31 August 2015

A new Activist Centre in Hobart?

A new not-for-profit organisation called "The Activist Centre" is a Hobart based group wanting to establish a space and supportive network for activists and activist organisations. The centre will be run by volunteers and encourage new members to get involved either by use of the space or voluntary work within the centre. The centre will provide a space for already existing organisations within the environmental and social movement sphere, who don't currently have a space or the practical or personnel resources needed to best deliver their services/knowledge to the community.

A volunteer role would include a convenor of the space to give guidance and support to activists or members of the public which will promote already existing organisations, promote growth of new groups/orgs and encourage individual projects. The space will foster diversity to allow for collaboration and cross pollination of environment and social rights groups as we feel this is what is needed to build strength and support for the activist community, whilst allowing for engagement with the community.

The Activist Centre will be holding its first fundraising event this week (see the poster below). Come along and meet the group and hear more about their plans and hopes for the future of the Tasmanian activist community. 

Starting from the 18th of September we will occupy the space of Sustainable Living Tasmania Centre on Fridays as a chance for us to start a dialogue with the public and as a test run for how The Activist Centre will work. 

Fundraiser Event: 

What: Film Screening of 'Transition 2.0' 
Where: Sustainable Living Tasmania on 1/71 Murray St. Hobart 
When: 7 PM, 4 September

Event can be found on Facebook as "The Activist Centre Fundraiser-Transition 2.0". 
Also see poster attached. 

Watch the trailer here:  


14 August 2015

Climate change - the risks we face

An excellent forum coming up on Monday 24 August, 5.30pm. 

I'm sure you have been wondering what the personal impacts of climate change will be, and who is responsible for doing something about them.  This forum will be a good way to get the information and to contribute to a discussion of where we go from here.

11 August 2015

Garage Sale Trail 2015

Want to get rid of some STUFF from your house/garage/garden? Our Council is once again supporting the Garage Sale Trail, a national day of garage sales, which will be held on Saturday 24 October.

Garage Sale Trail is free for shoppers and sellers. Anyone can get involved.  It’s for shoppers who want to find treasure, meet the neighbours and be part of the Reuse movement.  It’s for community groups, schools, charities who want to fundraise,  or simply households that want to declutter!
It’s free to register and made possible by the support of your local council. 

Using Garage Sales to declutter results in less waste going to landfill, and they are also fun!  You can get to know yoru neighbours, and get creative on how your trash could be someone else's treasure. Here's how one family will make use of the day.

There are more details about the program, and you can register here:  www.garagesaletrail.com.au

Would anyone like to organise a West Hobart community sale on behalf of WHEN?   Please offer, that would be fantastic!  Proceeds could go towards our campaigns, such as costs of getting people together (hire of venues, providing refreshments etc). 

08 August 2015

Our community springs into action on safety

Yesterday was a momentous occasion in West Hobart.  Cate Sumner, a local parent, organised an  impressive gathering of representatives from local businesses, schools, community groups and residents groups to explain our mounting concerns on traffic safety and residental amenity to the Lord Mayor Sue Hickey, Aldermen Anna Reynolds and Suzy Cooper, and Director of Infrastructure for the Council, Mark Painter.

We started at the southern end of Lansdowne Crescent, where reps from Island Tyres and WH Post Office described the traffic conflicts they see on a daily basis.  At this hilltop intersection, students need to cross Hill St towards Lansdowne Crescent school and towards Guilford Young College, and the daily school bus to Taroona High collects and disgorges students.  The Hill St ratrun, the crest of the hill, and clear sightlines across to Patrick St actually encourage drivers to speed northwards through the roundabout.  Observers have noticed that some drivers don't actually brake here, actually they accelerate through the roundabout!!!  Parent Alastair, who lives in Bathurst St, would love for his kids to be able to walk to school on their own, but due to the unsafe crossings on the roads they need to be accompanied or driven to school every day. Yesterday we heard about another accident involving a Lansdowne Crescent student at the corner of Poets Rd and Lansdowne Cres.

