COVID-19 ADVICE: The following links provide official advice and information about the virus known as COVID-19.
Australia's state and federal governments are taking action to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Use the links above to source the latest advice about what you can do to protect yourself and others. Washing your hands for 20 seconds is one of the most effective forms of infection control. Do this after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after close physical contact with anyone who is unwell; after using the toilet; before and after eating; before, during and after preparing food; and after feeding or touching a pet.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Bushfire latest - Thursday evening update

Staff from Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, Mountain
Trails, NSW Rural Fire Service and New Zealand fire service
who worked together to protect the Government Huts at Mt
Field National Park yesterday.
A SOUTHWESTERLY wind change and more moderate fire weather conditions have eased the threat to a number of Tasmanian communities today. The Tasmania Fire Service says a front which moved across the state in the early hours of this morning has allowed fire crews to shore up containment lines and actively attack fire edges on the Riveaux Rd and Great Pine Tier fires.

In the Huon Valley, conditions allowed TFS crews to reassess the risk posed to a number of communities. This led to a reduction in the number of Emergency Warnings in place. Property and infrastructure impact assessments were also undertaken where access could be gained.

At Murdunna the fire was contained by fire crews and machinery and is not currently of concern.

South of Waddamana, conditions on the Great Pine Tier fire allowed firefighters to shore up containment lines at Lake Echo and also allowed inspection and additional risk assessments of power transmission lines.

At the Gell River fire, remote area teams worked to contain the fire to the south of the Mt Field National between the Lake Gordon and Florentine Roads. However, the fire has entered the southwest end of the park. Preparations are under way to protect identified environmental and heritage values.

In Zeehan and Rosebery, 26 remote area firefighters supported by machinery worked to strengthen containments lines and extinguish hotspots at the Lynch Hill and Western Hill fires. At Lynch Hill the fire crossed a containment line on the Huskisson River. Plans are in place to insert remote area firefighters to tackle the fire tomorrow.

The fire at Brittons Swamp continued to grow today pushed by strong winds. Fire crews supported by aircraft worked to slow the fires spread.

Two new fires were reported today at Wombat Peak just to the southwest of Lake Pedder, and at Bridport. The Wombat Peak fire was detected by at a spotter flight and was caused by lighting. It will be assessed further tomorrow. The fire at Bridport was quickly contained and the cause is being investigated.

TFS would like to advise that despite the easing conditions and downgrading of some alerts these fire remain a risk to nearby communities. Fires are very unpredictable and even a small change in the weather conditions can cause a fire to quickly spread or change direction.

If you do not need to be in the areas under an Emergency Warning or Watch and Act then stay away. If you return to your home you need to monitor the conditions closely and stay alert. Conditions can change quickly.

TFS advise you to:
Stay up to date at or by listening to ABC local radio.
Visit the for road closures.


The Government Huts at Mt Field wrapped up for protection
from ember attacks and radiant heat. Picture: Kyle Richard/PWS
PARKS and Wildlife Staff have spent much time planning and implementing protection plans for various reserves, using different tactics to their normal firefighting approaches.

PWS has established sprinkler lines around sensitive vegetation at Lake Rhona and Mt Anne, and conducted retardant drops to slow down fire runs.

Steps have also been taken to protect historic heritage currently under threat at Mt Field. A team has been wrapping some of the huts to reduce the likelihood of them burning down. These measures won’t stop a direct fire from destroying the huts, but will reduce the likelihood of damage from an ember attack or radiant heat from a nearby fire.

This was a great effort by firefighters from the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, Mountain Trails, the NSW Rural Fire Service and New Zealand fire service.

On Wednesday the well-known Government Huts and Twilight Tarn hut were wrapped, with plans to do more if conditions permit. The crew completed this before the weather closed in and they needed to leave the area while the helicopter could still move them out. Remarkably, considering recent weather conditions, snow was forecast for Mt Field today.

New Norfolk pair injured in bushfire accident

TWO volunteer firefighters from New Norfolk were injured when their vehicle overturned during bushfire response in the Huon Valley this afternoon.

The Tasmania Fire Service says the pair were engaged in firefighting activities at Geeveston when their four-wheel-drive light tanker rolled over in the area of Kermandie River Rd at Geeveston.

In a statement, the TFS said both volunteers are members of the New Norfolk Fire Brigade. "One member, a man in his early 30s, has been transported to the Royal Hobart Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter with non-life threatening injuries. The other member, a woman in her late 20s has sustained minor injuries and has also been transported to the Royal Hobart Hospital," the statement said.

"Tasmania Fire Service has been in contact with the family of the members involved and will provide every support available to them. Support will also be provided to TFS personnel affected by the incident. Worksafe Tasmania has been notified."

In a post on Facebook tonight, the Lachlan Fire Brigade said: "Our thoughts are with our New Norfolk counterparts - we wish you a speedy recovery."

Volunteers from all local fire brigades have been involved in the response to the state's three main bushfires in recent weeks, or on duty in local strike teams during days of total fire ban.

Thanks to all our volunteers for their service.

