Tassie beckons……

2 04 2012

I’ve mentioned my desire on this blog to move to Tasmania, and also been asked why I would want to make such a dramatic move.  So tonight I will attempt to explain what brought me to this conclusion.

I first visited Tasmania at the age of twenty, a whole lifetime away it now seems.  It was love at first sight.  A rock climbing friend and I trained it to Melbourne, flying to Devonport, and we travelled all over the island, the highlight being the Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair overland walk, some 80km….  As I said on the night of my 60th birthday, the one thing I can clearly remember is being young once!

I’ve since returned five more times.  In 1985, Glenda and I took a two week holiday, even investigating the possibility of buying a photographic studio in Wynyard.  So the idea of living in Tassie is not new.  We didn’t make the move then, only because Glenda didn’t want to live that far away from her aging parents, whom we actually brought with us for another visit two years later…  I also went back on my own once to attend an Australian Institute of Professional Photography National Conference in Hobart, when I was the Qld President of said AIPP, and a judge at the National Print Awards….  I had a glorious opportunity to share some lens space with Doug and Ruby Spowart, both Master Photographers, as we travelled around the place doing nothing better than to create mind blowing photography.  Tassie’s like that, an opportunity around every bend it seems.

We went together again just twelve months ago…… and our daughter Claire came along too.  Glenda attended a wood firing ceramics convention in Deloraine while I showed Claire the sights….  I never tire of Tassie, I just feel like I belong there.  And Claire loved it as well.

I don’t know if it’s me getting older, or climate change starting to get under my skin, but over the past few years I have become really intolerant of the Queensland heat and humidity.  It doesn’t allow me to work as much as I need to in the yard, just when everything goes ballistic there and more work is what’s actually required!  Now Easter is in sight, the weather is becoming far more to my liking, and I’ve started again to spend more time there cutting back all the summer growth.  I thrive in the cold…….

So last year, Glenda and I decided it was time to plan the big move, before it’s all too late, and TSHTF not allowing us to do it.  At least I’m philosophical enough to realise that in the event we can’t sell, or it all gets too hard because of Peak Oil, we are well prepared no matter what here in Sunny Qld.  I do worry we are fast running out of time…..

There are other incentives too.  Real Estate in Tassie is half the price, acre for acre, of what it is here.  I also know several people who have made such a move, and none have ever regretted it.  In fact most agree it’s the best thing they ever did, they tell me the sense of community in Tasmania is far more present than almost anywhere on the mainland.

The Huon Valley

Huon Valley Reflections

Having done a lot of research, we have settled on the Huon Valley.  The Secretary of Permaculture Tasmania has told me she moved from northern Tassie to the Huon because the climate’s better…!  And perhaps we were lucky, but last time we were in the Apple Isle, we got most of the inclement weather around Deloraine and Launceston, while the weather in the Huon was just picture perfect… just like in the photo!  Twice.  No I’m not being a romantic fool, I’m sure the Huon gets foul weather just like anywhere else…

I also like the feel of the place, the way one is never ever very far from anywhere, the way the countryside is still not overpopulated, the lush green hills, and the apple trees on the side of the road…. not to mention the wineries.  And Cygnet has an established Transition Initiative I don’t have to start myself, there are Permies everywhere to make friends with….. and I already communicate with quite a few.

It’s as far away from the madding crowd as one can get without going to New Zealand.  And now we have a total dickhead for a Premier, leaving Queensland becomes ever more appealing.

And you can grow garlic there, piece of cake…!

I’ve been daydreaming on the internet seeking suitable land, and there is no shortage of it.  Were we ready to move now, I have a short list of three pretty well ideal sites picked out, and a house plan already mapped out on a sheet of graph paper!  EVERYTHING I have learned here will go towards the new plan, and this time there will be no compromises.  I actually believe we can do a whole lot better in Tassie, on the right block.  I know how to design a cold climate house that needs no heating, and in any case, so successful is our AGA that I would get another, a refurbished one from the Midlands Cookers people who sold me the parts I needed to fix the current one…  I’ve already sourced manufacturers of stainless steel water tanks, and concrete blocks that look just like the ones we used here!  All I need to do is sell Mon Abri, not something I would have thought I would ever say even five years ago, but such is life…….

How can you resist…….




7 responses

3 04 2012

Hi Mike,

Thanks for this post. I hope you get to move to Tassie soon. I will look forward to reading all the updates when the time comes.
I agree with you about the weather, we live in Melbourne and I can’t stand the summers anymore. When I was younger the hotter it was, the happier I was. Not now!
We have purchased a block of land in a more temperate climate and hope to move there permanently in a few years – I can’t wait!


3 04 2012

Hi Kaye….. where did you buy?

4 04 2012
Craige McWhirter

G’day Mike! Great choice. I see you’ve met Celia already – that’s a good start 🙂

We bought land in the Huon in 2007 based on long term climate data from the CSIRO. If your motivations are peak oil and climate change, then it’s a sound choice. I also met yet another climate scientist who has moved down here too.

Most of the time the valley is magical but as a NSW man, the cold, wet, dark winters took some adjustment but it’s all been worthwhile.

If you build an appropriate cold weather home, protected against the SW winds, you’ll be fine.

Best of luck finding that block 🙂

18 07 2012

Hi Craige…….

I don’t know how I missed this reply of yours…. visited your website, love the goats! Don’t know if you’re following this blog, but have you seen our new girl? Where are you on the Huon? I’d love to meet more goat enthusiasts. I really can’t wait to move, I’m getting really sick of the weather here, it’s all going haywire…


4 04 2012
Justin Nigh

Hi Mike,

Being originally from Canada as I am, Tassie is attractive given it reminds me so much of home (without the excessive cold/snow). Given we just made a big move to QLD over a year ago, followed by my mother in law moving up to join us, another move is unlikely to be on the cards. Given the cheaper land prices in Tassie I’m starting to regret not thinking more about where to relocate.

Would you build a strawbale home? I am pretty keen on them myself. I found a 2 1/2 acre parcel with a stream and pecan trees in Kin Kin today for $99k. Does this seem to be a bargain to you, as it’s advertised to be?

What asking price would you list your house/land for?

4 04 2012

Been to Canada…. we actually drove right across from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia with a Canadian and his Australian girlfriend in 1979. A real highlight of our lives, but I could never live in that freezing winter.

Re strawbale, it really depends on which block we end up with. IF I have to build on a flat site with a northerly aspect, yes I would go for it, but what I have in mind is an Earthship style of building, though without the tyres…. I’m just too old to pound dirt into tyres, and this time around I don’t want to take years to finish a house. I’m more thinking of double concrete block retaining wall(s) on the South side, with double glazing on the North side only. I saw this done on Grand Designs (with the aspect reversed of course!) and it worked very well in Britain. A little like this…. but smaller:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgWTeU7zDGI&feature=related

Kin Kin is cheaper to buy than here, and 99K for acreage is not bad. If you want to contact me re buying this place, email me on mstasse at yahoo dot com.

7 04 2012
Kaye Hiscock

Hi Mike,

We purchased in Trentham, Victoria. We absolutely love it! We are looking at building a strawbale house, hopefully next year.

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