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Their hopes on a rope

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 23 Maret 2013 | 19.55

DRAMA unfolds from the air in a unique acrobatic production that is in Hobart for Ten Days on the Island.

British aerial theatre company Ockham's Razor uses acrobatics to explores the highs and lows of relationships.

Ten Days on the Island artistic director Jo Duffy said the performance showed the trust, reliance and vulnerability between people working in the air.

"The performers portray recognisable experiences, emotions and conflicts that audiences can relate to, while at the same time taking patrons to the edge of their seats," Ms Duffy said.

The show opened last night at the Theatre Royal and will return today at 7.30pm.

For bookings, click here.


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'Why didn't they help my girl?'

A HOBART father is considering legal action against the Education Department after he says his 13-year-old daughter was subjected to eight months of bullying at her school, culminating in her nose being broken and an attempt made to set her on fire.

The father, whose name has been withheld to protect his daughter's identity, said he was left dumbstruck by the failure of school authorities to provide the most basic duty of care. "I'm shattered," he said of the school's inability to deal with the repeated bullying of his daughter.

The distraught father said he could not believe his daughter's tormentors – five 13-year-old girls -- were not expelled.

Rather, the man's daughter has become a victim again by being forced to change schools.

"I was in the army, I protected my country and now I can't protect my little girl," he said.

After being contacted for a response by the Mercury, the Education Department said it would investigate.

"The department takes all incidents of violence seriously and has procedures in place to deal with them," Education Department deputy secretary Liz Banks said.

"In this instance, the school acted promptly and the actions included suspension, mediation and appropriate counselling and support for the students involved."

However, the victim's father rejected Ms Banks' claims that the school had acted "promptly".

He said the school principal failed to meet with him, despite repeated requests.

The father said the school failed to contact police when his daughter, a Year 7 student, was punched in the face by her main tormentor in the school playground on March 6.

The attack resulted in his daughter having surgery last Wednesday to reset her nose, after a week waiting for the swelling to go down.

That assault occurred on her 13th birthday and her father had allowed her to mark it by having her naturally red hair dyed brown the day before.

"The teasing had started off last year with name-calling the usual 'ranga' and the like, and she wanted to dye her hair. I held out for a long time but it didn't stop and I gave in for her birthday," he said.

"I couldn't believe they didn't call the police after my daughter was punched in the face.

"I took her to the doctor on March 6 ... She told me [my daughter's] nose was broken and I took her to the police station."

He said police had been very supportive and were dealing with the matter and the offender was suspended from school for a week.

"The day after she returned from that suspension, [my daughter] was in what was supposed to be a safe zone classroom during the lunch break," he said.

"The teacher's aide supervising the room had not been told that the girls weren't allowed near her and she let them in.

"They walked straight up to [my daughter], sprayed her with aerosol cans of hairspray and deodorant and tried to light her on fire with cigarette lighters."

The terrified girl managed to push her way through the group and run to safety with her clothing singed.

The father again met with the school and it was suggested the best option would be to remove his daughter from the school and place her elsewhere.

"I can't believe it," he said.

"I'm afraid for her life."

He said the Education Department had phoned him yesterday after it was approached by the Mercury.

"They say they're looking into it but they're eight months too late. This is going to scar her for the rest of her life."

zara.dawtrey@news.com.au


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Tigers duo lead recovery

SHEFFIELD Shield final specialists Luke Butterworth and James Faulkner have again stood tall to lead a mini-rescue mission for Tasmania on day two at Blundstone Arena.

The Tigers stumbled early in the second session, losing 3-17 immediately after lunch to slump from 4-252 to 7-269 as Queensland roared back into the game.

Join our live blog for all the action during the final

But Faulkner (20 not out) and Butterworth (33 not out) steadied the ship, adding an unbeaten 56 for the eighth wicket before a passing shower saw tea taken five minutes early with the Tigers 7-325.