Maydena bushfire advice updated

Click here for the latest version of this advice


Issued At: 31/01/2019 9:55am

There is a bushfire that started at Gell River, Southwest. The bushfire is now burning south of the Gordon River Road at "The Needles".

The fire may put Maydena, Tyenna, Mount Field and National Park at risk throughout the evening and into the morning. Fire under these conditions can be difficult to control.

Burning embers, falling on Maydena, Tyenna, Mount Field and National Park may threaten your home before the main fire. Smoke and ash may make it difficult to see and breathe.

What to do:
  • If your home is well prepared for high risk fires and you can actively defend it, it should provide shelter.
  • If you are going to leave, make sure you have a clear path to a safer place.
  • If your family has made a bushfire survival plan, use it now.
  • If you don't live near Maydena, Tyenna, Mt Field and National Park, stay away. The roads could become highly dangerous.
  • Listen to ABC Local Radio or look at for more information.
Community Information:
  • Fire behaviour is erratic caused by high temperatures and strong winds.
  • Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) ask that visitors do not commence bushwalks or four-wheel driving in remote areas until further notice.
  • For information on current road closures, please visit the Tasmania Police website
  • Fires can start and spread easily. It is important to report any new fires by phoning Triple Zero (000).
  • For information on current track and visitor facility closures in parks and reserves, please visit the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service website
  • People with medical conditions are advised to have a personal plan for avoiding smoke from the burn.
  • Advice is available from the Department of Health  or the Asthma Foundation of Tasmania 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Bushfire latest - Wednesday evening report

FIRE crews from the Tasmania Fire Service, Parks and Wildlife Service, and Sustainable Timber Tasmania, supported by crews from interstate and New Zealand, continue to battle 28 fire across the state.

The TFS is urging people in bushfire affected areas to leave early because it is the safest option. The risk of staying was highlighted today when up to 10 people were isolated by fire at Penstock Lagoon.  PWS staff were on scene and are assisting them until they can be relocated to safety. No one has been injured.

A fire also started near Blackman Hill, Murdunna today at around 12.30pm. Aircraft were able to slow the fire's spread long enough to allow fire crews and heavy machinery to begin containment lines. This work will continue throughout tomorrow. An investigation into this fire has been handed to Tasmania Police.

The fires in the Huon Valley and Central Plateau, the Gell River fire, and fires near Zeehan and Rosebery remain at warning levels. Elsewhere in the state, TFS and partner agencies are also working to contain a number of fires.

At Murchison River in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, remote area firefighters working in arduous conditions have had success in containing that fire. Efforts to protect world heritage values from Anne Gorge to Mt Bobs from the Riveaux Rd fire continue.

Critical communications infrastructure at Tim Shea in the South-West is being successfully protected from the Gell River fire. Significant effort put in for weeks to protect Churchill's Hut was unsuccessful today. The hut was destroyed by fire when conditions became unsafe for firefighters who had to leave the area. The sprinkler system similar to that which protected Lake Rhona's sensitive vegetation earlier in the month, was not able to stop the fire from impacting the hut.

At Lake Augusta, remote area crews have completed a 6km containment line to help slow the Great Pine Tier fire from reaching the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.

A total fire ban remains in place until 2am Thursday morning.

The TFS advises the community to:

  • Heed TFS warnings and advice
  • Plan what you will do if there is a bushfire in your area
  • Continue to report unlisted fires to TFS by calling Triple Zero (000)
  • Listen to ABC Local Radio and visit for the latest bushfire information and advice.

Impact assessments in the Huon area will be conducted as soon as safely possible. Assessments have been hampered by smoke and dangerous trees.

Confirmed property loss to date:

  • 1 x shack (Great Pine Tier fire)
  • Lake Laura Hut (3x3m fishers hut, Great Pine Tier fire)
  • Kayak shed (Riveaux Rd fire)
  • 3 x houses at Glen Huon (Riveaux Rd fire)
  • Shipping container (Braeside Rd, Castle Forbes Bay - Riveaux Rd fire)
  • 10km fencing (Great Pine Tier fire)
  • Shed (Waddamana - Great Pine Tier fire)

Bushfire situation near Maydena

Map showing the location of the Gell River fires (shaded grey).
Click image to enlarge.
CONTRARY to multiple posts on social media tonight, as of 11pm there has been no evacuation of the town of Maydena. Click here for updates on the local bushfire situation from the Tasmania Fire Service.

ADVICE ISSUED AT 8.45PM: There are bushfires at Gell River and around Lake Pedder. The Gell River fire started on December 28. The bushfire is now burning south of the Gordon River Rd at "The Needles". The fire may put Maydena, Tyenna, Mt Field and National Park at risk throughout the evening and into the morning. Fire under these conditions can be difficult to control. Burning embers, falling on Maydena, Tyenna, Mt Field and National Park may threaten your home before the main fire. Smoke and ash may make it difficult to see and breathe.

Earlier today, the TFS conducted a doorknock in Maydena to offer advice to residents. A spokesman has said this was not a call to evacuate, but to "watch and act". It was suggested to pack personal items into cars, and to have cars facing outwards in driveways, in order to be prepared if an evacuation is required.

