THIS WEEKS FEATURE ARTICLES
All articles are copyright, no reproduction in any format without permission.
If you must use our writers work at least contact us first.
Geeveston celebrates pioneers
Geeveston Archives and History Society (GAHS) has been busy in past months, preparing exhibitions relating to Anzac Day. Articles and memorabilia on the Anzac story will be displayed at two locations – Geeveston and Dover. The displays will focus on WWI. One display is at the Esperance Museum. It is open every day from 9am to 5pm until Friday 24 May. A bigger display, including memorabilia, will be shown at the Schoolmaster’s House on Thursdays from 11am to 2pm until 26 May, or by appointment, by phoning
0455 905 656.
The Schoolmaster’s House is in the rear grounds of Geeveston Primary School, School Road, Geeveston. The display is a delightful mix of information and objects. Amongst the displays are several interesting stories about servicemen and women from the Geeveston and Huon areas. Among them is Ettie Rout, a volunteer worker from Tasmania who was once called “The most wicked woman in England”. Her work as a nurse (and a sort of social worker) earned the wrath of strait-laced church fathers. What a ground-breaker she must have been! Other interesting stories feature Geeveston-born Frederick Sharp, the first recorded person to throw a bottle message into the water as he was leaving for overseas, and Edward Sutcliffe from the Cameleer
You can also see an honour roll of local people who served in WWI, as well as a memorial list of those who made the greatest sacrifice.
Visitors who cannot access the Esperance Museum stairs can visit the Schoolmaster’s House which has wheelchair access.
The display at the Schoolmaster’s House is especially poignant, with a mixture of military artefacts set in an almost homely background, showing the life and times of those who sailed overseas to serve the Empire and their country. The hardships they faced were horrendous, and the display illustrates the ordinary backgrounds they came from.
Recognising the sacrifices and honouring the fallen is just one aspect of the exhibition. The photos and objects of those who died lend a sense of perspective. The lesson to be learned is that life is short, whether in war or in peacetime.
Putting together displays, collecting history and keeping all historical artefacts safe and in good order is a job of dedication, and the GAHS is always on the lookout for new members. Membership is down – some members have passed away, some have moved away, and some have run out of puff. However, the GAHS is still a vibrant and active society, with a terrific calendar of events coming up. Grant applications are being prepared to enable further activities.
The GAHS has an interest in the deconsecrated St Peter’s Church next to the Geeveston Visitor’s Centre. This building will be an ideal home and permanent museum for GAHS as well as a space for an upgraded family history and reference area. If they are successful in acquiring the building, they will have to find a considerable amount of money to pay for it. Grant applications are only the beginning – the society will also be looking for a lot of help to assist in the setting up and running of their new home, if they are successful. Community meetings and fundraising activity continues. Members say they have had a lot of support from local politicians and local community members, for which they are most grateful.
The GAHS was formed to record, collect, exhibit and preserve the history and heritage of the area of the west bank of the Huon River bounded by Castle Forbes Bay in the north and Surges Bay in the south. The society meets on the first Saturday of each month at 10am in the Schoolmaster’s House in School Road, Geeveston. General meetings last about one to two hours. Donations and queries about membership may be made in writing to The Secretary, PO Box 18, Geeveston, 7116 or by phone on 0455 905 656.
To everything there is a season
Nobody wanted my father to die, least of all him. But the time came when his life didn’t have much quality, when the ambulance had to be called one more time, when the procedures to rescue him from one more threat became harder to endure. The last time we called the ambulance the decision had been made for him to go into a palliative care ward. Dad still hoped to come home, after ‘things got straightened out’, but it was not to be. Instead, he was made comfortable – pain-free and distress-free – and he died a week or so later. It was a time of handing over to the medical and nursing teams that knew so well how to manage this, and
a time for the family to suspend their everyday lives and discover some very special moments, together and with our father. Anyone who has had similar experiences will know how amazingly compassionate, insightful and knowledgeable are the people who work in the field of palliative care. National Palliative Care Week, an annual awareness-raising week, will be held from the 21 to 28 May. The theme this year is, “You matter, your care matters. Palliative Care can make a difference.”
What is it?