The two are no strangers to performing on the big stage, with Butterworth cracking his maiden first-class century in the win over NSW back in 2006-07 and then backing up with 88 against the same side in 2010-11.

Faulkner scored 71 in the same match two seasons ago.

Ryan Harris (3-81) kept the visitors in the match with a devastating spell to open post-lunch action.

He found the outside edge of Jonathan Wells' bat to gift keeper Chris Hartley with a simple catch, before trapping Tim Paine in front for a duck with a ball which kept low in his next over.

Shortly after Cameron Gannon snared the prized wicket of Tigers captain George Bailey for 42.

Given the home side's slow scoring rate, the Bulls would have fancied their chances of piling the pressure on until Tasmania's two star all-rounders combined.

The pitch is starting to show signs of variable bounce and the longer the Tigers can remain at the crease, the harder it will be for Queensland to extract an outright result.

A healthy crowd rolled up to this morning to watch the master in action but it was the next generational star who again stood tall.

Fans were hoping for another Ricky Ponting masterpiece but it was 20-year-old Jordan Silk -- playing in just his third first-class match -- who stole the show against Queensland.

Tasmania resumed at 2-176 with Silk unbeaten on 82 and Ponting 20 not out, with the pair looking to cash in on the grinding work Silk and fellow opener Mark Cosgrove (58) had done yesterday.

However while Ponting added just 15 to his overnight score before being trapped lbw by Bulls skipper James Hopes, Silk continued his stunning start to his career.

He reached three figures for the second time in just his fifth innings, displaying an incredible amount of concentration in the pressure cooker of a final.

After notching his maiden century against Victoria last week, the former New South Welshman stamped himself as a future Test prospect simply by the way he attacked his innings in the decider.

When he turned a ball from Michael Neser into the leg side and scampered through for his milestone, Silk had faced 341 balls and batted for 443 minutes.

He is the second youngest player to achieve the feat in a Shield final, behind Phil Hughes who was 19.

In an era where Twenty20 cricket has robbed many players of the ability of patience, his mental application cannot be underestimated.

His outstanding knock ended 15 minutes prior to lunch, when he got too far under a pull shot and was caught at fine leg by Luke Pomersbach off the bowling of Michael Neser.


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Power blackout hits city

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 22 Maret 2013 | 19.55

BUSINESSES in Hobart's CBD were without power for about 20 minutes this morning.

A large section of the city centre, including the Elizabeth Mall and Cat and Fiddle Arcade, lost power shortly after 11am with around 300 customers affected.

The blackout also affected traffic lights, slowing city traffic to a crawl until power was restored.

According to Aurora the blackout was caused by a contractor who accidentally flicked an incorrect switch while working on a substation.


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Tigers take it slow, steady

Jordan Silk survives a confident appeal from the Queenslanders. Pictures: RICHARD JUPE

TASMANIA has continued its long, slow grind in the second session of the Sheffield Shield final against Queensland at Blundstone Arena.

The Tigers have crawled to 0-90 at tea, with Jordan Silk (41) and Mark Cosgrove (45) refusing to budge from a game plan of stonewalling the Bulls' attack into submission.

Between them the duo has faced 363 balls -- for just 47 scoring shots.

Join our live blog for all the action during the final

The only chance of the second session came when Cameron Gannon had a golden opportunity to run Silk out but blew the offering.

Silk defended a ball towards gully and took off, only for Gannon to dive to his right, pick up and shy at the stumps.

Silk, who was on 34 at the time, was left stranded half way down the wicket but the throw was just wide.

Tasmania only needs a draw to snatch back the title they lost to the Bulls last season.

The highlights were few and far between in the opening session as well, with the Tigers reaching 0-41 at lunch.

Tigers skipper George Bailey won the toss and elected to bat on a pitch which looked vastly different from the usual day one offering at Bellerive.

Queensland's bowlers sent down 17 maidens out of the 32 overs bowled in the opening session.

