A week and a bit ago, I received an invitation to join the Tarkine Strings at an Australia Day Foreshore Fiesta celebration in Somerset (Tasmania's Somerset, that is). Short notice, true, and a set of songs I'd mostly never heard before but, hey, it sounded like fun and the people are well respected around these [...]

After many years thinking about it I've finally gotten myself into the routine of regular live appearances (well, at least more than once a year). The Spirit Bar Tasmania offered me a spot some weeks ago and I've been invited back a couple of times, I'd assumed to apologise but it seems there are some [...]

I recall a chapter from my early teens, when I first discovered a Cat Stevens' song on the radio. There was something about his voice and acoustic guitar that held my attention over most pop songs presented in those informative years. It was not just his vocal / guitar combination that resonated in me; I [...]

We spent a delightful Thursday evening enjoying the crisp Eugenana air at Prickly Mo. Their wines are to live for (who wants to die anyway?), there was an array of belly-popping platters, other delights by the Flying Calamari Brothers (no prizes for guessing the top of their menu), and music by You3. We set up our chairs in front of centre [...]

  I set off at 'sparrows' to Hobart last Tuesday with a Cooper-boot full of novels, CDs, bookmarks and t-shirts - plus, of course, a modest overnight bag. I had plans. Despite negotiating myriad roadworks that began on the highway at Perth, the journey took a sprightly four hours. Traversing the Midland Highway is going to be [...]

“London, 1989: On the verge of musical recognition, tragedy tears Robert Aitken’s world apart. He turns his back on the city, the industry and the people he loves; walking away with little more than two guitars, a hat in a box and ‘the beast’ shadowing his every move.
Over twenty years later, two ex-London music lovers have relocated to Australia.
In an unlikely quirk of fate, they stumble upon a man bearing a nagging resemblance to the one who had vanished from London all those years ago, reluctantly performing to a few indifferent locals in a ramshackle pub in Tasmania’s North West.
A bitter recluse, scarred by unceasing guilt and stalked by his unwanted companion, Aitken is compelled to relive the events he had chosen to forget, in the hope he can at last make peace with himself.”

Tiger Dreaming

The last captive thylacine died in Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart, on 7 September 1936. The creature’s death hardly caused a ripple of concern at the time, which is unsurprising due to Tasmania’s focus being how to drag itself from the clutches of the Great Depression.

Thylacinus cynocephalus, Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf was a marsupial, but due to convergent evolution they bore a striking resemblance to a medium to large dog. Being an apex predator their numbers were never high, but they were soon to dwindle dramatically due to fear, misgivings or, well, just plain victimization.

Branded a sheep and domestic fowl killer they were systematically trapped, shot and poisoned. When The Van Diemen’s Land company, and later the Tasmanian Government placed bounties on the creature, their survival prospects looked dim. Coupled with habitat loss, the introduction of feral dogs and a crippling disease, the thylacine appears to have sadly faded…

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  Two years ago, occasional music buddies Rodney Greene and I were asked to play a fifteen minute pre-carols set at the Burnie Carols. No need for Christmassy songs, we were assured, 'there will be plenty throughout the evening to keep the public happy'. So we performed Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer and Crowded House's Distant Sun (which we [...]