Click here for updates on the MAYDENA/TYENNA/NATIONAL PARK bushfire situation
Click here for updates on the STRATHGORDON bushfire situation

Anyone wishing to voluntarily leave Maydena will be welcomed at the Derwent Valley Salvation Army Headquarters at 79 Hamilton Rd, New Norfolk. Phone 6261 2535 or see their Facebook page. When and if necessary, an official evacuation centre will be opened in New Norfolk.

In the event of an emergency, the Maydena Bike Park base building (the old primary school) on Kallista Rd is the community "safer place". This is not an evacuation centre but a place of last resort for those who do not have a bushfire survival plan, or their plan has failed, and there is an imminent threat of bushfire.

The Tasmania Fire Service has issued the following advice about a change in wind direction expected overnight:



A change in wind direction is forecast to cross the state in the very early hours of tomorrow morning, starting in the south east at about 1-2am. Cool southwesterly wind gusts up to 35km per hour are expected.

This means current bushfires will start moving in a northeasterly direction, turning the flank of the fire into a wide head of the fire (as explained in the graphic below).
People living to the northeast of these fires need to be prepared for the risk of active and unpredictable bushfires moving towards them, as well increased smoke and ash.
TFS advises you to:
🔴 Review your Bushfire Survival Plan.
🔴 If your home is not well prepared and you are unable to actively defend it, leaving early is the safest option.

🔴 If you decide to stay, that means staying awake and alert, patrolling the outside of your property and putting out spot fires.
🔴 Don’t wait until the fire is on your doorstep to prepare - that will be too late.
🔴 Report any new fires to TFS by calling Triple Zero.

🔴 Check the latest warnings on

The TFS issued this graphic to explain its fire terminology.
This is not a map of any particular fire.
Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday Total Fire Ban quick links

Total Fire Ban - January 30: Media Release.

Maydena/Tyenna/National Park warnings:  Click for updates.

Strathgordon warnings: Click for updates.

Central Plateau warnings:  Click for updates.

Huon Valley warnings: 
Click for updates.

Tasmania Fire Service alerts and incidents: Click for updates.

Weather warnings: Click for updates.

Local road closures: Click for updates and the full statewide list.

Mt Field National Park: Closed today. Click for updates.

Derwent Valley Council tip sites: Closed due to total fire ban. Click for updates.

Maydena Bike Park: Closed today. Click for updates.

Local schools closed today: Molesworth, Collinsvale, Westerway

The Mercury's rolling coverage: Click to read.

Local weather forecasts:

Wednesday: Total Fire Ban

TODAY is a day of Total Fire Ban throughout all southern Tasmanian municipalities as well as the Northern Midlands and Break O'Day councils. This is in force from 2am today, Wednesday, January 30, until 2am on Thursday, January 31.


The Tasmania Fire Service has confirmed that three properties have been destroyed by a bushfire burning uncontrollably in the Huon Valley.

TFS chief officer Chris Arnol said the homes on Bermuda Rd and Frypan Rd near Glen Huon were undefendable and praised the homeowners for making early decisions to leave. "Fire crews stayed for as long as they safely could to try to protect these homes but, sadly, they could not be saved," Mr Arnol said. "Thankfully the residents are safe and the decision to leave early was the correct decision."

Mr Arnol implored residents of the Huon and also those living close to the Central Plateau fire to remain vigilant as dangerous weather conditions are expected today (Wednesday).

There will be a total fire ban in the south of the state as well as in the Northern Midlands and the Break O'Day municipalities. Temperatures are expected to reach the low 30s in some areas with strong, gusty winds likely, particularly tomorrow afternoon.

Mr Arnol said the TFS feared more homes could be lost. "We do expect more structure losses. We all need to have a bushfire plan," he said. The TFS is battling four major bushfires across the state: in the Huon Valley, on the Central Plateau, at Gell River in the southwest, and at Zeehan on the West Coast.

More than 400 personnel are working on the fires, including those from interstate and New Zealand, and their ranks will be bolstered by about 60 new arrivals today..

TFS district officer Andrew McGuinness said the Huon Valley communities of Judbury, Lonnavale and Glen Huon were likely to be threatened today and the areas in the paths of the fires had high fuel loads. Firefighters are also working hard to protect critical infrastructure including power generation and transmission lines.

Mr Arnol implored all Tasmanians to remain alert and to heed early warnings. "Awareness is critical. Crews are stretched and conditions can change very quickly," he said.

The TFS advises the community to:

  • Heed the total fire bans in place;
  • Review your bushfire survival plan now;
  • If you don't have a bushfire survival plan, decide now what you and your family will do if a fire breaks out in your area;
  • If you decide to stay and defend your property, make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for this;
  • Continue to report unlisted fires to TFS by calling Triple Zero;
  • Listen to ABC Local Radio and visit for the latest bushfire information and advice.

Mt Field National Park is closed 
Mt Field National Park closed yesterday and will remain closed today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday 31). This closure was earlier than anticipated but the decision was made on advice. PWS will re-evaluate the situation on Thursday afternoon.

