our real enemy – BUSHFIRES?  How come our defence forces can’t be involved in our real enemy fight? How come the old Forestry Commission fire towers are no longer deployed – Oh yes, just on that matter – How come we have heard nothing from Sustainable Timbers Tasmania, on what they have contributed to the fire fighting effort?

Regular TT readers will also recall that a few of us bitterly complained about the TFS website and fire-fighting strategies in Tasmania a couple of years ago, all to no avail. https://tasmaniantimes.com/2016/02/some-suggestions-for-bushfire-control-authorities-in-tasmania-and-elsewhere/  and  https://tasmaniantimes.com/2016/02/fighting-tasmanian-fire-service-website-incom-d1/  and also http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/Zero-tolerance-of-fires-in-Australia-a-new-paradigm-for/show_comments An independent report into fire fighting in bush areas/wilderness in Tasmania also was commissioned and duly reported to the government, http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/313013/TWWHA_Bushfire_and_Climate_Change_Research_Project_December_2016_Executive_Summary.pdf with no discernable response?

Anyway, today, after our panic situation of impending doom last night, we thought that at least it would be reassuring (or possibly not?) to hope that the Gell River fire TFS would have upgraded its map of how far we were from immolation?

Tough luck though – the Gell River fire map has been deleted from the TFS website!

Update, 1st February, 7 am.

The TFS Gell River fire map has finally returned, but God only knows how recent it is?  It shows the fire area now just 7 km away.  It can’t be too recent though because it doesn’t indicate any fire in Mt Field National Park, as reported today on the ABC website?

Ivo Edwards is accepting of his likely imminent fate of death by bushfire immolation, or DVC evicition gangsters, but would prefer death by firing squad for some justifiable more worthy cause such as the assassination of some worthy despot.  He is a research scientist and inventor

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


  1. Maureen Austin

    February 5, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    I am pleased that he was recognised, not pleased that some bureaucrat knocked back the Maydena Hauler. That aside I am more than happy to provide what I have written for others who knew the measure of the man – excuse my bias – and it includes other information on the area known as Fitzgerald. Unfortunately I tend to get a bit verbose as it is 50 + pages.

    Ivo, as far as I can work out you need to be careful treading on hallowed ground. I think the mill he built was at Pillingers (?) opposite the gate. True or false?

  2. Rob Halton

    February 5, 2019 at 11:15 am

    Maureen, sorry I did not respond earlier but your name as Maureen Larkins did trigger off some childhood memories from the 1950’s at Norfik, did you attend the local convent where the Presentation nuns ran a Catholic schooling religion based dictatorship, the girls were generally treated as Ok, no wonder I enjoyed my extra curricular activities lighting fires up the back of the township on Peppermint Hill and causing havoc generally. among the religious authorities.
    Sorry that I ever terrified your family, you lived close to the Quarry as I recollect, just up from Dulcie Fyle’s place.

    After finishing High School worked at Boyer for a while and I think that your father was Terry who worked shift work there too, your Dad was also a football trainer for the Eagles wasnt he!

    As you are probably aware the Haltons came from Tyenna Dad and his younger brothers toiled at farming,growing Browells Up to Dates and King Edwards, paling splitting regnans for the Melbourne fencing market and contract work road building and railway ballasting this was in the 1920/30s before the advent of modern machinery similar to what your innovative grandfather Elwin Charles Larkins had to cope with before bulldozers and electricity was available for timber getting and sawmilling. closer to the stands of suitable virgin hardwood stands.

    I would guess that the best references about Chummy’s working life was well recognised with Risbys is the publication Against the Odds by Alex Graeme Evans,
    pages 191-215 are entirely devoted to his bush based achievements from around 1920 till the mid -late 1940’s.

    For your information too Martin, a copy is available at the Hobart lending Library and I must confess that I have only recently been aware of its presence. in saw milling history.

    Maureen we can correspond if you so wish, again I offer an apology for my vagueness!


    Robin Halton! All the above is totally off topic AS USUAL with you, and so it is in breach of TT’s Code of Conduct, YET AGAIN!

    As your letter is addressed to Maureen and contains personal memories, and as you’ve offered her the potential for private communication, you should have emailed the Editor directly and asked him if Maureen would consent to you having her email address. The most friendly tone of your letter suggests that she would be happy about that.

    Your entire Comment above may be deleted soon. This will give you an opportunity to copy it in readiness for Maureen’s acceptance.

    Tasmanian Times is NOT social media as this term is generally understood, nor is it an online Post Office for the reception, holding and forwarding of personal correspondence.

    — Moderator

    • MJF

      February 5, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      I have my own treasured copy thanks Robin, as does Geoffrey Swan.

      Stay on track old boy.

    • Rob Halton

      February 5, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      Moderator, thanks for the trial by error over my comments as it seems TT has changed its approach since the new formatting has come into play. Nevertheless I will contact the Editor re Maureen’s contact details.

  3. Pete Godfrey

    February 2, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Ivo, It appears that the Derwent Valley Council was just trying to scare you out of objecting to its mate’s quarry.

    I believe that they knew that they did not have a legal leg to stand on because your property was built way before the Local Government Act was brought in in 1993.

    I’m glad to hear that they have gone to ground.

  4. Maureen Austin

    February 2, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Not much has changed, one thinks, since February 7th 1967 when the HFB was notified of fire at Fern Tree.

    The Chief hops in the first truck with the crew. At Fern Tree it is decided that reinforcements are required, so in the second truck the crew and the Deputy Chief head to Fern Tree.

    This left Tasmania without expertise as these men were not able to get back down to headquarters until much later.

    • Simon Warriner

      February 2, 2019 at 1:18 pm

      There seemed a brief period of hope .. then John Gledhill retired. Funny that his 2 IC missed out on the job. I wonder why that was.

      And given their actions, are you sure what was stuck at Ferntree was actually “expertise”?

  5. Maureen

    February 2, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Thankyou, Ivo.

    My Grandad “Chummy” would be very displeased, I am sure. He would be asking ‘why did they not track the lightning storm on the day?’ and like me, he would agree with Clive.

    His efforts were well recognised way back in 1934 – a legend of the bush.

    • MjF

      February 3, 2019 at 10:12 am


      Is that E. C. (Chummy) Larkins ?

      • Maureen Austin

        February 3, 2019 at 12:08 pm


      • Maureen Austin

        February 3, 2019 at 7:18 pm

        Hello MjF … I have just had another look at 1934 and I think his story should be a compulsory read for today’s fire fighters.

        His early life was not good. Three years of school and out to work from 12 years old among other things. I did send some stuff to RCH who was going to check out his (short) time with Forestry, so maybe we can add some flesh to the man who some said was the best Bushman Tasmania ever had.

  6. Pete Godfrey

    February 2, 2019 at 10:05 am

    I go along with Clive that it may be a little on the conspiracy theorist side, but my feeling is that allowing the wilderness to burn is payback.

    I think you may be right on the ash bed theory, Clive. It is akin to being given the bird by the government.

  7. Russell

    February 2, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Where are the water bombers?

  8. Clive Stott

    February 1, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    That’s a nicely caught cloud-to-ground lightning strike, Giles.

    Ivo, you know very well that you don’t stop fires, or smoke, at the source. That makes way too much sense!

    Excuse me for thinking that this ‘unpreparedness’ each year is deliberate.

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