From The Heart

Today’s attempt to kick off the perennial Australia Day culture war reminded me of the cartoon I entered in the Walkleys this year. It was a tough call what with the shenanigans over leadership and section 44 etc, but the one that stuck with me was the extraordinary missed opportunity that was the government’s rank dismissal of the Uluru Statement From The Heart late last year.

Arguing over whether the date of an early unauthorised boat arrival to this nation’s shores is an appropriate day to celebrate our nationhood is, as some suggest, somewhat small beans in the scheme of things, but the reason it’s perfect culture war fodder is because it’s a symptom of a much greater malaise, which is our failure to engage with and push forward reconciliation with Australia’s First Peoples in a serious way for a long time.

The cartoon and general blurb about it follow.

The Uluru Statement arose from nationwide dialogues with Indigenous group on constitutional recognition followed by a four day First Nations National Constitutional Convention.

In essence, after years of imposing half-arsed attempts at reconciliation which inevitably amounted to nothing, this was a real attempt to ask people what they actually wanted.

The result was a call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

This was an opportunity for the Turnbull government to push reconciliation forwards and have a real national conversation about how this might all look, and provide a legitimate pathway towards a treaty and eventually a Republic, which you would think might be a goal quite close to Malcolm Turnbull’s own heart.

Instead, they kiboshed the whole thing by press release at 4:45 on a Friday afternoon on the grounds that it would all be much too difficult. No negotiation. No discussion.

A lot has and will be said about why Turnbull’s Prime Ministership failed, but this was a perfect example of a glaring problem, which was simply not listening.

Save Our Streets – South Hobart

Getting Things Done has always been a bit of an issue in Tasmania, what with our five or six thousand local councils all with their full complement of bewildering rules picked out of a hat.

The Hobart Interim Planning Scheme, soon to become the state-wide Tasmanian Planning Scheme, is ‘faster, simpler, cheaper and fairer’ which of course means that pretty much anything goes now, which is a typically Tasmanian way of solving a problem by making things much much worse.

The Hobart City Council recently approved plans for a large-scale residential development on former Blundstone’s site in Wynyard Street, South Hobart. If you take a look at the details here, you’ll discover that the politest description for this development proposal would be “wildly inappropriate to the local area”.

SOS is raising funds to appeal the proposal, not to block any and all development of the site, but to get a more reasonable outcome. To do my bit (as a worm-farm owning South Hobart type myself) for every calendar bought from this website for a delivery to a South Hobart address up to the cutoff date of November 30, I’ll chip in $5 to the cause.

Calendars available here.

Last Drinks – the tiger table


Here is me buying ex-Knopwoods pub tables from the tip shop. Many Olympic swimming pools of beer have been drunk at these tables and that is just by me. “I will draw something on these tables!” I said.


Historic chewing gum is noted during transport home. This has been removed and sent to the Museum.


I leave the tables in the back shed until I realise the deadline for Art From Trash is tomorrow. I lower expectations to drawing on one table. Sanded the top, and decided to just clean and re-oil the base to leave a bit of character. Maggie suggests a Tassie Tiger would be an appropriate design as it is as extinct as the pub the table came from. She is quite clever my wife. And very pretty and no you can’t have her.


Made the design a bit bigger and added some ferny type things to look fancy.


Burnt in tiger using my exciting new pyrography toy I had an excuse to buy for this important project.


First layer of stain and varnish.


Second layer of darker stain and varnish. Used lighter stain inside the tiger to make it look fancy. Oiled the base again.


Delivered Last Drinks to the Long Gallery at Salamanca Arts Centre. Opening is 6.30 tonight (Friday May 20) and it’s usually a great show. I had a bit of a look around and there is some pretty cool stuff – it’s open until the 1st of June. The table is for sale so feel free to buy it because it came up quite nicely if I do say so myself. I also have two more tables in the shed – the next one will be featuring swift parrots. If you’re interested in getting your hands on it contact me and I’ll get a wriggle on.