Palliative care is healthcare provided to people who have a terminal illness. It is active and supportive care that maximizes quality of life and comfort. Palliative care can be provided in private or public hospitals, hospices, residential aged care facilities and in
a person’s home. More than 130,000 people die each year in Australia.
In a multicultural society such as ours, many things – our cultural beliefs, our experience of war, accidents and loss, and our religious beliefs – shape our attitudes to dying. As we live longer we have expectations of our health system; community structures have changed. Fewer people die at home than in past generations, so many of us have little experience of caring for the ill or dying. Families are less likely to live near each other today.
Specialist palliative care teams provide direct care for those with complex care needs and also support other health professionals working in the community or in hospitals to care for their patients as they approach the end of their lives. Because palliative care is based on individual needs, an affirming approach that enables autonomy and dignity, the services for each person differ. These services can include relief of pain and other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, and support for emotional, social and spiritual concerns. The team has access to equipment needed for caring for a person at home, and links to home help, financial support and respite services. They also offer counselling and grief support, and assist families to come together to discuss sensitive issues. It’s a family-centred model of care, meaning that family, close friends and carers can receive practical and emotional support. When there are issues that can’t be shirked, the palliative care team will help guide patients and families through unfamiliar territory and find a way through the unknown.
Seen from the inside
For many years I worked as a volunteer with Hospice Care, an organisation that works hand-in-glove with palliative care teams. Hospice Care volunteers receive a thorough grounding in all aspects of grief and caring for their future clients and work closely with health professionals to maximise this care. The service is free and also provides bereavement support to those whose loved ones have died. The Association also offers workshops to organisations and the general public on topics such as grief and loss and communication and support skills for those involved with end-of-life care. In a society where death and dying are less familiar than in the past and where these issues are avoided because they are often too painful to raise, Hospice Care is keen to raise awareness of the work they and palliative care professionals do. They will be very involved in National Palliative Care Week. This year’s theme will highlight how palliative care helps people accessing aged care services to have
a high quality of life, right to the end of life, as people in aged care often have more than one chronic illness, affecting their health in different ways. Palliative care can help manage their symptoms – among the many things they do so well this is at the top of the list of things they do best – and improve their quality of life.
After Jim Colville’s wife Margaret died, he recalled their involvement with hospice and palliative care and the many ways Margaret’s wishes had been granted. “There was laughter as well as sadness,” he said. “It’s a big strain … I couldn’t have done it without the help of these organisations.” To find out more about NPC Week, visit www.palliativecare.org.au.
To access information or the services of the Hospice Care Association, visit www.hospicesouthtas.org.au.
S.O.S: save our shorebirds!
In December 2015 NRM South and the South East Regional Shorebirds Alliance sent out a plea to “watch your step ... for beach nesting birds ... near the dunes, in spring and summer ... watch your step at the beach.” Shore nesting birds are especially vulnerable to human activity, and to the animals associated with humans.
Now NRM South is sending out another call, an S.O.S: save our shorebirds! For the rest of this month, NRM South’s ‘Tassie Shorebirds Rescue’ is making plans to assist the welfare of vulnerable Tasmanian shorebirds, before the expected influx of tourists and visitors again put shorebirds and their nesting sites at risk.
Tasmania’s shorebirds need our help. Our beaches are increasingly popular with summer visitors, but beach-nesting shorebirds are facing an uncertain future, with many populations in decline. Money is needed for remedial work and nesting site protection. NRM South’s Tassie Shorebirds Rescue crowdfunding campaign desperately needs $60,000 to respond to the impending Tassie shorebird crisis. Funding will go directly to boosting shorebird conservation activities in the 2017/18 breeding season. The work will include: installing signage; temporary fencing at key breeding sites around the southeast; increasing engagement activities; implementing educational events with visitors, regular beach users and local schools; continuing critical BirdLife Tasmania shorebird surveys; and supporting volunteer and community groups that protect local shorebird populations. Because shorebirds nest on the beach, they are especially vulnerable. We can help.
S.O.S: save our shorebirds!
