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.

August 08, 2005

Jack jumper call to action


More than 12,000 Tasmanians suffer a serious allergy to jack jumper ant stings, and around 4000 are highly allergic, which can be life-threatening.

An internationally renowned clinical trial conducted at the Royal Hobart Hospital, has developed the only known effective vaccine, but research funding that provided this treatment to 60 trial participants for the last four years runs out in December 2005.

No-one has yet stepped up to the plate to ensure ongoing funding and pressure is now mounting among sufferers.

You can do your bit by visiting and adding your signature to their online e-petition.

August 04, 2005

The vulnerable little devil

imageTasmania’s Environment Minister Judy Jackson will approve plans to list the tasmanian devil as a vulnerable species.

The devil population has dropped by more than 20 per cent in the past decade because of the facial tumour disease.

The head of the devil disease program, Alistair Scott, says listing the devil under the Threatened Species Protection Act will give it formal protection.

He added: “We’re doing fairly extensive research in the laboratories and also in the field and have established the insurance populations, but as I said, this does provide further opportunities for funding.”

Further reading here

August 02, 2005

Bike Challenge


Your humble scribe has finally emerged from many long months, even years, of agony thanks to the skills of young Ravi, an Indian physiotherapist fairly new to Tasmania, who happens to work just round the corner from the new world headquarters of Leatherwood Online.

Within six short weeks he has prodded, taped, manipulated and massaged the right knee and transformed it from a swollen mass that had been unsuccessfully treated with cortisone, painkillers galore, and even courses of antibiotics to no avail, into a working joint.

A joint that can once again face the delights of the Inter-city Bike Track linking Hobart to its northern neighbours.

The challenge is now to get back into the routine of biking the length of the track and return (about 25km) at least four times a week as the weather gets colder. We will keep you informed.

Hugging the Derwent River and following the once-busy rail line it winds its way through Cornelian Bay, New Town, Moonah and on to Glenorchy, ending appropriately for thirsty bicyclists near Moorilla Vineyard.

Our photograph above shows one of the underpasses that has been creatively embellished through a work-for-the-dole scheme. Below is its counterpoint on the rail line side.


Oldest bridge being loved to death


Australia’s oldest bridge, built by convicts in 1823, is being loved to death.

More than a quarter of a million tourists tramp across the historic convict bridge at Richmond each year, according to Richmond Residents Association spokesman Graham Abbott.

It was designed for pedestrians, horses and carts, but today huge tourist buses, hire cars and heavy vehicles stream across the convict relic.

“The bridge is a historically sensitive structure,” says Dr Abbott, and added that parts of the bridge parapets had been knocked off by traffic into the Coal River.

He said a 1995 study by the state transport department recommended a 15-tonne limit for vehicles on the bridge.

Curiously, a sign near the bridge now allows vehicles of up to 25 tonnes to cross.


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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