At Lansdowne Crescent School, a teacher and reps from the School Community Association of that school, and reps from Friends School and also Taroona High, talked about the issues facing their children as they come and go from school.  Common complaints were the speeds and congestion on the whole Hill St ratrun, meaning there is often no gap between the cars when children and their parents are attempting to cross the road.  The pedestrian refuges installed by the Council (kerb bulbs and median islands) are worse than useless, as drivers are not required under road law to slow down for these crossings, and are actually not permitted to stop and give way.  These crossing installations are truly refuges, not traffic calming measures.  Children and parents are forced to try and pick a tiny gap in the traffic flow and scuttle across one lane, and repeat this risky business to cross the second lane.

At Lansdowne Crescent school, there is not even a zebra crossing, although they do have a 40kph traffic light operating during the peaks at start and end of school, and a lollipop man at these times.  Bill, who had been waiting for the end of school to collect his granddaughter, said he had observed drivers exceeding the 40kph limit on Lansdowne Crescent that very day.   

Residents Cynthia and Bill from Lawrenny Court described how congestion at their corner of Hill St and Arthur St had further increased due to the opening of the enlarged Hill St Grocer, and reported a couple of incidents in recent times.  They feel very unsafe crossing Hill St at the new median island crossing, as crossing the road quickly is no longer an option for them. In addition, increased traffic on Arthur St now means they have greater difficulty crossing there to get to the North Hobart shops.

For those who have come in late to this conversation, the Lansdowne Cres SCA, Lawrenny Court residents and WHEN have been raising these issues over a number of years at West Hobart Residents' Traffic Committee meetings.  The problems and some proposed solutions have featured in recent WHEN posts. In particular, our proposal to trial West Hobart as a safe community, with wombat crossings at critical crossing points, supported by a blanket 40kph speed limit across the suburb, was a key focus of discussion yesterday at these meetings.  All local residents and school reps supported the proposal.

Cate had also organised for almost all WH businesses and community associations to send formal letters to Council calling for action on traffic safety across West Hobart broadly, on top of the recently agreed (and very welcome) measures to calm traffic in the vicinity of Caldew Park.

The Lord Mayor and Aldermen couldn't help but be impressed by these letters and what they saw and heard yesterday.  It is our understanding that a motion calling for analysis of the Safe West Hobart proposal and a strategy for achieving it will be presented at the next City Infrastructure Committee with the support of the Lord Mayor.  Many thanks to Cate for mobilising the community around this issue.

06 August 2015

The Wings of the Sun, Sunday 23 August

The movie 'The Wings of the Sun'  is being screened in Hobart as part of Science Week. 

Come along and watch the story of the amazing construction and record-breaking journey of "Solar Impulse", the solar powered plane which flew across America in 2013.  This was the first time in history that zero-fuel flights were achieved between continents and through the night. The screening is in support of the current attempt to fly its successor "Solar Impulse 2" around the world.

Join us for the amazing construction and record-breaking journey of ‘Solar Impulse’, the solar-powered plane which flew across America in 2013. - See more at: http://www.scienceweek.net.au/wings-of-the-sun-record-breaking-solar-powered-aircraft/#sthash.fZfprqEX.dpuf
shows the construction and testing of the record breaking ‘Solar Impulse’ solar-powered aircraft. - See more at: http://www.scienceweek.net.au/wings-of-the-sun-record-breaking-solar-powered-aircraft/#sthash.fZfprqEX.dpuf
shows the construction and testing of the record breaking ‘Solar Impulse’ solar-powered aircraft. - See more at: http://www.scienceweek.net.au/wings-of-the-sun-record-breaking-solar-powered-aircraft/#sthash.fZfprqEX.dpuf
shows the construction and testing of the record breaking ‘Solar Impulse’ solar-powered aircraft. - See more at: http://www.scienceweek.net.au/wings-of-the-sun-record-breaking-solar-powered-aircraft/#sthash.fZfprqEX.dpuf

Where: Stanley Burbury theatre, University of Tasmania
When:  Sunday 23 August, 6pm - 8pm.

More details here:

31 July 2015

Next: how do I double glaze the windows?

So, your house isn't warm enough yet.

You've done all the obvious:
- insulated walls and ceiling (and floor?)
- put pelmets on your windows and hung some close fitting curtain/blinds
- insulated the hot water pipes (ummm...)
- draughtproofed your windows and doors (courtesy of the WHEN Draught Busters program)

- what else could you do?