Tasmanians asked to help by conserving water during fires
TasWater asks Tasmanians to avoid non-essential water use during Total Fire Ban days and while bushfires are threatening communities across the state. “Our systems are working at full capacity but people on a reticulated supply really need to reassess how they are using water,” TasWater’s Mark McConnon said.

“We understand people want to protect their properties but we would encourage everyone to make sure they use water efficiently and do not exceed what is identified in their personal bushfire plan. Fire conditions are expected to continue over this week and it is critical we have water available for the Tasmania Fire Service and residents defending their homes from fire.," Mr McConnon said.

The Tasmania Fire Service advises property owners to consider alternative water sources as mains water may not be available at times of fire. TasWater encourages everyone to heed this advice and seek out information from when preparing a personal bushfire plan. “Our treatment plants and pipelines are also at risk in areas of fire activity and while we do everything we can to prepare for such emergencies, we cannot guarantee our facilities will not be affected,” Mr McConnon said.

“We also ask people in areas not under threat from fires to conserve water during a Total Fire Ban. This helps us if we need to provide water for firefighters or cart water to nearby communities.”

Residents in areas at risk of fire may notice lower water pressure due to extra demand. It is unlikely TasWater can improve pressure or flow while demand remains high. Anyone evacuating their homes should turn off taps or hoses before leaving to ensure water is available to firefighters and neighbours protecting homes.

On total fire ban days, Tasmanians are encouraged to reduce their water use by:
  • Turning off all sprinkler systems, including automatic sprinkler systems.
  • Where possible, restricting hose use to essential purposes such as firefighting or prevention.
  • Rescheduling chores that require water, such as watering plants, washing windows or vehicles, to a day that isn’t a Total Fire Ban.
  • More information on conserving water during a Total Fire Ban here:

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

New Norfolk golf results


Saturday 26/1/19 Stableford:
A Grade: L. Post 42, G. Hack 40, G. Heron 39.
B Grade: M. Minton 40, D. Armstrong 38, M. Smith 36.
C Grade: K. Elwell 41, D. Jenkins 39 c/b, T. Banks 39.
NTP: 3rd L. Griffiths, 6/15th W. Coleman, 8/17 B. Withers, 11th D. Jenkins.
Superpin: B. Withers

Thursday 24/1/19 Twilight Stableford:
Division 1: D. Stevenson 20 c/b, C. Youd 20, F. Carmichael 19, W. Coleman 18, B. Heron 16.
Division 2: R. Collins 19 c/b, B. Withers 19 c/b, M. Tangata 19, R. Rainbird 18 c/b, R. Dureau 18.
Division 3: M. Minton 24 c/b, A. Watts 24, D. Giles 21, R. Green 20 c/b, G. Reid 20.
Superpin: R. Hoare.

Wednesday 23/1/19 Stableford:
18 hole: G. Hack 43, J. Kinloch 42, A. Leitch 41, W. Hodge 40, A. Watts 38.
Birdie hole: G. Hack.
9 hole: D. Lowry 24, G. Hack 23, J. Kinloch 22, G. Smith 21, L. McKenzie 20 c/b.
Birdie hole: D. Lowry.

Citizens of the Year for 2019

Alesha Moles and Martyn Evans
FORMER Derwent Valley mayor Martyn Evans has been named the local Australia Day Citizen of the Year for 2019.

The award was announced by mayor Ben Shaw at the local Australia Day celebration at the Derwent Esplanade on Saturday.

Councillor Shaw said Mr Evans had been nominated for the award on several previous occasions but it had been deemed inappropriate while he was serving as mayor. Mr Evans retired as mayor in 2018 but was returned as a councillor in last year's council elections.

Cr Shaw said Mr Evans had a long history of community service, including membership of the Lions Club of New Norfolk and the New Norfolk Licensed Anglers' Association, among other activities. A keen fisherman, he played football with New Norfolk as a youth.

The title of Derwent Valley Young Citizen of the Year went to former New Norfolk High School student, Alesha Moles, 17.

Cr Shaw said Miss Moles was a Claremont College student who plays the trumpet with the Derwent Valley Concert Band, and the tenor saxophone at the Conservatorium of Music.

"She has recently travelled to Malaysia, and in 2019 will travel to Los Angeles with Claremont College, and to Ireland with the Derwent Valley Concert Band for the world marching championships," Cr Shaw said.

Congratulations Martyn and Alesha.

Australia Day Sports Awards 2019

Lauren Banks and Steve Sillifant with their awards on Saturday.
THE New Norfolk Cricket Club has been named the Derwent Valley municipality's Sports Group of the Year

The award was accepted by Steve Sillifant, vice captain of the New Norfolk Cricket Club 5th Grade team, at the local Australia Day celebration at the Derwent Esplanade in New Norfolk on Saturday.

Mayor Ben Shaw said the club offered the community a place to play cricket in the Derwent Valley at an affordable cost. "This club offers three senior men's teams, two junior sides, and co-ordinates the Milo T20 Blast for the whole Derwent Valley," Councillor Shaw said. "Last year, they added the first Derwent Valley women's cricket team," he said.

"This club is the first ever in the Derwent Valley to win a Division 1 premiership in the Southern Cricket Association – the largest cricket competition in Tasmania. On top of that, the club also won Division 7 T20 and Division 7 regular season premierships in 2017/18.

