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From the category archives:

Only in Tasmania


Jellyfish expert Lisa Gershwin, curator of natural science at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Tasmania, caught the unnamed species in early March while swimming near a Tasmanian jetty with a “phototank” — a small aquarium that makes it easier to photograph sea life.

The jellyfish does not emit its own light, as bioluminescent creatures do.

Rather, its rainbow glow emanates from light reflecting off the creature’s cilia, small hairlike projections that beat simultaneously to move the jellyfish through the water.

Though the glowing jelly is Gershwin’s 159th species discovery in Australia, she still finds the discovery “simply splendid.”

For one, the jelly is relatively large — 13cm long, but — the invertebrate is also incredibly fragile—it shatters as soon as it touches a net, she said.

More information here on the National Geographic site.



Flinders Island airport broke the three-decade-old record, reaching 41.5 degrees just before 4pm today [01.30].

The previous high was 40.8 degrees, set in Hobart in 1976.

Tasmanian temperatures have been well above average.

Launceston Airport reached 37.2 degrees, making it the hottest day there since World War II.

In the north-west, Marrawah recorded 33 degrees, while at Fingal in the north-east the temperature hit 40.6 degrees.

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whales.jpg[Photography: David Reilly, ABC]

Rescuers have shifted 12 stranded pilot whales to a different beach in north-west Tasmania in an attempt to get them back to sea.

The 12 surviving long-finned whales were part of a maternal pod of 65 mothers and calves which was discovered yesterday stranded at Anthony’s Beach.

Fifty-three of the whales died when the pod became beached.

UPDATE: Eleven whales have been returned to the open ocean.

Rescuers have been working since early yesterday to save the long-finned pilot whales, the only survivors from a pod of 65 that became beached near Stanley.

It is hoped the group will be able to rejoin another migratory pod.

Parks and Wildlife Services manager Chris Arthur says 12 whales, up to three metres long, were transported 17 kilometres along the Bass Highway on trucks equipped for the purpose to deep water at Godfreys Beach.

Shares in Tasmanian timber company Gunns have plunged more than 15 per cent in early trade today despite a general rise in the stock market. This morning the company’s shares were down 17 cents to just 88 cents.

Yesterday former Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon conceded Gunns’ proposed $2 billion pulp mill appears to have been shelved. Mr Lennon told a parliamentary committee the project “may not be alive”.

UPDATE: November 21, they’re down to 75 cents.

UPDATE: November 24, now 64 cents …

gunns.jpgThe proposed mill

Timber company Gunns has admitted for the first time its planned Tamar Valley pulp mill may never be built.

The troubled company announced its annual results on the Australian Stock Exchange on August 28, reporting a net profit after tax of $64.5m for the 2008 financial year.

That represents a drop of about 27 per cent on last year’s result.

The result is also lower than a recent downgraded profit forecast of $67m.

Gunns statement says it is still pursuing finance for its planned $2b pulp mill, but has for the first time admitted it may never be built.

Shares in the company recently slumped by 25 per cent in three days and its price closed at $1.67 before a trading halt was announced last week.

[from ABC News]

Princess Mary

Our man on the spot, Paul County, captured a winning smile from Tasmania’s own ‘royalty’ when Princess Mary took her children for a stroll through town.

Missing in action was Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, who was probably still in recovery mode after a wild last night in Beijing, dancing and drinking at a nightclub where the theme was Hugh Hefner’s raunchy magazine and mansion.

A few days later, and Mt Wellington glows in a clear sky. Squatting stoutly in the path of the Roaring Forties ‘our mountain’ provides a constantly changing tapestry of colour and texture.

mountain-snow.jpgFalling snow at noon today hides Mt Wellington

Much of southern Tasmania is isolated this morning after wintry conditions forced road closures around the state.

The Midlands Highway was closed after three accidents involving double-B trucks.

Hobart’s Southern Outlet also iced up and roads further south were also closed to traffic.

West Coast roads are also closed indefinitely.



Dangerous Banks is a large shifting sandbar about 35 kilometres off the tip of north-west Tasmania.

Raging currents, winds and giant swells have kept humans at bay, but on June 27 three surfers finally conquered Dangerous Banks, it was revealed this week.

Australian veteran surfers Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll and young Hawaiian Ian Walsh were towed on to 10-metre waves as part of their odyssey to surf giant winter swells around Australia for a pay television special Storm Riders, which is expected to be released next summer.

Clarke-Jones, regarded as Australia’s most renowned big-wave rider, said: “It was more than wild, it was complete chaos. I’ve never seen an ocean so angry and confused in all my surfing days.

“We managed to catch a few each but must admit that the ocean beat us to a pulp that day.

“We were lucky to have all made it to shore, to tell you the truth.”

The team gathered in Smithton on Tasmania’s north-west coast, and, guided by local abalone diver Paul Critchlow, put to sea equipped with two powerful powerboats, six power-skis and a helicopter.

[From theage.com.au]

Today is the 25th anniversary of the High Court’s decision to block the Franklin Dam in Tasmania’s south-west Wilderness.

In 1982 Tasmanians elected a Liberal Government for the first time ever. The Premier, Robin Gray, had campaigned on building the Franklin Dam.

After losing the battle to save Lake Pedder from being dammed in the 1970s conservationists launched a highly co-ordinated battle to save the Franklin River, beginning in late 1982.

Over three months about 6,000 protesters blockaded the river and construction roads.

Current Australian Greens leader Bob Brown was among the hundreds sent to jail.

“I came out of jail and the next day found myself a member of Parliament,” said Senator Brown.

One of Tasmania’s Supreme Court judges, Pierre Slicer, also ended up in jail for three weeks.

“And I’m the only judge in Australia that I know of who’s been refused bail by his own Chief Justice,” he said.

In 1983, the then Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, took the Tasmanian Government to the High Court. It decided by just one vote to allow the Federal Government to stop Tasmania building the dam. Later that year, Mr Hawke provided Tasmania with $276 million in compensation.