Cosgrove survived a number of close lbw shouts early while the introduction of spin in the 12th over nearly brought the breakthrough when Nathan Hauritz found the edge of Silk's bat when he played slightly under an attempted cut shot.

However the chance was spilt at first slip by Ryan Harris, who was standing in a catching position to save energy given his recent workload after resuming from nearly a year out of the game with injury.

The only other hairy moment for Silk came in the second-last over before lunch when a Harris short ball didn't get up as much as the third-gamer expected and he was struck just above the elbow.

However after some treatment the 20-year-old continued on to the break.

Bulls skipper James Hopes, who only joined the squad yesterday following the birth of his daughter, had just one run scored off his opening five overs.

Read the full day one report in tomorrow's Mercury.


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Youth charged over ATM raid

A 15-YEAR-OLD from Waverley has been charged over a ram raid and attempted ATM theft at a BP petrol station.

The ram raid occurred early on Monday morning.

The youth was also charged with motor vehicle stealing, attempted burglary and breach of police bail relating to the same incident.

The youth was bailed to appear at the Launceston Youth Justice Court at a later date.

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Gillard retains top job

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 21 Maret 2013 | 19.55

PRIME MINISTER Julia Gillard has retained the leadership of the Labor party after Kevin Rudd ruled out challenging her in a snap Caucus ballot.

No one else stood against Ms Gillard for the leadership in the vote at 4.30pm today.

Treasurer Wayne Swan remains as deputy prime minister after Simon Crean withdrew his nomination.

For the latest leadership coverage, click here

"Both were duly elected unopposed and unanimously by the parliamentary caucus," returning officer Chris Hayes told reporters in Canberra today.

Ms Gillard later left the meeting smiling with Mr Swan. Mr Crean walked in another direction.

"I think this puts aside all the instability that's been associated with people's actions around the leadership issue and allows us to focus on moving on and talk to the electorate," Mr Hayes said.

Ms Gillard called the spill after Mr Crean held a press conference to call for a leadership ballot shortly before question time today.

Mr Hayes said the mood in the room after the meeting started was sombre.

"These things are certainly difficult," he said, adding it was emotionally draining for members and senators.

"They are things you don't look forward to."

But Mr Hayes said most were happy the leadership issue had been resolved.

"It puts beyond doubt the question of leadership of the Labor party."

Asked whether there was any discussion about whether Mr Crean was right to call for the leadership spill, Mr Hayes said: "There was no comment on that."

Read all about it in tomorrow's Mercury.


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Hopes rise for Bulls

Chat live with Mercury cricket experts Brett Stubbs and Adam Smith.

QUEENSLAND skipper James Hopes will lead his side out in tomorrow's Sheffield Shield final against Tasmania following the safe arrival of his daughter last night.

Hopes was waiting in Queensland for the birth of his first child while the rest of the Bulls flew to Hobart yesterday.

But the all-rounder will be fine for the decider after his wife Maria gave birth to a daughter, Emerson Charlotte, last night.

Bulls vice-captain Chris Hartley said Hopes would be ready to fire.

"James being captain -- and being arguably one of the best all-rounders in Australia still -- he's being doing that year after year and he gives our side great balance," Hartley said.

"With the bat, he is the kind of guy who can swing the momentum very quickly. With his bowling, he can shore up an end while the rest of the attack operates at the other.

"He is the type of guy you love having in your team.

"I don't think he will be too concerned about missing a couple of training sessions.

"The main thing for him is to make everything is going OK off the field and freshen up when he gets down here. He'll be fine tomorrow."

Tasmania only needs to draw the match to claim its third Shield, but captain George Bailey said his side would be playing for victory.

"That was one of the things we just did speak about. We went in the last couple of games with a real 20-wicket focus and that showed up in the games we played, in our intensity and our intent with the bat and the way we bowled," Bailey said.

"We feel when we are looking to win the game, that's when we play our best cricket. I don't think that will be any different tomorrow.