"The club prides itself on making cricket affordable for everyone in the Derwent Valley. Last season not only did they do this, but they also donated over $2000 to the charity Give Me 5 For Kids, and individuals in need," Cr Shaw said. "Well done to the New Norfolk Cricket Club."

The title of 2019 Derwent Valley Junior Sportsperson of the Year went to Lauren Banks, a local student and accomplished lawn bowler who won  Tasmanian Junior Lawn Bowls Singles and the Southern Tasmanian Lawn Bowls Singles.

Presenting the award on Saturday, Cr Shaw said Miss Banks had also won the Southern Junior Pairs Championship and was the Tasmanian representative for the "Champion of Champions" event.

"In addition to this, [she] has gained entry into the Tasmanian Holebrook open side, played for Tasmania in the Tasmanian open side, won the New Norfolk Ladies Club Singles, plays in the Premier division in Southern Tasmania and won the gold medal for Tasmania in the national pairs competition - the first time Tassie has won this in 14 years."

Miss Banks, 17, will complete Year 12 at Guilford Young College this year.

No award was made in the category of Derwent Valley Sportsperson of the Year.

Congratulations Lauren, and the New Norfolk Cricket Club.

Community Event of the Year 2019

New Norfolk Christmas Group members Tracy Hay, left, Jye Hay,
Elizabeth Sheridan, Mary Young, Nicola Rouleston and Fred Lee.
A GROUP that has taken charge of generating Christmas spirit in New Norfolk's town centre has been recognised with the Derwent Valley Council's Australia Day Award for Community Event of the Year.

"For three Christmas periods in a row, New Norfolk town centre has been transformed by this group of three dedicated ladies," mayor Ben Shaw said in announcing the award to the New Norfolk Christmas Group at the local Australia Day celebration on Saturday.

"A much-loved addition to our community, this group has opened and run 'Santa's House" on High St and at the Courthouse, with many photos and happy moments coming out of it," Councillor Shaw said.

"All of this is given free of charge and without the work of this group, many families would not have access to photos with Santa. A group of helpers join in with them to create the magic for two weeks before Christmas. Well done to the New Norfolk Christmas Group."

Congratulations to the New Norfolk Christmas Group.

Greater Hobart smoke alert


Issued At: 29/01/2019 5:12pm

There multiple bushfires burning in Southern Tasmania. There is no threat to to the Greater Hobart Area.

There may be smoke and ash from these fires visible around Greater Hobart.

What to do:
  • People with medical conditions are advised to have a personal plan for avoiding smoke from the burn.
  • Advice is available from the Department of Health or the Asthma Foundation of Tasmania 
  • People traveling in the area should exercise caution if driving in smoke. Turn on your headlights and drive slowly.
  • If you live in the area of the fire, stay informed in case conditions change by monitoring local radio stations and the Tasmania Fire Service website.

Community Information:

Bushfire latest - fire weather warning


LAKE DOBSON RD: Lake Dobson Rd at Mt Field National Park has now been closed to all traffic.

MT FIELD NATIONAL PARK: Mt Field National Park has closed today and will be closed Wednesday, January 30, and Thursday, January 31.The Parks and Wildlife Service will re- evaluate the situation on Thursday afternoon.

MAYDENA BIKE PARK: Due to an expected increase in bushfire risk this afternoon we will be closing the park effective immediately. All guests are asked to sign off with our staff before leaving. While there is NO immediate risk, conditions may change this afternoon. If staying in town please let watch on the Tasmania Fire Service web site for updates and remain vigilant to changing conditions.

MAYDENA COMMUNITY MEETING: Tasmania Fire Service and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service will hold a community meeting and information session in regard to the current Gell River Fire burning northwest of Maydena. For more information contact the Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 000 699
When: Tuesday, 29th January 2019
Time: 7PM
Where: Old Maydena Primary School Music Room (Maydena Bike Park), Kallista Rd, Maydena

For emergency updates visit and listen to ABC Local Radio on 936 AM or 89.7 FM

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

Fire Weather Warning
for the Upper Derwent Valley, North East, East Coast, Midlands, South East and Central Plateau forecast districts

Issued at 1:02pm  on Tuesday 29 January 2019.

Weather Situation

Rest of today: Very High Fire Dangers are expected about the East Coast, Midlands, Upper Derwent Valley and South East forecast districts. Hot, fresh and gusty northwesterly winds with low RH will continue across much of the east, south and inland areas today, with wind speeds generally reaching 30 to 40 km/h, temperatures of low to mid 30's, and relative humidity dropping to 10 to 20%.
Wednesday: Severe fire dangers about the South East and Upper Derwent Valley, Very High fire dangers about the North East, East Coast, Midlands and Central Plateau districts. Hot, fresh and gusty northwesterly winds of around 35 to 45 km/h, RH down to 10 to 15% and maximum temperatures of low to mid 30s.