Go to the website chuffed.org/project/tassie-shorebirds-rescue to find out about the campaign. There are some lovely pictures and some startling facts: “For a handful of Australia’s beach-nesting shorebird species, Tasmania is the final refuge in the fight against extinction. Home to a staggering 50% of the global population of hooded plovers, pied oystercatchers and sooty oystercatchers alone, Tasmania’s beaches are on the frontline of the battle for shorebird conservation. Over the summer holidays, Tasmania’s population more than doubles with visitors, with many visiting at least one beach. But our beaches are also home to hundreds of threatened and endangered beach-nesting birds desperately trying to breed, with nests and chicks precariously exposed to a myriad of dangers. Beach nesting shorebird eggs are laid right on the sand, camouflaged near the back of the beach or beside dunes.
“Our shorebirds have experienced an alarming decrease in numbers in recent years, particularly where they are breeding on beaches during the peak tourist season. Major tourism drawcards such as the Freycinet Peninsula, Bruny Island and Marion Bay are also prime breeding areas, and our shorebirds simply can’t compete with the rapid growth in visitor numbers.
“Species such as the hooded plover, pied oystercatcher, fairy tern, red-capped plover and little penguin are all facing an uncertain future. With barely visible nests that can be easily overlooked, breeding birds are frequently disturbed by people or animals, and more often than not, the chicks don’t survive. Every time they are disturbed by
a curious dog sniffing through the dunes, a careless step trampling on one of their eggs, or a 4WD crushing their entire nest, it represents a huge loss of effort, and in many cases can mean a lost breeding season.”
How to be involved
As well as giving money, concerned people can help in many ways, and there may even be rewards for the effort of being involved in the crowdfunding campaign. Check out the website. Or become a volunteer. The community and fellowship of being involved with organisations that are concerned about nature and our beautiful coastline can’t be overlooked. Since 2013, the South East Regional Shorebirds Alliance (SERSA) has been educating the community, locals and visitors about the crisis facing our beach nesting birds. Funded through NRM South, SERSA works with schools, community groups, visitors, locals and interest groups to promote the message that beach users should stick to wet sand, keep dogs on
a leash, and keep a respectful distance from shorebirds.
SERSA members include: NRM South, BirdLife Tasmania, Parks and Wildlife Service, Glamorgan Spring Bay Council, Tasman Council, Sorell Council, Clarence Council, Kingborough Council, Huon Valley Council and Landcare Tasmania. Think of all of those networks, and then think of the expansive community building and friendship groups involved if you become a volunteer. For information, email email@example.com.
500 words... Jasmine Smith-Browne holds forth on matters close to her heart
Inventions are man’s natural progression into the future. If it were not for many of them we would slip back into a past that is once more dogged by hard labour.
I was recently discussing with friends the inventions that have improved our lives and those that have made them worse, some of which we could do without altogether. The list of helpful inventions is long and forever being added to with new ideas.
But the inventions I want to discuss in this article are the ones that drive me bonkers.
I get easily conned into buying gadgets for the kitchen which are supposedly made for cutting time in half, but if truth be told, those gadgets inevitably get tossed to the back of the cupboard and the old trusty way of doing things stays with me. This seemed to be common among my friends as well.
I recall a time before cling wrap. It does have some merit but most of the time it drives me batty trying to rip off a piece that does not look like a dog chewed at it.
So cling wrap goes somewhere near the top of my list – one of those things we want to live without but just can’t.
I love my paper shredder but it has a way of jamming at the most inappropriate times, possibly because it doesn’t like the plastic name tags from parcels
I sometimes feed into it. One of those concealer stamps for obscuring confidential information is a better alternative.
Watering systems are the bane of my life. They seemed like
a good idea and a way to water with a glass in hand and just watch the flowers come back to life. The downside is leaks, cuts, bad connections and blockages. It is a full-time occupation keeping them in working condition.
I gave up last year and ripped 30m of them out of the garden. I now stand with a hose, still with glass in hand, and stop to take time to smell the roses.
Grrr, trigger-gun plastic bottles.Now they drives me nuts. If there are ten faulty ones on a shelf amongst hundreds I will inevitably buy one. Either the pump gives a limpid leak or doesn’t work at all. Most of the time
I seem to end up pouring the contents from the bottle instead. Do manufacturers deliberately make dud trigger-gun mechanisms just to irk unsuspecting customers?
Why do manufactures make those silly little metal rings for keys? Broken fingernails and pure frustration make me want to scream.Why are some hair ties for children made with a piece of metal joiner? When removed it pulls healthy handfuls of hair out with it. Those hard plastic packets that some scissors come in: you actually need scissors to get the packet open. Sort of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?