"It is too long a game to go in with a negative mindset or a drawing mindset."

Tomorrow's game starts at 10.45am.

  • Mercury cricket writers Brett Stubbs and Adam Smith will be running a live blog during the five-day final, starting tomorrow at 10.30am.

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Model has 'imaginary friend'

A YOUNG model who says she was sexually assaulted by a photographer has admitted writing blog posts about being delusional and to having an imaginary friend known as "the beautiful one".

Anthony Douglas Glass, 23, has pleaded not guilty to involving a person under the age of 18 in the production of child exploitation material, producing child exploitation material, two counts of aggravated sexual assault and indecent assault.

The incidents are alleged to have occurred during a photographic shoot in a Battery Point hotel room in September 2011.

Under cross examination from defence counsel David Gunson, SC, in the Supreme Court in Hobart today, the young woman admitted that two years ago she had written a blog post claiming to be severely mentally ill.

"I'm delusional and I am a suspected psychotic and bipolar. I can't say for sure, I'm waiting for a shrink to make it official," she wrote.

The young woman said she had written about being accompanied by imaginary companions --including 50 soldiers and a wolf -- but said at present she only saw a single vision, which she described as "the beautiful one".

She said she had never been formally diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.

Under further questioning, the woman said she had wanted to emulate her then idol -- Goth pin-up model Razor Candi.

The jury was today shown explicit pictures of the model taken from the internet.

The young woman admitted sending nude photographs to the accused by email and advertising on her profile on the Model Mayhem website that she was willing to do "pretty much anything".

She told the court she had been naive and not aware of the dangers of posting personal material on the internet.

"I thought it was a game," she said.

"I didn't take into account the warning signs. I set myself up."

The trial, before Justice Peter Evans, is continuing.


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Quirky new tourism campaign

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 20 Maret 2013 | 19.55

Tourism Tasmania's new Behind the Scenery campaign, fronted by John X.

IT'S not just about being good -- it's about being good and different.

That's the key message in Tourism Tasmania's new multi-million-dollar branding campaign -- Tasmania: Go Behind the Scenery -- to entice visitors to the island state.

Quirky, strange, novel, pristine, offbeat and abundant are some of the words that kept springing to mind when the state's peak tourism body sat down to come up with a new campaign 13 months ago.

And today that campaign was revealed to great fanfare and acclaim.

Using MONA as a starting point, the television ad presents the state in all its quirky glory with an old-style circus feel, heavy on theatrics and chock-full of cameos from Tasmania's most famous locals, including Tino Carnevale, Rob Pennicott, Sally Wise, Bill Lark, John X and David Foster.

Tourism Tasmania marketing director Kath McCann said the state was known for its stunning landscapes and incredible food.

"The holiday experience is on offer at first glance, but when you dig a little deeper it's the things that sit below the surface that are the real experience of Tasmania," she said.

The campaign's core activity will run in Sydney and Melbourne from Sunday until May 31 and will also involve a strong online and social media component to extend visibility and contact with millions of potential visitors across the country and beyond.

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said the campaign was a significant step away from traditional tourism marketing.

"In a sometimes comic and quirky way, the campaign encourages people who come to Tasmania to get to know more of our state, and travel beyond the major population centres and spend a few nights exploring those fantastic, truly Tasmanian experiences," Mr Bacon said.

In addition to print, TV, cinema and online banner advertising, the campaign includes "lift wraps", which will see the outer doors of elevators in high-traffic buildings in Sydney and Melbourne carry an image of an inviting entrance way.

Inside, the lift's walls are fully covered in imagery to give the impression of having stepped into the real place, such as a relic shop that actually exists in Tasmania's tourism hotspots.

To support the campaign, social media bloggers and photo journalists have been commissioned to develop new content.

Mr Bacon said the Go Behind the Scenery website would house more than 30 itineraries based on regional touring opportunities that take visitors behind the scenery across the state.

