Sunday, December 9, 2012

Golden girl visits New Norfolk

Olympian Brooke Hanson with local students.
SHE'S one of Australia’s best-known Olympic swimmers but it took the launch of a solar energy system for a Tasmanian business to make Brooke Hanson feel like a fish out of water.

Hanson mixed with local schoolchildren – and 500,000 fish - at the Inland Fisheries Service (IFS) hatchery at New Norfolk last week where she declared the facility’s solar energy system operational, on behalf of installer Powercom.

“I’ve seen plenty of solar energy systems for heating pools but this is the time I’ve been asked to commission one to keep a pool cold,” she said. “When it comes to the science of raising sustainable salmon and trout, I’m clearly out of my depth. I do know, however, that Inland Fisheries and Powercom are making a major contribution to the sustainable well-being of recreational fishing, which is a key industry for Tasmania.”

Powercom, an electrical manufacturing and renewable energy company based in Kingston, won a visit from Brooke after being declared Tasmania winner of the Telstra “Go for Business Gold” competition. Hanson was one of Australia’s most prominent swimmers of the 2000s, winning gold and silver medals at the Athens Olympic Games.

The IFS is responsible for managing Tasmania’s freshwater resources and recreational fishing. The Powercom system was a major upgrade to solar energy systems already operating at the New Norfolk hatchery and provides 70 per cent of energy for the facility’s cooling needs. “Maintaining trout holding tanks at a constant temperature of 14-15 degrees is critical to raising healthy fish prior to them being used to restock Tasmania’s inland waterways,” IFS deputy director Tony Wright said.
Powercom general manager Mark Wild said a focus of the day’s event was a question and answer session and lunch with Brooke and 40 students from Fairview, Molesworth, Maydena and Westerway primary schools at the New Norfolk District Football Clubrooms. "Our community's young leaders need inspiring figures in their lives and hearing from Brooke was a fantastic opportunity that needed to be shared,” Mr Wild said.

Brooke Hanson was born in Manly, NSW, and now lives in Melbourne. Her family took her to swimming lessons from the age of four after she nearly drowned twice. At the Athens Olympics she won a gold relay medal and a silver individual medal in the 100 metres breaststroke. She retired from the sport in November 2007 and has a career as a TV host, public speaker and mum.

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