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Tasmania’s Stories

Film making draws a talent home

Edition 188_Grieve

Tasmanian-born author Bradley Trevor Greive, whose varied adventures include selling 30 million books, is back home and looking to keep up the pace of local film-making.

Mr Greive will be working on a travel series called Friends of the Devil with local business Rummin Productions.

"I had a burning desire to do some projects back home, for an excuse to come back home, and we had an idea for an adventure-travel comedy series," he told the ABC.

His co-star is an old friend, Australian actor Adam Zwar, who has featured in ABC TV's Agony Aunts, Lowdown and Wilfred.

"We're the odd couple," Mr Greive said. "He's a tiny little gingernut and I'm a big hairy hulk and we will have a lot of fun with a genuine friendship which is at the core of this.

"No doubt there'll be a certain amount of misadventure, bleeding and vomiting."

Given Mr Greive's track record, the series is likely to maintain film-making momentum in Tasmania where international successes The Kettering Incident, Lion and Death or Liberty have been among recent productions.

Mr Greive has spent most of his recent life in Los Angeles and Alaska.

He has had limited media exposure in his home State, but has accumulated an extraordinary global CV.

"I'm an ex-paratrooper ... who has had my share of survival courses and I spend half my year in Alaska tracking giant brown bears. I'm a legitimate outdoorsy type," he said.

As well as military service, the 193cm tall Tasmanian had a short-lived stint as a model, as well as more sustained spells as a cartoonist, TV personality, wildlife photographer and wildlife philanthropist.

He did some cosmonaut training in Moscow, became French Polynesian rock-lifting champion in 2005 and was the voice of an albatross in Finding Nemo.

He met his wife while they were working for Walt Disney Imagineering, an elite business unit that helps keep the entertainment empire supplied with ideas.

Best known for his international best-seller The Blue Day Book and similar whimsical publications featuring animals and birds, Mr Greive has recently written a book about Sydney woman Sam Bloom who befriended an injured magpie, nicknamed Penguin, after becoming a paraplegic.

"I was so moved by the story; by the courage of Sam Bloom; and by the talents of [her husband] Cameron who really took ... photographs as a form of therapy," he said.

"He basically became a full-time carer and a single father at that moment and he coped with that by creating these beautiful photographs."

The Blooms approached Mr Greive, whom they had met several years before Mrs Bloom's crippling accident.

"I had the challenge of writing the narrative around it and I have to tell you I cried my unattractive face off over 12 months writing the book," Mr Greive said.

"It was an absolutely exhausting journey and I'm just so glad that people love it."

The book, Penguin Bloom, is now being made into a movie starring Naomi Watts and produced by Reese Witherspoon, thanks, in part, to Mr Greive's Hollywood contacts.

Now 47, Mr Greive was born in Hobart in 1970, when his family lived at Battery Point and his father was working as a doctor at UTAS’s School of Medicine.

He was still a baby when his dad got a scholarship to continue his medical studies at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the family moved to Scotland.

A childhood ensued in Scotland, Wales, England, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, and he eventually returned to Australia in the 1980s when his family settled in NSW.

After finishing high school in 1988, he and a cousin headed to Tasmania for a week so Mr Greive could reconnect with his birth State. They rented a car and “screamed around the mountains like two chimps in a billycart”.

“I was utterly in awe of Tasmania’s unparalleled natural beauty, and intrigued by her dark history,” he told Tasweekend. “I felt a connection that has never left me – I determined there and then that as soon as I was able I would return to Tasmania to buy a rural property near the ocean.”

He came back in 2001 and spent a decade living and writing on the east coast – between travelling adventures.

A period of bliss ended when he forgot to latch a gate to his property and his three great danes (his "family" at the time) got out, killed his neighbour’s sheep and had to be put down.

“The sight of the dogs’ graves left me ruined with grief," he said. "I couldn’t enjoy my private slice of paradise anymore – I needed a change of scenery. So I bought a plane ticket.”

Mr Greive found prestigious employment and love in Los Angeles.

Now he hopes Friends of the Devil will be a great way to showcase some of the famous and less well-known wonders of a place he loves deeply.

When he revisited Hobart in September to share his tricks of the publishing trade at the Tasmanian Writers Festival, he told the ABC: "You get here and it almost hurts it's so clean, the air is cleaner here than anywhere else in the world.

"When my feet touched the ground ... there was just this almost perverse pleasure in inhaling Tasmanian air again after several years away."

Image courtesy of The Mercury

3 October 2017, Edition 188

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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 Mt 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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