These itineraries have been developed in conjunction with the regional tourism organisations.

A series of comedic online videos will also be distributed through a campaign microsite. A video has been produced for each region featuring local actor John X as the presenter.

See the videos above

Production costs for the campaign were $1.3 million and the media spend was $1.7 million. Tourism Tasmania says the total value of media generated through the campaign is $3.3 million.


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Tigers ready to roar

AS Tasmania and Queensland prepare to do battle in the Sheffield Shield final, Tigers No.3 Alex Doolan is hoping the momentum gathered from two consecutive wins can drive the group to a third title.

The Tigers reached the decider after two outright wins against Queensland and Victoria, earning hosting rights at Blundstone Arena in the process, and the playing group is brimming with confidence.

Doolan, who was today one of five Tigers named in the ACA Shield All-Star team on the back of a break-out campaign which has netted 683 runs at 45.5, said things couldn't be better in the home side's camp.

"The change rooms are still abuzz after the Victorian game here. Hopefully we can continue the momentum from that game and take it into Friday's match," Doolan said.

"We have had some really good battles with them [the Bulls] over the last 24 months and hopefully this game is no different."

Queensland spearhead Ryan Harris, who is on the comeback trail from injury which has wiped out the majority of his 2012-13 season, is expecting nothing less than a tough encounter in a re-match of last year's final.

The big difference for the defending champions, however, is the game is on Tasmanian soil and not at the Gabba.

"Obviously it is really good to be back in a final and defending our title," Harris said.

"Both sides play pretty attacking cricket. Even last year we weren't trying to draw it, we were trying to win it. That is the best way to do it."

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury.


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Fake photog accused of assault

A SYDNEY man claiming to be a professional photographer sexually assaulted an aspiring young model he met online, the Supreme Court in Hobart has heard.

Anthony Douglas Glass, 23, today pleaded not guilty to involving a person under the age of 18 in producing child exploitation material, producing child exploitation material, two counts of aggravated sexual assault and indecent assault.

Crown Prosecutor Kate Brown told the court the 17-year-old woman created a profile on the Model Mayhem website and Mr Glass contacted her to arrange a modelling session including lingerie and nude photographs.

"In her mind this was the starting point of her career. A professional photographer was coming down from Sydney to do a shoot with her," Ms Brown told the court.

On September 20, 2011, the young woman met Mr Glass at the St Ives Hotel in Battery Point and went with him to his room.

He produced a small pocket camera, explaining that he had broken his larger camera.

"This naive young woman went along with it. She thought he was a professional photographer, that he knew what he was doing," the prosecutor said.

The young woman posed for photographs clothed and nude, alone and with Mr Glass, during which he allegedly indecently assaulted her.

He suggested they take a break and asked the young woman if she wanted to "fool around", at one point offering her $100.

She replied "I'm a model, not a whore."

As the pair sat next to each other on the bed, Mr Glass allegedly grabbed the woman, tried to kiss her and twice sexually assaulted her, Ms Brown said.

After the attack, she texted her boyfriend to come and pick her up. She reported the incident to police that night.

Defence lawyer David Gunson, SC, told the jury of nine women and three men that the woman's claims were denied by his client.

"We say that at all times the complainant was a willing participant in what occurred," he said.

"The accused's case is very simple -- it was consensual."

The case, before Justice Peter Evans, is continuing.

david.killick@news.com.au


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Premier's ACT trip cost $5000

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 19 Maret 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIAN taxpayers shelled out almost $5000 for Premier Lara Giddings' recent trip to Canberra for her National Press Club address.

Craig Farrell, the Leader of the Government in the Upper House, said Ms Giddings took two ministerial staff plus the deputy secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet with her to Canberra last month.

Mr Farrell said the total cost of the trip was $4935.14.

He said the trip included a meeting with ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and a round-table forum with academics from the Crawford School of Policy in Canberra to discuss the opportunities for Tasmania in the Asian Century.