Well, you could come along to the DIY Double Glazing Workshop at Sustainable Living Tasmania on 26 August.  You will learn about a range of cheap and easy ways you could retrofit double glazing to different sorts of windows. You'll be cosier in no time!

Where:  Sustainable Living Tasmania, 71 Murray St, Hobart
When:  Wed 26 August 6pm to 7.30pm

Get your tickets via the Facebook event.

Adding Winter Windows

30 July 2015

Gardening notes for August

Thanks to Margaret for her lovely messages from the garden.

The daffodils have been flowering for weeks, the daphne is filling the air with perfume, the chooks are laying again and I think the green manure patches may be about ready to dig in, ready for spring plantings.
I've just been to WA for the 21st birthday of a grandchild - it seems just yesterday he was a toddler in my back garden discovering that he can make footprints on the path from a puddle. The cycles of the seasons and of us humans are a real comfort in a crazy world!

Here are the August planting notes - lots to do:

AUGUST Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Parsnip - keep damp 3 weeks plus to germinate

x x
Carrot - keep damp for 3 weeks,  start picking mid Dec x x x x
Radish x x x x
Beetroot - not too many as often goes to seed Nov/Dec x x x x
Shallots/Spring onions x x x x
Celeriac - keep damp 3 weeks plus for Autumn/Winter x x x x
Mini Cauliflower "Garant" - punnet into ground x x

Lettuce - direct seeding and punnet into ground x x x x
Sugar Snap Pea and Snow Pea - 3rd planting.  x

pregerminate then sow direct. Protect from birds to 100mm


 Into Punnets
Tomatoes - for greenhouse only
x x x
Celeriac - keep damp 3 weeks plus x x

Capsicum - for greenhouse planting only
x x
Lettuce x x x x

28 July 2015

Update on safer roads campaign

What are these wombat crossings that we are talking about?

As zebra crossings are almost non-existent in Tasmania, most of us are not sure what a wombat crossing with zebra markings would look like.  Your roving reporter has just returned from a visit to the northern beaches of Sydney, where they are commonplace.  Here are some photos:

On a descending street (Lawrence St) in Freshwater (one of several examples in this shopping centre)

At The Esplanade, Manly

On North Steyne, Manly Beach

There are numerous other examples, near schools, in shopping centres, anywhere where pedestrians and vehicles are likely to clash.  Drivers are well used to them, and they certainly offer protection to people crossing the street.  They are usually accompanied by the yellow "walking feet" signs.  There are all sorts of arrangements at the kerb, from kerb bulbs to mini garden beds.  Some have a cut through the kerb bulb so that cyclists can ride over the crossing safely without being forced into the path of cars.

Another dangerous spot identified
A couple of residents of Poets Rd have let us know that the intersection of Poets Rd, Lansdowne Crescent and Allison St is another danger spot.  They say this area is "quite busy with pedestrian traffic (young and old), especially before and after school. 

Poets Road
Sight lines are obscured by the blue house built to the footpath edge, and opposite is a very high fence. One corner even has steps! The other squeezes in a bus stop, phone booth and frequent stops by drivers ducking across the road to The Lansdowne Cafe. 
Drivers coming down Poets Road, do so at alarming speed. Drivers going up Poets Road, speed even faster! - (if their car is up to it). 

We need traffic calming measures like trees in the road centre and a safe place to cross. It is difficult to cross with a pram.

Allison Street
The cafe corner is very busy. The bus stops directly at the front of the cafe and the outdoor patrons. When a second bus stops opposite - we all hold our breath and squeeze through.
The other corner is definitely a candidate for a 'kerb bulb'. We know of one Lansdowne student hit by a car crossing this road."

15 July 2015

Sustainable House Day 2015 - want to nominate your place?

This year the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) is partnering with EnviroShop to hold Sustainable House Day on September 13.

Sustainable House Day is Australia’s largest national sustainability event giving people the opportunity to see and learn from the best environmental homes.

One important change this year will be an upgrade to the Sustainable House Day website to improve it for participating homeowners, local groups and attendees.

