Confessions of an Ex-Mainlander

Recently returning to the now ‘officially’ named Tarkine, at the birth of winter a couple of weeks ago, was a pretty special experience. I wanted to capture some shots of the rivers with the sun angled low, the rain and the mist, the fungi and the ferns and let the Tasmanian bush wash over me again to make me feel what is and what isn’t important.

And on the journey the important bits became more apparent, more lucid but more untouchable. Kinda like the story we are trying to share for the film, Tiger Land.

Tiger Land is a film about the secrets we keep on an Island re-knowned for ghosts and misdemeanors. I find it bizarre we now use this slogan here in our marketing campaigns for the tourist buck, “Go Behind the Scenery”. Ha! I doubt that is going to happen! Not really, not really all the way behind the scenery. Nobody will let you there, and I for one, won’t even ask to go there for Tiger Land. After all we are only after one thing…Tasmanian Zebra Wolf tales!!!

But on the last trip, I did have some chats with a woman whose story is the essence of what I believe the film is about. I won’t tell you what we discussed but we touched on subjects forbidden in public spaces, certainly behind the scenes and defiantly not on the brochures. Yes defiantly. And I don’t mean to say that literally the film is about what we discussed, which I don’t seem to be discussing here, do I?  But that is, in part, what it is about. The things not discussed in a small community but that make up it’s identity and maybe should be allowed to be harnessed by the community itself, not used an abused for gains at the Islanders and the Islands expense. The lost and quiet Thylacine stories being one.

Screen shot 2013-06-03 at 11.31.58 AMSo.I need to tell you something. Something that has just come into context for me. On  the weekend, out of the blue, my 15 year old Tasmanian son asked me if I have been here longer now than where I was born, and I realized with groan that it wont be long and I will have. ( The Groan, by the way, was because I realized how old I am getting!)And then I remembered this little story…

When I first came to Tasmania, 20 years ago, in the dead of winter, as a young fella for the weekend to catch up with a friend who had been working here, I thought I fitted in quite well. These guys were just like me and my mates back home in South Australia. Surfing, mull and sex and fun and all that, but with snow and mountains and rivers and stuff as well !! This place was so different to my dry, flat, dusty home. Snow boarding amongst icicle’d bearded mountain men in ‘dryza bones’ on a Saturday with promises of pulling into a wave the next day after a night of mulling up, pizzas and beer and a dodgy bar (I think it was The Northern club I can’t quite remember)…

But sitting around earlier that Saturday night, with the obligatory, nationally televised ‘Hey Hey it’s Saturday’ on the box, on comes a smarmy comedian, and decides he was going to spend his whole act telling Tasmanian jokes…you know the ones, I wont go into details.”oh no, not now, not here”… If I was back in Adelaide I probably would have laughed…but here I was in a room of a dozen Tasmanian peers, with a lump in my throat and my eye on the exit. The room was deathly quiet and I realized how deeply these jokes were cutting, maybe more so because there was a main-lander or two in the room. He finished his jokes, the tv audience laughed  and cheered and Ozzy Ostrich said something nice.

‘well, there ya go’  someone said with gritty politeness after a long group silence. He took a long stoic swig of his Boags and went to the kitchen and that was that.

But I always remember this and I remember feeling these guys have got stuff to deal with collectively that makes us crow-eaters in South Australia seem like well adjusted children. Poor buggers, what a sorry state of affairs. Who would want to deal with that. So I moved here too.

Screen shot 2013-06-03 at 11.44.12 AMWhat has this got to do with Thylacines? Well I don’t know yet, but it’s why I keep looking for the stories from people because I believe ‘Everyday Tasmanian s should have a chance to tell their stories their own way and with Tasmanian Tigers, there are plenty of them. Plenty! And they don’t always meet a stereotype and neither do the people who tell them. There is a new story to be told.

We have heard lots of stories already, we are open to them to hearing more. We don’t mind you being anonymous. You can feel safe and secure if you have something to say. We know, in some cases, what is at risk. So if you stumble upon this blog let us know if you have something you need to tell.

One of us has seen them, the other has heard them…on two occasions each.  I will tell you my story in another blog.

We have a healthy respect for anonymity and for your story.

and if you want an ear you can go to…

or fill out the contact form below.

So what did I realize back out there that was important?


Andy (Andrew)  Del Vecchio

Director  Tiger Land

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