"The round-table forum was a great opportunity to share ideas with some of Australia's most influential and knowledgeable experts on public policy and international relations," Mr Farrell said.

"Tasmania remains the only state to commission our own White Paper to help us plan for the future."

Ms Giddings said the National Press Club provided invaluable exposure for Tasmania and a forum to discuss the issues and opportunities confronting the state.

"Around $5000 is a relatively modest outlay for an hour of national television exposure and meetings with the country's foremost public policy experts," she said.


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Get some pork on your fork

A "POP-UP PorkStar" event featuring TV foodie favourites Matthew Evans and Colin Fassnidge is among the attractions at this year's Savour Tasmania festival.

The palate-pleasing program for the fifth annual food and beverage festival, which runs from May 29 to June 2, was revealed today in Hobart.

Evans, an adopted Tasmanian who hosts Gourmet Farmer on SBS, and Fassnidge, a Sydney chef and judge on the latest season of My Kitchen Rules on Southern Cross, will pair up for the $65-a-head nose-to-tail feast in the courtyard at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery on May 29.

Other Savour highlights will include a "meeting of young culinary minds" -- aka Garagistes chef Luke Burgess and Belgian Michelin-starred chef Kobe Desramaults -- at Garagistes on May 30 and 31 ($195) and the popular Long Table Dinner at Princes Wharf Shed No. 1 on June 1 ($95).

Desramaults, the international uber-chef at Savour 2013, will be joined by Maltese-born chef Shane Delia (from Melbourne), dessert demon Darren Purchese (from Melbourne) and Sardinian-born chef Giovanni Pilu (from Sydney). Local chefs Terry Clarke, Jahan Patterson-Were, Karen Goodwin-Roberts and Waji Spiby will also play major roles.

Economic Development Minister David O'Byrne said Savour Tasmania had put the state firmly on the map of gourmet destinations around the world.

"The festival provides exceptional opportunities for our chefs and producers to show their qualities and grow their reputations," he said.

Tickets for all events go on sale tomorrow and are available by calling 1300 795 257 or (03) 6221 1700.

For further details, click here.


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Derwent sale 'disappointing'

The sprawling Royal Derwent site at New Norfolk.

THE State Government's 2001 sale of New Norfolk's Royal Derwent Hospital site was marred by multiple failures to ensure the buyers lived up to their side of the bargain, the Auditor-General has found.

The 250ha site was sold for $350,000 to a consortium made up of a private developer and the local council.

The sale, the sale price and the failure of the site to be developed as promised have been the source of much community anger over the past decade.

Previous valuations for the site had been as high as $45 million.

In a $130,000 report released today, Auditor-General Mike Blake found the sale price was fair because of the costs involved in remediating the site and there were no conflicts of interest among the panel which decided on the developers.

He noted that when the consortium split, the developer profited from the subdivision and sale of land and the council was left with crumbling heritage buildings which it could not afford to maintain.

The report noted the abilities of the prospective developers to fulfil their obligations were not properly assessed before the sale.

And it found that the Department of State Development failed to properly word the terms and conditions of the sale to achieve the desired outcome.

"While parts of the sites were developed for the benefit of the region, the sale agreement has not resulted in the purchaser delivering all specified outcomes on the site which is disappointing," Mr Blake said.

"Despite the agreement's expressed intention for development of the site, our view is that the terms and conditions of the sale contract were unenforceable."

Mr Blake said future asset sales should include clear, unambiguous enforceable performance clauses to hold developers to their end of any deal.

Comment has been sought from the Government.

david.killick@news.com.au


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My night on the mountain

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 17 Maret 2013 | 19.55

Sydney bushwalker Richard Boele found himself in serious trouble in Tasmania's Southwest National Park but got through the ordeal with the help of committed Tasmanian emergency services personnel. Picture: RICHARD BOELE

I AM the "mainlander" the Westpac Rescue Helicopter winched out of the Western Arthurs on March 11 after breaking my ankle there the previous day.

