September 16, 2005

Southern Aurora — high alert

Photographed today, the giant sunspots shown above, are good indications that there could be some interesting Southern Aurora displays tonight or tomorrow night.

Shevill Mathers. our resident planetary expert, suggests not being deterred by the presence of the moon high in the sky.

“It will reduce the effects somewhat, but this should not stop you from looking to the south during the evening,” he says. “If it is a big display then we would expect to see various levels of activity extending perhaps from east to west and maybe overhead.”

He took this close-up two days ago.

Continued …

September 15, 2005

Snow captures fox paw print

A paw print in snow has been photographed near Arthurs Lake in the state’s Central Highlands just moments after five people watched what they believed to be a fox run across a road in front of their car.

Snow was patchy on the ground, and only one print was visible.

A spokesman for the Fox Taskforce, Warwick Brennan, said it was not yet confirmed that the print photograph, taken earlier this week, was that of a fox, but said the taskforce was investigating the sighting.

The report was one of the highest quality yet received because the animal was thought to have been just 30m from the car as it ran across the road before disappearing.

Report fox sightings and other evidence to the Fox Hotline 1300 369 688. Here’s a handy paw print comparison chart.

September 13, 2005

Another day in Paradise

Regular contributor Shevill Mathers captured this delightful scene on the Sorell side of the Pittwater Causeway, once again demonstrating the value of always carrying a camera with you.

We will shortly be introducing a Reader’s Gallery as a showcase for photographs of our island state. You can email them to us by

In the meantime, we just have to share an early morning shot taken by our front page webcam.

Update: A reader pointed us to this photograph in the collection of the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery by J W Beattie [c1880] which shows a similar snow coverage — and a much busier harbour.

September 12, 2005

A grounded captive

Tasmania’s lone Wollemi Pine, grounded in its sturdy cage at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden, has grown in stature — and value — since arriving here a few years ago.

More than 10 years after they were discovered in a national park west of Sydney, the first Wollemi Pines will go on sale to the public at the Sydney Botanical Gardens.

On October 23, auction house Sotheby’s will sell 292 “first generation” trees, propagated from cuttings of dinosaur-age conifers that, until 1994, were known only through fossils.

There will be 148 lots ranging from single trees to an avenues of 20. Prices will start at $1,500 for a single tree and climb to $15,000 for a grove. “They almost have a Jurassic look about them,” said Barbara McGeoch, of Wollemi Pine International.

The location of the wild pines is a closely-guarded secret. Conservationists hope commercialising the pines will protect them from extinction, vandalism, theft and introduced diseases.

September 02, 2005

Time to chime in

imageThis beautiful Thwaites and Reed clock was installed in St Luke’s Anglican Church in Richmond in 1922 and it’s chime finally stopped about four years ago after 80 years of hourly duty.

A major repair job put it back in service late last year, and it is back to chiming on the hour, every hour, day and night.

But all is not well in the historic tourist township.

A Sandy Bay couple, Maria and Chris Wallace, who bought a nearby house nine months ago are campaigning to to have its chimes stopped at night. Between them they spent three nights in the house and claim the hourly chimes stopped them from getting any sleep.

Local Margaret Johnstone, who organises a roster of 32 clock-winders, says she is amazed that anyone would want the clocks stopped.

This seems to be the view also of the Richmond Residents Association who voted unanimously to support the Anglican parish council of Sorell, Richmond and Sorell to maintain the clock’s status quo.

The Wallace’s in the meantime have finally found suitable tenants for the house — a couple who collect alarm clocks.


The Editor's Notebook is a platform for communicating with Leatherwood Online's readers wordwide, and for sharing items of interest from this delightful corner of the world.

Here's where you will find quirky tidbits about island life, extracts from the lively ongoing conversations about politics and poetry and, hopefully, lots of reader-contributed photographs to share.

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