Tassie On My Mind, February 2012
- bigger and better

Welcome to the February 2012 issue of Tassie On My Mind, a free monthly newsletter keeping you informed of the latest news on what makes Tasmania such an attractive travel destination.

Bigger and better seems to be the theme as I look around at what's happening in Tasmania lately. Sales of Tassie products are growing bigger. Tassie achievements are getting better. Even the universe is getting bigger!

What has Tasmania got to do with that?

Read on to see what I mean...

This issue:

  • Bigger universe
  • Better cherries
  • Bigger & better market
  • Better platypus health
  • Bigger & better future for young DJs

Plus... your chance to be a part of tasmania-attractions.com!

Bigger universe

I don't think anyone doubts that the universe is pretty huge. In our galaxy alone there are 600 billion stars. That figure is too large for me to even imagine.

Well an international research team have just discovered that every star in the night sky could have up to two planets attached to it. That's pretty amazing!

Our own star (the Sun) has more than 2 planets, including ours, Earth.

The research behind the discovery is called Project Planet. Dr John Greenhill, of the University of Tasmania School of Maths and Physics, led a team of Tasmanian scientists on the project.

According to Dr Greenhill, every astronomer wonders whether there is any life on other planets. Plus he said:

"In 20 years' time there's a good chance we will know if there is."

Terrific, I might still be around when they find that out!

Better cherries

Do you like cherries? Well here's your chance to pick up some A grade ones. They are available all over Tasmania.

What's happened? Due to the soggy growing season, less cherries have been graded as export quality. So the rest are available to "roadside customers" in Tasmania!

Now's the time - go for a drive, grab yourself some top cherries. It's going at an average of $10 a kilo.

According to Lucy Gregg of Fruit Growers Tasmania,

"2012 is the Year of the Farmer and we encourage consumers to visit their local farm gate or farmers markets and meet the producers".

The Tasmanian Fruits Farm Gate guide will show you how to find them.

Bigger & better market

I'm referring to Hobart's Salamanca Market. It's certainly a lot bigger than when it first started. The Market has just turned 40, so it's an appropriate time to reflect on how far the market's come.

The market started in 1972, with just 34 stalls. These days you will find over 300 market stalls at Salamanca Place on Saturdays. And some of the original stallholders are still there:

  • Sally East and her jewellery stall
  • Louise Graham and her designer clothes stall
  • Loretta Olsen and her toy stall
In summer, about 40,000 people visit the market every Saturday. In winter, it's 25,000 per Saturday.

According to Hobart Lord Mayor Damon Thomas, it's

"one of those special places where you actually meet the people who create, make or grow what they sell".

That is so true. I certainly found that to be the case during my own visit to the Salamanca Market

Better platypus health

That is the aim of a national study investigating what is behind a potentially fatal disease threatening wild platypuses.

About 100 platypuses in Tasmania will be microchipped so that they can then be tracked. Hopefully this will help scientists learn more about platypuses in the wild.

According to James Macgregor from the MurMurdoch University School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences' Conservation Medicine Program, there is still much to uncover regarding:

  • causes of platypus deaths,
  • platypus breeding habits and
  • how the environment affects platypus health.
Mr Macgregor will also be getting the help of the public with measuring platypus population densities. Data will be collected on sightings over a six month period.

The emergence of the Devil Facial Tumour disease was bad enough. And now we have this platypus fungal disease mucormycosis.

I hope we will succeed in finding ways to keep our platypuses as well as our devils safe and healthy.

Bigger & better future for young DJs

It looks like a couple of Tassie teenagers are the youngest Australians on the air.

For over four months now, Owen Andrews and Brodie Farrell-Oates have been hosting their own weekly show, The Browen Show, on Edge Radio.

According to Brodie,

"We do the lot - we play the music, run the sound equipment, update the web page, everything any other radio host would be expected to do."

Apparently the show has something to offer everyone, not just the young. But as you might expect, the show has a strong local flavour.

According to Owen,

"We talk about a lot of upcoming Tassie gigs and local news."

Owen and Brodie will soon be completing Certificates III and IV in Radio Broadcast. This will allow them to pass on their knowledge to other aspiring radio broadcasters.

I didn't even know you could get Radio Broadcasting qualifications!

I think it's great that young people are encouraged to excel in so many different areas. Whether it's in astronomy, platypus research, radio broadcasting or other fields, there should be lots of opportunities for young people to get involved.

Go young Tassies!

Well that's it for this issue.

I love how so many exciting ideas come from Tasmania. I just read about Tasmanian scientist David Bowman suggesting that getting animals like elephants and rhinos to Australia to eat our feral grass could be of great benefit.


Feral grass is very flammable. Less feral grass means less bushfires.

As you'd expect there has been a mixed reaction to Bowman's suggestion. As Bowman has said though, he wants to trigger serious thinking and debating on these important issues that impact us so greatly. I hope Bowman gets a fruitful discussion going.

See you in March!

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