For the rest of Tuesday 29 January:

Very High Fire Danger in the following forecast districts:
East Coast, Midlands, Upper Derwent Valley and South East 

For Wednesday 30 January:

Severe Fire Danger is forecast for the following forecast districts:
Upper Derwent Valley and South East 

Very High Fire Danger is forecast for the following forecast districts:
North East, East Coast, Midlands and Central Plateau

The Tasmania Fire Service advises you to:
  • Action your Bushfire Survival Plan now.
  • Monitor the fire and weather situation through your local radio station, and
  • Call 000 (Triple Zero) in an emergency.
  • For information on preparing for bushfires go to

The next warning will be issued by 5pm  Tuesday.

Fire ban tomorrow, Maydena meeting tonight

AHEAD of another Day of Total Fire Ban tomorrow (Wednesday) an update on the Gell River bushfire will be given at a community meeting today at 7pm.

The meeting will be held in the music room of the old Maydena Primary School (now Maydena Bike Park) on Kallista Rd, Maydena.  All members of the local community are encouraged to attend.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Monday bushfire update


IT has been a busy day for firefighters, with significant fire activity in the Upper Midlands and Huon areas. There are 44 fires listed, with 21 of those considered going.

The fire danger rating exceeded forecast conditions today, with some areas reaching 'severe'. Tuesday and Wednesday will be warm days, with Wednesday bringing the most concerning conditions. A total fire ban will be declared for Wednesday in the south and parts of the north - details will be confirmed on Tuesday.

Emergency Warnings have been issued for several communities in the Huon Valley. Emergency Alert phone messages have been issued for specific locations within the Riveaux Road warning area.

People in the warning areas have been advised to consider leaving their property to a nearby safer place, or an evacuation centre.

Firefighting is currently taking place at the Southwood Wood Processing Plant after embers burned through skylights. Crews are working to minimise damage to the plant.

A 737 'bomber' aircraft is en-route from NSW this evening to the Huon Valley to assist by dropping a load of gel, and will return to NSW once that task is complete.

There are unconfirmed reports of property losses and it is unlikely this information will be verified today.

Emergency warnings are also in place for communities at the southern end of the Great Pine Tier fire. All crews and aircraft assigned to that fire are protecting assets in the Hermitage and Jean Banks Road areas and attempting to keep the fire to the west of Highland Lakes Road.

Firefighting strategies in the Wadammana area have successfully minimised impact to critical transmission power lines.

In the south-west, sprinklers are being installed around Lake Judd in the Mt Anne area to protect sensitive vegetation.

Advice from Tasmania Fire Service remains as follows:

  • Review your bushfire survival plan now;
  • If you don't have a bushfire survival plan, decide now what you and your family will do if a fire breaks out in your area;
  • Continue to report unlisted fires to TFS by calling Triple Zero;
  • Listen to ABC Local Radio for rolling coverage of the bushfire situation and visit for the latest bushfire information and advice.

Australia Day Ambassador's address

Diana Butler OAM.
SERENDIPITY provided New Norfolk's Australia Day celebration with an Australia Day Ambassador with an unexpected local connection.

Transferred from another Australia Day Ambassador posting due to the unavailability of Mitch McPherson, Launceston nurse Diana Butler continued the tradition of inspirational speakers who have shared their story at New Norfolk's Australia Day events.

Mrs Butler was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours, for her humanitarian work in Africa. Her visit to the Derwent Valley for Australia Day was something of a homecoming as Mrs Butler is a member of the Allwright family, formerly of Rathmore at Hollow Tree.


Educated at the Gretna State School and Glenora District School before becoming a boarder at St Michael's Collegiate School, the smoky conditions of the Australia Day weekend reminded Mrs Butler of her first day at the Gretna school on February 7, 1967 - the day of the Tasmanian bushfire disaster known as Black Tuesday. "My twin brother and I were not able to get home on the school bus that day and stayed with the Binny family at Gretna," Mrs Butler said.

Another of Mrs Butler's brothers, Jim Allwright, lives and farms at Jones River, near Ellendale, and is deputy mayor of the Central Highlands Council.

Employed as the after-hours nurse manager at the Launceston General Hospital, Mrs Butler has a background in emergency nursing. In 2007 she co-founded the Care for Africa Foundation to address poverty, lack of water, medical and educational services in Tanzania.

Mayor Ben Shaw presents an Australia
Day pin to Diana Butler.
Mrs Butler said she was proud to be part of the Australia Day Ambassador program, noting that ambassadors were participating in celebrations right across Australia. Derwent Valley mayor Ben Shaw invited Mrs Butler to perform the flag-raising ceremony and later presented her with an Australia Day Ambassador pin.

The following is a lightly edited version of Mrs Butler's Australia Day address given at New Norfolk on Saturday:

"Today I am going to talk about kindness and purpose. I’ve always approached my life from this prospective. Kindness and purpose are at the very core of my existence and all that I do. In particular my life as a mother of three wonderful well-adjusted successful young men; as a nurse; and in my creation of Care for Africa as the co-founder and CEO.

"Care for Africa works in remote Tanzanian communities that live in extreme poverty. We facilitate lasting change through the development water, health and education which is sustained through the empowerment of Women. This is all initiated and driven from the people.

