'Wild Heart of Tasmania' by Greg French (and anxiety)

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'Wild Heart of Tasmania' by Greg French (and anxiety)

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 7:33 am

I've just finished reading Geg French's latest book, 'Wild Heart of Tasmania'. As usual it is brilliant, and easy to read. Greg has a vast amount of knowledge about some of Tassie's great wild areas, based on his experiences in various roles as well as recreational pursuits, and does a lot of research and interviews to fill in the gaps. (I'd read his 'Frog Call' a long time ago and also thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I have no interest at all in fly fishing.)

A lot of this new(ish) book is taken up by the Lake Malbena and Halls Island fiasco over recent years and I found that it unexpectedly re-triggered my anxiety issues.

When the Halls Island debacle blew up, I created a web site for it, and actually got the site to the top of the Google rankings for searches for "Halls Island" for a while. However, I found that every time I got involved in discussion about the issues, I started feeling overwhelmed, sick, and (what I now know to be) anxious. I later discovered that I do have a tendency to suffer from anxiety issues. I had to totally cease updating the Halls Island website, and it has been stagnant and not updated for several years now, due to the anxiety that dwelling on that development proposal caused. I found that reading 'Wild Heart of Tasmania' triggered my anxiety all over again - but it was still worth reading.

I felt very conflicted while reading the book, because of this. I deliberately avoided attending any of the protest rallies or events related to the Halls Island hotel proposal, because the more I thought about it, the more sick/anxious I felt. However, after reading the book, I wish I'd been more directly involved in those actions - I wish I'd taken part in the rallies.

What's really odd, is that I've only been to Halls Island once, and don't have anywhere near the connection to it that many other people have (although that was one of my favourite off-track walks/paddles of all time). So it's strange that it affects me so much. But I think it's more about the overall sense of the loss of wilderness that the Lake Malbena proposal represents, rather than the specific location itself. Or as Greg puts it in his book, its more about the dispossession. Ie, spending time in the wilderness is a natural and normal part of life, and they have taken this away from us by giving part of our national park to a commercial entity for their exclusive use. If they can do it for one part of one national park, there is nothing to stop them doing it anywhere else. It still makes me sick (literally) when I think about it too much.

Anyhow, I highly recommend the book. Apart from a great read about many great wild places and many great Tassie characters, its probably the best overall documentation that has been put together about the Malbena/Halls/Wild Drake fiasco. It's got just about the entire history of the issue in one place (although of course, it is not over yet, with more still to come). It also includes a lot of rather personal information from Greg's own life that I imagine must have been difficult to publish.

Although I'd kept up-to-date with the Halls Island hotel proposal as much as I could, there was still some information that was new to me. In particular, it was the first time that I'd red about Reg Hall's daughter's feelings on it all, which is something that I'd wondered about, after she had passed on the Halls Island lease to Daniel Hackett.

Oh, and the book mentions a few people who I know are members on this forum. :-)

Has anyone else read 'Wild Heart of Tasmania'? Any further thoughts or opinions?
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Re: 'Wild Heart of Tasmania' by Greg French and anxiety atta

Postby johnw » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 9:17 am

I also enjoyed reading Greg's "Frog Call" many years ago now, it's here on one of my bookshelves somewhere.
Also I have no interest in fly fishing, or fishing in general. Don't mind watching others catch them, and I do like eating them though.

Like many others here I've supported the "against" side of the Lake Malbena issue in the past, and still get updates from the TNPA, although I can't say I'm completely up to date.
I believe that it's definitely a much broader issue for the whole country, just that Tasmania seems to be at the pointy end of it with Lake Malbena.
Unlike you I've never been there, probably around Lake Meston et al is the closest I've gotten, so I have even less of a connection, but I do have some experience of the beauty and serenity of the remote highland lakes.

NIk, I'm a fairly introspective, introverted, quiet person. Being anxious at times is normal for me. I hate conflict and it takes a monstrous effort to confront others even when I know it's the right thing to do.
I think I can understand how you may feel. It literally makes my blood boil when I become aware of how entitled individuals, organisations, and governments, continually get away with dispossessing the general public. And I shouldn't let that get to me - I have high blood pressure these days, among other medical problems that seem to come with age, regardless of being quite fit.