ATA has now opened online registrations for:  
  • Homeowners with homes that have environmentally sustainable features – to open them and host tours
  • Sustainability groups and local councils – to host or co-ordinate local homes and volunteers and/or ancillary events.
Participating homeowners can now officially register and submit their own house profiles via the event website.

The deadline for home registrations is July 31, 2015

If you have an existing house profile from SHD 2014 (Please note: addresses were taken off the website after SHD 2014 as required by organisers, so you may need to use a few different search terms to locate your profile.)
  • Once you locate your profile, click into the profile and scroll down until you see Claim this house. Click on this.
  • An email will then automatically be sent to organisers to allocate this property to your profile. Once your property has been allocated and approved you will receive an email notification it has been added to your profile and updated to 2015.
  • Please log in back to your profile and update your profile information accordingly. 
If you do NOT have or cannot locate an existing house profile from SHD 2014
  • From the my profile page, click on the Create New House Profile button at the top right hand corner
  • Complete the new house registration form
  • Once submitted the form will automatically be sent to the organisers for approval.
  • Once officially accepted you will receive an email notification regarding acceptance and the house profile will be allocated to your user profile. 
We also request you please refer to the T&C’s of participation below: If you are experiencing problems with the website or registering online, please contact Jodie North at Jodie.north@envirogroup.com.au and we will address these issues as soon as possible.

13 July 2015

Gardening note for July

JULY Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Broad Beans (2nd planting) Takes a month to show x x x x
English Spinach (no punnets - direct seeding only) x x x x
Shallots/Spring Onions x x x x
Small Cabbages - punnet into ground x

Small Cabbages - direct seeding x

Mini Cauliflower "Garant" - punnet into ground x x x x
Lettuce - direct seeding x x x x



Lettuce - from  punnet into ground when ready.

08 July 2015

A plan for a safer West Hobart

WHEN has been putting some thought into how to reduce the impacts and dangers to our community arising from the increasing numbers and speed of through traffic using our neighbourhood as a transit route.

We are very pleased that Council has shared our particular concern about the threat to children accessing Caldew Park on the corner of Hill and Warwick Streets and has agreed to reduce the speed limit here to 40kph.  We have offered to assist in any way possible in the development of appropriate traffic calming measures in that area.  This is currently with external consultants GHD, we understand.

There are also other locations in West Hobart which have been raised with us as being dangerous places for kids and older citizens to cross the road.  Council's current response is to add kerb bulbs and central pedestrian refuges at such points.  We believe a broader approach is required.  Pedestrian refuge islands do not slow the traffic sufficiently to ensure that our vulnerable family members can cross the road safely.

We've produced a safe traffic map for West Hobart  to help Council to locate the particular places of concern and to describe a different approach that could be adopted.  Note: explanatory text boxes come up if you click on the particular icon or area in the map.


We believe a package of strategies is required to improve safety in West Hobart and to make it easier for drivers to shift their transport choices, including:

- a blanket 40 kph speed limit through the area
- wombat pedestrian crossings at the worst danger points (these are ramped pedestrian crossings with zebra markings) at strategic points so that kids and older people can safely cross the rat run to get to school or the local shop
- retain the existing bus route, and promote active transport
- maintain consideration of a future bikelane, and promote active transport.

We plan to raise this approach for discussion at the next West Hobart Residents' Traffic Committee.
Let us know (drop a line to whenvnet@gmail.com) if you know of other danger spots, or have other feedback.

26 June 2015

A Will for the Woods, 23 July

What if our last act could be a gift to the planet?

This is what one man asked, and this film is the result.

"A Will for the Woods" is being screened at the School of Fine Arts, Hunter St, on 23 July, as a free community event.


The movie will be followed by the launch of the locally produced booklet:  'OUR FINAL FOOTPRINT- DYING SIMPLY AND SUSTAINABLY IN TASMANIA'.

WHEN: Thursday 23 July, 6.30pm. 

WHERE: De Chaineux Theatre, School of Fine Arts, 37 Hunter Street.