"Having a purpose makes it impossible to just merely exist. When you have a definite reason for living, a 'why' behind every action, your passions and talents will drive you toward a happy fulfilling destination.

"Kindness is fundamental to human existence. We are thrust into the world as newborns and enriched with kindness of our parents nurturing for the ensuring years. Humans are the only mammals with a prolonged post-gestational period. Other creatures rely on the support for a brief time before becoming self-reliant. We are powerless at birth and depend on our caregivers to provide for our needs. Therefore, kindness is sewn into the framework of our DNA. We are literally wired for kindness.

Australia Day Ambassador Diana Butler OAM speaking at
New Norfolk on Saturday.
"Lack of connectivity in our society is the very source of our lack of kindness. It is the mother’s kindness that nurtures her child to find its true purpose in life. It is the nurse that holds the hand of the dying and grieving through their depths of despair to allow them to find purpose to keep going.

"It is the volunteer that travels to the impoverished community in Africa that empowers to give purpose to the people to escape their lives of poverty. It is the volunteer firefighter that gives up his time to fight fire to allow his fellow human to continue their life after the fires with purpose.

"Our Australia Day award recipients have kindly given of their purpose to allow for a better life for all.  We all have kindness in our hearts - so let our kindness reign supreme to allow and encourage our families, friends, communities & all to find and fulfill their true purpose in life.

"It is through events such as Australia Day that our true sense of community and purpose can be expressed, and this is only made possible through the kindness, hard work and connections of many people within the community.

"I would like to thank the Derwent Valley Council and the Tasmanian Government for inviting me here today. Happy Australia Day everyone - my best wishes for the coming year."

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Quick links: Total Fire Ban, Day 4

Total Fire Ban - January 24-28: Media Release.

Maydena/Tyenna/National Park warnings:  Click for updates.

Strathgordon warnings: Click for updates.

Central Plateau warnings:  Click for updates.

Tasmania Fire Service alerts and incidents: Click for updates.

Weather warnings: Click for updates.

Local road closures: Clearhill Rd; Dawsons Rd; Florentine Rd; Lake Dobson Rd; Morley Track; Mt Wedge Track; Mueller Rd; Plenty Link Rd; Sawback Track; Scotts Peak Rd; Styx Rd. Also Bashan Rd from Victoria Valley Rd through to Waddamana Rd intersection; Dennistoun Rd from Bothwell to Interlaken Rd; Highland Lakes Rd between Liawenee and Riversdale Rd; Highland Lakes Rd between Miena and  south of the Steppes Monument; Interlaken Rd from Oatlands to Steppes Monument; Lake Augusta Rd; Little Pine Lagoon has been evacuated - avoid the area; Marlborough Rd between the Lyell Hwy and Highland Lakes Rd; Victoria Valley Rd from Ouse to Bashan Rd; Waddamana Rd from Highlands Lakes Road.  . Click for updates and the full statewide list.

Mt Field National Park: Visitor centre and short walks open. Click for updates. Waterfalls Cafe closed.

Safe place: Salvation Army, 79 Hamilton Rd, New Norfolk, open. Click for updates.

New Norfolk tip site: Closed due to total fire ban. Click for updates.

Maydena Bike Park: Open. Click for updates.

The Mercury's rolling coverage: Click to read.

Local weather forecasts:

Australia Day honour for local journalist

LOCAL journalist Damian Bester has been awarded one of  the Tasmanian RSL's two Australia Day Achievement Awards for 2019. The award of a medallion and certificate was presented last week by four RSL representatives in front of staff of the Mercury, where he works as a news producer.

The nomination was made by the New Norfolk RSL Sub-Branch in recognition of Damian's longstanding support of veterans and the RSL in Tasmania, sub-branch vice president Phil Pyke said. With Mr Pyke were the acting state president Geoff Leitch, chief executive officer Noeleen Lincoln and southern president David Webb.

"Over the 100 days leading up to Remembrance Day 2018, Damian put together 100 files of Tasmanians who died in World War I," Mr Pyke said. "His work in the '100 Days' series has led to a French deputy mayor trying to contact members of the Petterd family as their ancestor Harry lay in the St Benin military cemetery. The deputy mayor traced through the Mercury's articles and was put in touch with the family through the Friends of Soldiers' Memorial Avenue.

"This is just one example of where Damian's stories have had an impact. Damian is a member of the New Norfolk community and until recently was a member of the Derwent Valley Council. He attends many commemorative events across the south of the  state, writing them for the Mercury or Derwent Valley Gazette, along with photos.

"In the '100 Days' series he wrote about how New Norfolk became the place to treat soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - more notably at Millbrook Rise which still exists today as a mental health facility."

Mr Pyke said Damian had previously worked with Reg Watson to produce the Mercury's special supplement titled Brothers in Arms - Tasmanian Soldiers, Sailors, Aviators and Medics Who Paid the Supreme Sacrifice in World War I. "He has also produced World War I supplements for Newspapers in Education resources which were used over the centenary years 2014-18."

"Through Damian's work, the loss of those who died in World War I has resonated across the generations, with many Tasmanian families responding to the stories over the 100 days. Outside his work with the Mercury he has also produced several volumes of the history of the Derwent Valley. While it could be said this work is the result of Damian's employment, he writes with compassion as well as a genuine understanding of our military history," Mr Pyke said.