I want Tasmanians to know how grateful I am for the professionalism, generosity and humour shown by the dozens of people who helped me.

Despite my shorter-than-expected stay in your state and the dramatic change of plans, it was a humbling, and still amazing experience.

I particularly thank Richard Bugg, the Ambulance Tasmania paramedic who dropped onto the track with two police officers late on Sunday when weather prevented getting me out.

I was there with five friends after months of planning and preparation for what is well known in hiking circles as one of the toughest, but most rewarding, bushwalks in Australia.

At the age of 47, I felt the clock was ticking to complete a full traverse of the Western Arthurs.

A few extra things in my life made preparing for the walk that more challenging. I live on the North Shore of Sydney with my wife, three children, a retired guide dog, chooks and a variety of rescued wildlife. Two of our three children have cerebral palsy, which makes our lives as parents a little busier and more complicated than usual.

Work as a sustainability consultant has brought me to Tasmania many times over the years. The work we've done for Hydro Tasmania mainly took me to Hobart, but a couple of years ago it took me to Lake Margaret, near Queenstown. The drive from Hobart and the walk to the dam along the restored wooden stovepipe were stunning.

I'd finally tasted more than Hobart and wanted to experience Tasmania.

That is why I said yes when my friend David asked me to join a team he was pulling together to do the Western Arthurs. Our wives introduced us years ago, and they'd connected through a network of parents of children with disabilities.

Two years ago, David introduced me to Craig, who was to be the leader of our Western Arthurs walk.

The Western Arthurs, Craig was clear, required serious preparation. Our first walk introduced me to Lisa, Janine and Tim, two of whom are doctors -- which proved very fortunate.

By March this year, I was walking four times a week with 18kg on my back. The team had met a few times, discussed the route, risks, mitigation and contingencies. I was with a serious, experienced group of walkers -- good company in which to break and badly dislocate my ankle.

It's an accident that I still don't get.

I knew it was a high-risk time for me -- we'd been on the track from Huon campground near Lake Pedder to Lake Cygnus for eight hours.

There had been almost four hours serious climbing and we were on the descent to the camp near Lake Cygnus.

I stepped, slipped, and when I heard bones snapping I knew I was deep trouble.

Our team hoped this wouldn't happen, but we had prepared for such an emergency.

The two doctors in our group did a great job splinting my ankle with sticks -- now that hurt.

The guys in my team were fantastic in their response and the tears roll as I write this. Richard, the paramedic, arrived after dark, having been dropped by the helicopter. Amazingly this was only three hours since I'd broken my ankle.

I was in terrible pain, and it was a great comfort to have Richard's calm care and attention. The morphine also helped. He spent hours with me and when I was ready, set up his tent. On the hour, through the night, his alarm went off and he checked on me, giving me a morphine jab as pain intensified.

Richard's management meant I did sleep for short periods and after a long night I looked out at first light and saw one of the absolutely stunning views the Western Arthurs offer: the view over Lake Cygnus with the rescue helicopter flying in.

They got me on to a stretcher and slid me down the mountain to a safe winch spot. That, and the winch up into the helicopter, left me feeling a little anxious.

The helicopter landed nearby so we could load Richard and the police officers back on board and say farewell to my friends.

It was a short stop for fuel in Strathgordon, then to Royal Hobart Hospital, where all sorts of medical people worked hard and fast to reset my foot, which had now been dislocated for almost 20 hours.

The friendliness and attention I received at the Royal is another credit to Tasmania. I flew back to Sydney on March 13 so I could be with family.

Surgery was Thursday and the surgeon says it will be six months before I can plan my next hike.

You guys live in a beautiful state with fantastic people, I'll be letting everyone I know to visit often and travel safely.


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We'll drink to that

TASMANIA'S reputation as the apple isle has been re-ignited with a coterie of new local cider makers working to make this state the nation's cider capital.