I'm guessing the time and effort you put in to the Halls Island/Malbena issue was significant and would have made a large contribution. Attending rallies, protests etc is not my thing either, best left to those who want to be there. Like you, I know I can be effective in other ways, but you always need to consider your own health and wellbeing first.
I'll have to get hold of Greg's new book, it sounds like he has hit the nail on the head.
John W

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Re: 'Wild Heart of Tasmania' by Greg French (and anxiety)

Postby north-north-west » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 12:52 pm

That book has inspired a number of recent walks, including trying to recreate the Walls to leeawuleena thing that the teacher used to do with their students. Still not sure which route would be best ... have to try one more.

It's a pity you couldn't have attended any of our rallies and meetings (one at Miena was particularly good - fresh hot scones with jam and cream, along with other goodies, were included in the hall rental) but you have to put your health first.

Most of the relevant information is in there. Only major detail I know of that's been left out (for legal reasons so I'm not naming names here either and don't bother asking) is the probable big mover and shaker behind the scenes.
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Re: 'Wild Heart of Tasmania' by Greg French (and anxiety)

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 1:10 pm

johnw wrote:Also I have no interest in fly fishing, or fishing in general. Don't mind watching others catch them, and I do like eating them though.

Oh, yes of course, when I said I have no interest in fly fishing, that was not quite correct. I do occasionally enjoy walking with fly fishers when they catch and DON'T release, and I can partake in their catch. I get a bit annoyed with them when they release the first fish saying, "it's OK, we'll get more later", but they don't. I do like the very relaxed solo walking that I sometimes do when on a bushwalk with fly fishers. It's usually a base camp somewhere in the Western Lakes, and while the fluff-chuckers do their thing all day, I'll wander further afield on my own, just exploring and practicing my navigation skills. And with any luck, there'll be fresh trout for dinner.

north-north-west wrote:It's a pity you couldn't have attended any of our rallies and meetings (one at Miena was particularly good - fresh hot scones with jam and cream, along with other goodies, were included in the hall rental) but you have to put your health first.

A few years ago, at the peak (so far) of the debacle, I did tell my wife that if push comes to shove and it all got approved, I would do a 'bob brown' and would participate actively in a blockade. I did warn her at that time that it could involve being arrested.

north-north-west wrote:Only major detail I know of that's been left out (for legal reasons so I'm not naming names here either and don't bother asking) is the probable big mover and shaker behind the scenes.

Yes, I once had a phone call from somebody who said that they know somebody who works for that 'big mover' and saw the paperwork. Not concrete enough for me to put it in writing either, but it certainly fits all the evidence, including manipulating Tas government.

There is some allusion to this in the book, but of course he couldn't have written much more about it without solid evidence.
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Re: 'Wild Heart of Tasmania' by Greg French (and anxiety)

Postby johnrs » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 1:48 pm

And Greg is talking this afternoon Fri 15 at 4:45 from lake Malbena via satphone on ABC Hobart.
Here is alink https://www.abc.net.au/listen/live/hobart
John
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Re: 'Wild Heart of Tasmania' by Greg French (and anxiety)

Postby myrtlegirl » Sun 17 Mar, 2024 10:53 am

johnrs wrote:And Greg is talking this afternoon Fri 15 at 4:45 from lake Malbena via satphone on ABC Hobart.
Here is alink https://www.abc.net.au/listen/live/hobart
John


Despite agreeing earlier in the week, ABC pulled the interview, after advice from their legals. Greg and the other walkers out there learned this when he rang them an hour before the scheduled interview to check reception; ABC couldn't even take the time to tell Greg's media liasion person themselves.

Someone/some dept/some organisation 'may' have contacted ABC to tell them not to do it - which suggests to me that they're very worried about the campaign to stop our parks being locked up by secretive private developments. So I'm pleased they're worried, whilst being mightily peed off that ABC can't take a call from someone in one of our National Parks.

How would the Franklin Dam saga have been reported if they'd behaved this way?

I'm not necessarily blaming ABC for being gutless, more feeling sorrow that they've been so gutted.
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Re: 'Wild Heart of Tasmania' by Greg French (and anxiety)

Postby johnrs » Sun 17 Mar, 2024 1:00 pm

Yes MG
Politics is close and personal in Tasmania!
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