Sticky tape is on everyone’s hate list. It has a habit of hiding its end, and the minutes spent trying to find it are hateful.
Why did man invent remote controls for TV sets? Not only are they cause for many family arguments but most of them are ridiculously hard to work out. Ours needs an electrical engineering degree to use it. Maybe we need a voice-controlled TV. Life would be so much easier.
Or would that turn out to be another booby-trapped invention?
A pet hate I have when shopping is the self-serve checkouts that tell you to please place the item in the bag when you already have, but the item is too light to register. I have seen many a shopper hurling an item in again and again like a dart, only to still have to call an assistant.
I would really like to have community input into bad inventions. If an item really irks you, please write to me care of the Classifieds at JSB@southbus.com.au so
I can write my next article devoted to the masses. In my next lifetime I think I might come back as an inventor. I would take great care in making sure my inventions don’t drive people insane.
Missives from the seas
In an occasional series of chronicles from a cruise to the UK, Marian Hearn takes the
cableway up Table Mountain in Cape Town
I want one!
I know this will be controversial but I would like to see a sensitively built cable car on Mount Wellington like those found in so many other places around the world, including the one we travelled on up Table Mountain in South Africa. We were very fortunate that the mountain was clear on the day we arrived in port. We saw the famous ‘table cloth’ of cloud, but it lifted and the cable car was operating, unlike the day before and after when it was closed because of low cloud. We were also fortunate with the sea conditions as we rounded the Cape of Good Hope: it can often be rough as the Indian and Atlantic
So did this cablecar cause controversy? Not really. First discussed in the 1800s, the decision to build it was put on hold because of the First Anglo-Boer War, but in a referendum in 1912 the vast majority of residents voted in favour, despite the staggering cost of £100,000 (an immense sum in those days). Plans were halted once again by the outbreak of the First World War, before a Norwegian engineer named Trygve Stromsoe again suggested a cableway in 1926.
It opened in 1929 and, to date, has transported more than
22 million passengers to the summit. Around 800,000 visitors from all over the world use the cableway annually. Whilst the original cable cars were made of wood and tin, we traveled in hi-tech, Swiss-made Rotair cars at
a speed of ten metres per second; the average ascent now takes under ten minutes.
The cableway has transported some illustrious visitors over the years. During their official visit in 1947, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, and their daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, were met at the top of the mountain by 77-year-old prime minister Jan Smuts, an avid hiker, who had walked up.
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is one of South Africa’s most popular tourist attractions, transporting 65 passengers per car to the summit. The floor of each car rotates, giving everyone a wonderful 360-degree view on the way up. Before its installation, visitors wanting to explore the top had to hike the front face of the mountain. That route, which winds up spectacular crags, was tback in the 16th century. It remains
a favourite route, especially for those who hike one way and take the cableway another.
As a World Heritage Site, and home to one of the world’s ‘New
7 Wonders of Nature’, Table Mountain National Park’s spectacular beauty and rich bio-diversity is evident. An estimated 2,200 species of plants are found only there. Authorities have carefully constructed a café, information centre and small gift shop out of the local rock. All this has been done with environmental values to the fore, which has earned the developers many awards.
There is much more to see in Cape Town and we travelled around on the popular Hop On Hop Off Bus to get an overview. The city surpassed all expectations. It is beautiful, with amazing beaches and coastline. Of course there are poorer areas out near the airport, hidden away from the tourist route. One of our fellow passengers even noticed postcards of these shanty towns being sold.
Little is known of what we now call South Africa before the area was mentioned by a Portuguese explorer in 1486. Later, before the Suez Canal shortened the journey, many ships regularly stopped over in Table Bay en route to the Indies. They collected fresh water and traded tobacco, copper and iron in exchange for fresh meat.
The settlement grew slowly, as it was hard to find adequate labour. This prompted the authorities to import slaves from Indonesia and Madagascar. Many of these became ancestors of the first Cape Coloured communities.
Then came the Dutch East India Company bringing a wide range of useful plants such as grapes, cereals, ground nuts (peanuts), potatoes, apples and citrus.
As these were introduced to the Cape, the natural environment was radically altered.
And then diamonds and gold were discovered, changing South Africa for ever.
Scroll to Top