Cider is now the fastest-growing alcohol category in Australia and is turning up on the drinks list of high-end restaurants.

Cider Australia says cider already represents 4 per cent of all alcoholic beverages sold. Five years ago, it held just 1.5 per cent of the market.

In the UK, cider comprises 15 per cent of the alcohol market and Cider Australia says there is room left to build the market domestically. Tasmania's cider revival is giving the local food and beverage industry a new niche marketing platform and the apple-growing industry an extra market for factory-grade fruit.

The cider industry and themarket it is targeting have changed considerably since Tasmania's oldest cider, Mercury, was first crafted in 1911 by Frenchman Auguste Bonamy in Hobart's old convict malthouse.

To keep up with the demand for new ciders, Carlton United Breweries has introduced Mercury Artisan made from 100 per cent Tasmanian apples. There are now 11 boutique cider makers in the state and a few more are almost ready to launch their product on to the market.

Most are in the state's traditional apple-growing areas the Huon, Channel and Spreyton area in the North-West.

From organic cider maker Willie Smith to Small Players, Spreyton Cider, Pagan, Inn Cider and Dickens, the new brew of boutique, niche apple and pear ciders are seriously back in vogue.

Lost Pippin cider maker and Tasmania's Cider Australia representative Mark Robertson said the market had not reached saturation point yet and demand was still growing.

Local producers met in Campbell Town recently to discuss plans to form an association to represent the state's cider-makers.

"We are certainly in the grip of a cider revival and it is nothing but positive," Mr Robertson said.

"There are now plans to launch a new cider festival in November this year as part of our push to make Tasmania the No.1 cider destination in Australia."

Mr Robertson said the cider industry's growth was also providing apple growers with new prospects after fierce rationalisation and a drop in production.

"We hope this will stop trees being pulled out," he said.

"Growers have told us this is the most exciting thing to happen in the industry in 20 years."

Lucy Gregg from Fruit Growers Tasmania said while many cider makers were producing from established apple orchards, it was pleasing to see an expanding market for factory and waste fruit.


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Baby's wait for second chance

TARA Anderson has barely left her son's hospital room in four months, while she waits with him -- his tiny yellow fingers wrapped around one of hers -- for his second chance at life.

She has watched the nightly news differently ever since eight-month-old Xander Redman was put on the transplant list for a new a liver.

With fiance Matthew Redman, the young couple left their home and family in Burnie to move into the Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital in November.

Their January wedding has been put on hold and their mortgage payments continue to be due.

Ms Anderson is confident Xander's big day will come in time, but the reality of what this joyous day will mean for them is always in her mind.

"I think a lot about what this donation means for another family. It will be an absolute tragedy for them, but for us it means a new life," she said.

Xander has biliary atresia, in which the bile ducts that carry the waste products from the liver are blocked, causing a toxic build-up in his body.

RCH surgeons hoped Xander could be treated with the Kasai procedure, where part of his own intestines would be used to replace the blocked bile duct and delay the need for a new liver.

But once inside, they found Xander's liver was too scarred.

"They told us he needs the transplant now and we wouldn't be going anywhere until he gets one," Ms Anderson said.

Xander has been on the Victorian organ donor list for the past three weeks, a listing doctors initially delayed hoping he could reach the 8kg mark and reduce the risks of surgery.

Despite switching to specialised formulas and pumping nutrients directly into his blood stream, Xander -- who now weighs 5.7kg -- has gained just 200g in four months in hospital.

"He's putting on weight but it's like climbing a mountain, we feel like we're not moving very far," Ms Anderson said.

And so the wait continues.

Each night Ms Anderson sleeps on the couch in Xander's room, while Mr Redman bunks down at Ronald McDonald House before heading to work after Woolworths transferred his job.

"If my son was a different person, we'd be in a different boat as to how we're handling the situation. He makes it so easy for us," she said.

''He really is a true fighter."


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