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UTAS unveils Inveresk vision

Edition 186_Concept drawing of the Inveresk campus

UTAS unveiled its masterplan for the $260 million redevelopment of its Inveresk campus in Launceston in July and also released a report on its $400 million STEM proposal for Hobart’s CBD.

In addition, the university raised the possibility that it could depart the Sandy Bay campus that has been its headquarters for 50 years.

The Inveresk blueprint unveiled in Launceston by architects, McBride Charles Ryan, describes the single largest infrastructure investment in Launceston’s history.

UTAS Vice-Chancellor, Peter Rathjen, said: “We are not proposing to build a traditional university campus.

“This masterplan outlines a dynamic higher education and research ecosystem as part of the Inveresk precinct; and the beating heart of Launceston as a university city for the future.

“It sets out a vision that incorporates modern, fit-for-purpose teaching and learning spaces a short walk to the CBD, and research facilities focused on distinctive fields of academic endeavour to drive better economic outcomes in northern Tasmania.

“Strong partnership at all levels of government has brought us to this exciting stage. The plan has been developed with the City of Launceston; and engagement with the community and industry form the foundation for the project’s success.”

The masterplan includes the construction of three main buildings. It incorporates a new pedestrian and cycling bridge linking Willis Street to the Inveresk precinct.

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Cities, Angus Taylor, said he was proud of the Commonwealth’s $130 million investment in the project.

“This is a much-awaited masterplan, reflecting the community’s desire for a vibrant, accessible university precinct, attractive to the entire Launceston community,” Mr Taylor said.

He said the campus redevelopment was at the heart of his Government’s Launceston City Deal.

“As well as generating jobs and providing quality higher education, it will deliver vital support for local industry innovation,” Mr Taylor said.

Tasmania’s Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, said: “This project will be an absolute game-changer for the north of the State and I encourage the community to have their say and get behind what is a terrific opportunity for the region.

“I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of the Office of the Coordinator-General, which has helped drive this project on behalf of the Hodgman Government.”

Launceston Mayor, Albert van Zetten, said: “We are pleased the university is eager to engage with the wider community on its vision for the inner-city campus.

“It is pleasing that this engagement process will occur prior to the university lodging its development application, so that the community is aware of the university’s vision and how the city and greater region can continue to enjoy the Inveresk site into the future.”

Mayor van Zetten said high-priority issues included traffic and parking management.

Following community feedback, UTAS will submit a development application to the City of Launceston to enable the project to progress.

The Examiner editorialised: “The opportunity this development has to improve our educational outcomes and the domino effect this would have on the future of our region is an exciting unknown.”

The day after the Inveresk plan was publicised UTAS released a report, Tasmanian Innovation Network — the Hobart Precinct, prepared by the Nous Group.

It outlines a vision in which Hobart’s proposed $400 million STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) centre would work with STEM “nodes” in Launceston and Burnie to spread the benefits of the knowledge economy.

The project was endorsed as a high priority for Federal funding when the State’s southern mayors convened at the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s annual meeting in July, sending a message of unity to Canberra.

The Nous Group report says the STEM project would “inspire more young people to engage with science by creating highly visible, interactive spaces and galleries that showcase discovery, creativity and innovation.”

A CBD location would make it easier for students from Hobart’s northern and eastern suburbs to attend university by reducing their commuting times.

Professor Rathjen said a statewide STEM network would enable experts across many fields to share the benefits of their work.

“We don’t want mathematicians only talking to mathematicians now, we want them talking to agricultural scientists, to medicos and the like,” he said.

“The hub would be headquartered in Hobart and the problems they tackle would be meaningful across the State.

“A node of that STEM facility at Inveresk … might focus on Defence and another node at Burnie [might] focus on applied agriculture.

“They can focus on what Tasmania needs.”

Professor Rathjen also told The Mercury that UTAS was facing a major decision over its Sandy Bay campus, where most of the main buildings are 50 years old and a refurbishment bill of up $700 million is looming.

He said many buildings were no longer fit for purpose in a first-class university and a decision would have to be made quite quickly.

“The big decision will be whether the university reinvests at Sandy Bay, in which case it would be there for another 50 years, or whether it chooses to build new facilities elsewhere, which gives the opportunity to do something different,” Professor Rathjen said.

Professor Rathjen will depart UTAS and Tasmania at the end of this year and believes the campus’s future location to be an issue for the university council.

Image Courtesy of UTAS

1 August 2017, Edition 186

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

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