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Tasmania’s Stories

Tassie stars chasing big prizes

Edition 196_RichiePorteB

Tasmanian athletes are in the running for several of world sport's big prizes in coming weeks.

  • Cyclist Richie Porte is one of the fancied team leaders in this month's 2018 Tour de France.

  • Boxer Luke Jackson will face Northern Ireland's Carl Frampton for the WBO interim world featherweight belt in Belfast on 18 August.
  • Footballer Ben Brown looks set to top the AFL's individual goal-kicking contest, the Coleman Medal, and will be hoping to help his North Melbourne team into the finals.
  • Hockey star Eddie Ockenden has been auditioning in the Netherlands for the captaincy of the national team, the Kookaburras.

Porte, 33, won the Tour de Suisse in June to top off his preparations for the world's most prestigious bike race.

The Tasmanian is the lead rider for the BMC Racing Team in the Tour de France which started in Noirmoutier-en-l'Île in France's Vendée department on 7 July and concludes in Paris on 29 July.

A former triathlete, Porte has been outstanding on the European road circuit in recent years but suffered a major setback in the 2017 Tour de France.

He began the race as one of the leading contenders for the yellow jersey but crashed out on a steep final descent during the ninth stage.

The Launceston-born rider suffered a fractured collarbone and pelvis and took months to regain racing fitness.

Now he feels on track to make amends after securing the biggest victory of his career in Switzerland.

A strong performance in the final time trial helped the Tasmanian clinch the week-long event from Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang and Colombian Nairo Quintana.

“This was a big goal. Let’s not beat around the bush,” Porte told journalists. “It’s a very important race and I think it’s disrespectful to say it’s a ‘lead-in’ race for the Tour de France as it means a lot to win it.

“I’ve won races like Paris-Nice, Catalunya and Romandie, but this race is so special.

“I’m ready for the Tour de France. I did a good race here. I’m not at the top of my form just yet so I am excited for July.

“I hadn’t raced since the Tour de Romandie,” Porte said. “I was at home for the birth of my son two weeks ago...hopefully, I’ll be better at the Tour de France.”

Boxer Luke Jackson, also 33, is in training camp in Sydney preparing for the biggest fight of his unbeaten professional career.

When asked by Irish journalists during a promotional trip to Belfast in June for his impressions of local hero Carl Frampton, Jackson said: “As a fighter he doesn’t do anything great but he does everything very, very well.”

Frampton, former world super-bantamweight and featherweight champion, declared the comment “very disrespectful”.

“He took it the wrong way, but I don’t care how he takes it," Jackson said.

"He is going to punch me in the head anyway, and I’m going to punch him in the head. It doesn’t really matter what I said to upset him."

Jackson won 113 amateur bouts and was a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist before turning professional in 2013.

He holds the WBA Oceania, WBO Oriental and Australian Featherweight titles.

The Tasmanian has never lost a professional fight and if he can overcome Frampton he will be the State's first world champion since Daniel Geale, who beat German Sebastian Sylvester in Hamburg in 2011.

Geale briefly unified the global welterweight division, winning IBF, WBA and IBO middleweight titles.

Footballer Ben Brown, a relatively youthful 25, kicked five goals against the Western Bulldogs in June, maintaining his lead in the chase for the Coleman Medal.

But it was a 10-metre toe-poke that earned Brown the loudest applause at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.

With about 45 seconds on the clock and North Melbourne trailing by four, the Kangaroos swept from one end to the other.

As the ball reached him, Brown realised he would be tackled if he bent down to pick it up, so he soccered it to skipper Jack Ziebell who drilled the winning goal 20 seconds before the final siren.

Brown had 11 touches and six marks, kicking 5.1, and remarkably covered more distance than any other player on the field with 15.3km.

“I’m a bit of a plodder, so I just keep moving the whole time,” he told reporters. “I don’t have much speed on me, but that’s the one thing I can do, is keep going.

“I play a high amount of game time, which helps when the other guys are rotating as much as they do — you can’t run far when you’re on the bench.”

Brown had kicked 40 goals after that and held a five-goal buffer over GWS forward Jeremy Cameron, whose hopes of a challenge seemed to have vanished in late June when he was suspended for five matches.

Hockey star Eddie Ockenden, 31, has been co-captain of the Kookaburras national side that competed for the Champions Trophy in the Netherlands during June.

Ockenden is the second Tasmanian to be appointed this year to lead a national side, with Tim Paine captaining Australia’s Test and ODI cricketers.

Ockenden and West Australian co-captain Aran Zalewski have been auditioning in the Netherlands for the outright captaincy. A permanent, single appointment will be made ahead of November’s World Cup in India.

Ockenden is the long-term captain of the Tassie Tigers and led them to their first Australian Hockey League title in 2014.

He is the fourth most capped Kookaburra player with 319 appearances, including 68 goals, and was named Kookaburra's Player of the Year in 2015.

The former Friends School pupil has won World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games gold medals.

June didn't go as planned for Paine or Tasmanian rugby celebrity Adam Coleman.

In England on his first overseas assignment as ODI captain, Paine led Australia to a disappointing 5-0 series whitewash.

It was the nation's first 0-5 loss to England in any format of cricket and Paine could not rescue the depleted Australian team with his bat.

The 33-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, who assumed the Australian captaincy after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, told journalists at Old Trafford after the team's fifth loss that he was unsure about his one-day captaincy future.

“All I know is I was coming here to do this series and I’ve said a few times before, when you are my age it’s a bit foolish to look ahead," Paine said.

“Certainly, I am really looking forward to captaining the Test team and continuing how I have been playing in that format.

“But where I go with the rest of my cricket is something we will discuss in the coming weeks.”

In Sydney, Coleman, a great brute of a Tasmanian sportsman who is admired across the rugby-speaking world but little known in his State of birth, was part of a Wallaby squad that lost a titanic struggle against European champions Ireland.

In the deciding game of a three-Test series, Coleman was forced off by a leg injury and obliged to watch from the sidelines as Ireland cemented its No 2 world ranking at a sold-out Alliance Stadium.

Coleman, 26, had played Super Rugby with a cracked sternum to win a place in the national team for the series.

The Tasmanian had also shrugged off a grotesque facial injury to start in the third Test.

At 204cm and 122kg, Coleman is 4cm taller and 21kg heavier than AFL big boy Ben Brown.

Coleman's next opportunity on the biggest stage will be the Rugby Championship in August when Australia plays New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.

Image courtesy of CyclingTips

11 July 2018, Edition 196

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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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