BOOKINGS: sarah.dejonge@calvarycare.org.au

10 June 2015

More on speed limits at the Train Park

You may have seen the media coverage of our meeting with Lord Mayor Sue Hickey and Alderman Anna Reynolds at the park yesterday.  This was The Mercury's report.

Trine, Amanda, Helayne and I met Elise Archer, Speaker of the House of Assembly, onsite today to hear the Government's view. She understands that the Commissioner for Transport will approve the proposed reduction in speed limits once the Council has come back with its proposed additional road infrastructure measures to assist in slowing the traffic down.  So the ball is in Council's court to keep this moving.

While we were standing at the corner chatting, we witnessed two near misses on the roundabout!

As usual there is some pushback from disgruntled drivers, so it would be great if residents could drop a line to the Council to thank them for their initiative.

Here are some suggested messages:

- it was a good decision to seek the speed limit reduction, and thankyou
- the 40kph limit is becoming the new standard in residential neighbourhoods and shopping areas
- tackling speed will help make our streets safer
- the risk of a crash increases as vehicle speeds increase.  This is partly due to the longer braking distance (braking distance is proportional to the square of speed) and partly due to the time people need to process information, to decide whether or not to react, and finally, to execute a reaction.
- the severity of injuries arising from a crash increases exponentially with vehicle speed. Research from the Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre shows that at mean speeds of 40kph the risk of death is about 25%, while at mean speed 50kph the risk of death is close to 83%.
- please ensure this process proceeds as quickly as possible to reduce the risk to residents as soon as possible.

Email contact details for the Aldermen are:

Lord Mayor Sue Hickey  lord.mayor@hobartcity.com.au
Deputy Lord Mayor Ron Christie  ronchristie@netspace.net.au
Helen Burnet  helenburnet@gmail.com
Philip Cocker  philip_council@netspace.net.au
Anna Reynolds ald.reynolds@hobartcity.com.au
Tanya Denison  tanyamdenison@gmail.com
Suzy Cooper ald.cooper@hobartcity.com.au
Peter Sexton ptsexton@tassie.net.au
Eva Ruzicka eva@ruzicka.id.au
Jeff Briscoe jbriscoe@netspace.net.au
Damon Thomas damon.thomas@bigpond.com
Marti Zucco ald_zucco@netspace.net.au  

09 June 2015

Update on traffic speeds at the train park

As of today, we are advised (via the Lord Mayor Sue Hickey) that the Government has told Hobart City Council that Council may be permitted to reduce the speed limit in the vicinity of Caldew Park to 40kph, on the proviso that additional infrastructure is implemented to assist in the reduction of traffic speeds.  Council has contracted engineering firm GHD to advise on what additional measures might be involved. 

At lunchtime today Tuesday (in the cold and rain!) Alderman Anna Reynolds and LM Sue Hickey met with several residents at the park to brief the media on this.  Southern Cross TV, WIN TV and The Mercury were there, which was good.  The residents' reps were Di Elliffe (WHEN), Amanda Staley (Melt Cafe) and Helayne Short. Di told the media about WHEN's longstanding concerns about the increasing volume and speed of through traffic in this residential area which has lots of pedestrians, both old and young.  We think Council needs to make a decision that in principle Hill St should not be a "collector road" (and can therefore have a lower speed limit applied) and start working towards encouraging drivers to go by other routes or modes.  Amanda talked about her concerns at the traffic speed and seeing several near misses outside the cafe.  Helayne started the petition of residents calling for a reduction in the speed limit after spending some time in the cafe and witnessing the problem.

Di will be meeting Elise Archer obo the Minister Rene Hidding tomorrow, and we hope to have the Government's position confirmed then.

It is looking very promising at this stage!

02 June 2015

Gardening notes for June

JUNEWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4

Broad Beans (2nd planting)

Sugar Snap peas (2nd planting) pregerminate then sow

Snowpea (2nd planting)

direct sow and protect from birds until 100mm high

Garlic bulbs (before shortest day)   x   x       
English Spinach (no Punnets - direct seeding only)

   x   x

25 May 2015

Time to call on the Minister for Infrastructure re traffic speeds at Caldew Park

You probably heard the excellent news that Hobart City Council strongly approved Alderman Anna Reynolds' motion to urge the State Government to reduce the speed limit on the roads surrounding Caldew Park (the train park).  In fact, Lord Mayor Sue Hickey was keen to add her voice personally to the issue.  This is a very strong endorsement of our position, which is great news.

The Council has now sent its formal letter to Rene Hidding, the Minister for Infrastructure, for consideration by the Dept of State Growth.  The full letter is available here.  It contains additional data and useful arguments.

It is time now for as many people as possible to contact the Minister and other Members of the House of Assembly for Denison, to apply as much pressure as possible for a positive response to the Council's approach.


Ask the Minister or your MP to support the speed limit reduction, and offer to meet them onsite so that you can show them the issues of concern.

Contact details:

The Hon Rene Hidding MP
Minister for Infrastructure
Level 1, Franklin Square
Hobart Tas 7000

Ph:  (03) 6165 7686


The Hon Matthew Groom MP
Minister for State Growth
10th Floor, Executive Building,
15 Murray Street,
Hobart  7000.

(03) 6165 7739

The Hon Elise Archer MP
62 Main Road,
Moonah  7009.

(03) 6212 2210

Mr Scott Bacon MP
353 Main Road,
Glenorchy 7010.

(03) 6212 2383

It would be great to hear how many people have followed up on this, so pls drop a note back to whenvnet@gmail.com or put a comment under this article, thanks!!!

24 May 2015

Film screening: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

On Thursday May 28, 2015 from 6.30pm - 9.00pm, Vegetarian Tasmania and Sea Shepherd Australia (Hobart chapter) are hosting a screening of the ground-breaking feature-length environmental documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.  The film follows an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today - and investigates why the world's leading environmental organisations are too afraid to talk about it.  The film will be followed by a Q&A session with a panel of experts to discuss the issues raised in the film.
Venue details - Stanley Burbury Theatre, UTas, Churchill Avenue, Sandy Bay

For more information about the film and the Q&A session:

The official trailer can be viewed on You Tube:

Tickets are also available beforehand  ($10 adult, $5 student / concession):

26 April 2015

Spring Garden Planning workshop, and Margaret's May gardening notes

Spring Garden Planning Workshop

Permaculture Tasmania is advertising what looks like a wonderful winter workshop on preparing the garden for Spring. 
Spring Garden Planning
Sunday 26th July, 9:00am – 4:00pm
The Little Seed, Franklin
Many factors influence the amount of produce that we harvest from our gardens, and there is no doubt that forward planning increases yield. Winter is the perfect time to do this planning, and get all the beds prepared before the mad dash that hits us during spring in Tasmania.
The workshop covers:
  • Building healthy soil
  • Garden base maps
  • Timing – what to grow and when to sow
  • Crop rotation
  • Companion planting
  • Bed preparation and planting out
There will be an opportunity to plan your own bountiful harvests during the workshop, so bring a rough sketch showing a few of your garden beds, with a note about what is currently growing in the beds and when the beds will be empty.
The workshop is being hosted by Penny Milburn, an experienced practitioner and trainer who completed her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2008 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. She has since trained over 300 people at workshops in both Sydney and Tasmania, and currently works for the National Environment Centre teaching on-line Accredited Permaculture Training to students across Australia and as far away as Italy and Samoa.
The venue is The Little Seed, a 15-acre permaculture property overlooking the Huon River. The strawbale home with earthen floors and innovative grey water system have both featured in the Owner Builder Magazine, and the water harvesting system with established food forest incorporating chickens and ducks is an excellent demonstration of the productivity that can be achieved, even on a south facing landscape at 43 degrees.
Cost: $75 / $65 Permaculture Tasmania members (includes a scrumptious lunch)
For enquiries call Penny on 0408 269 765 or email thelittleseed@yahoo.com
I also spotted a useful article:

Planting Notes for May

MAY Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Sugar Snap Peas  x x x
(1st planting -pregerminate and then sow direct)

Snowpea x x x
(1st planting -pregerminate and then sow direct)

Protect from birds until 100mm high.

Into Punnets:

Lettuce (slow) Plant out in July

x x
Cabbages  (small species) Plant out in July
x x x
Cauliflower "Garant" - Plant out in July
x x x