Bushfire update for Maydena today

Click image to enlarge
THE Tasmania Fire Service and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service will hold a community meeting and information session in regard to the Gell River fire burning northwest of Maydena.

The meeting will be held today (Sunday) at 12.30pm in the music room at the Maydena Bike Park (former Maydena Primary School) on Kallista Rd.

For more information contact the Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 000 699.

Other community updates today will be held at:
Huonville: Huonville PCYC, 42 Wilmot Rd, 12.30pm, tegarding the Reveaux Rd fire northwest of Geeveston.
Bothwell: Bothwell Town Hall, Alexander St, 3pm, regarding the Great Pine Tier fire in the Great Lake area.
Miena: Miena Community Centre, 55-59 Cider Gum Rd, 6.30pm, regarding the Great Pine Tier fire in the Great Lake area.

There are 52 fires in Tasmania today - 23 of those having active fire edges. Over the past month, fires have burned through 99,000 hectares of land - much of this in remote and challenging terrain.

"The key thing we need people to be aware of is even though conditions are milder today, this could be regarded as the 'eye of the storm'," deputy chief officer Bruce Byatt said. "Several communities remain at risk from the Great Pine Tier and Riveaux Rd/Tahune fire, and Emergency and Watch and Act warnings remain in place.

Erratic fire activity in the Tahune area overnight on Friday/Saturday brought the fire front closer to the outer areas of Geeveston, with embers falling in the Air Walk. "A significant amount of effort has gone into protecting the Air Walk, and remote area crews have been there around the clock. We have a significant presence in the township of Geeveston ready to assist if spot fires do break out.

"We are incredibly grateful to the Geeveston and Huon community for heeding our warnings and making the sensible decision to leave early either to evacuation centres or completely out of the area."

The Great Pine Tier fire in central Tasmania is now almost 40,000 hectares in size. "There was significant fire activity in the Waddamana area last night and this remains of great concern, with significant power infrastructure in that area which is always a priority. Crews were assisting property owners with asset protection last night in the area. A protection plan for the Walls of Jerusalem National Park has been enacted and remote area teams are being pushed into the area.

Communities in areas near bushfires are encouraged to remain alert and proactively seek accurate information from the Tasmania Fire Service. "We appreciate this is a very worrying time for people affected by bushfires. We want to assure the community that we will continue to provide timely information and we just ask they assist us by continuing to follow the advice of our warnings.

"We understand that with so many warnings changing status regularly, it can lead to complacency, but people need to understand this is an evolving situation and threats can increase quickly so the best thing they can do is trust the authorities.

A fire on Fortescue Bay Rd on Friday is believed to have started by a discarded cigarette and was quickly attended to by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife. "This really serves as a reminder that with bushland all over Tasmania incredibly dry, with the weather conditions we are dealing with, all it takes is a poorly thought out decision to have catastrophic consequences," Mr Byatt said.

"The Total Fire Ban is in place this weekend for a reason, and while we there is no ban on lighting cigarettes, anyone who is found to have started a fire by this type of negligence will face consequences," Mr Byatt said.

Advice from Tasmania Fire Service remains as follows:

  • Heed the total fire ban;
  • Review your bushfire survival plan now;
  • If you don't have a bushfire survival plan, decide now what you and your family will do if a fire breaks out in your area;
  • Continue to report unlisted fires to TFS by calling Triple Zero (000);
  • Listen to ABC Local Radio and visit for the latest bushfire information and advice.


  • 52 fires
  • 99,000 hectares area burnt
  • 950kms fire edge
  • 3 property losses (no further losses since last report)
  • 370 personnel
  • 32 aircraft

Saturday, January 26, 2019

2019 Australia Day fun run results

10km winner David Bailey, left,
being congratulated by the
Nearly 200 entrants contested the two events in the Australia Day Fun Run and Walk at the Derwent Esplanade in New Norfolk this morning.

The 10km and 5km events were conducted by the Tasmanian Road Runners for the third time. Thirty-two athletes contested the 10km event and a further 148 took part in the 5km run and walk.

David Bailey and Maryann Murray were the winners of the 10km run and Caden Murray and Shania Murray finished first in the 5km event.

The following results have been published (more photos at the end of the results list):

10km fun run and walk:
  1. David Bailey 36:02.8
  2. Mick Davis 42:33.4
  3. Maryann Murray 45:44.7
  4. Nat Fleming 47:34.4
  5. Chloe Eiszele 47:36.1
  6. Toni Spinks 47:59.5
  7. Trent Henderson 48:11.9
  8. Natalie Marzella 48:42.7
  9. Eve Lancaster 48:43.8
  10. Sam Eiszele 49:29.2
  11. Carolyn Davis  50:36.9
  12. Tracey Keating 50:45.5
  13. Clinton Scharvi 52:28.3
  14. Tim Manning  54:04.7
  15. Jacob Kelly 56:05.7
  16. Gerard Grundy 58:26.3
  17. Marcus Byas 59:35.2
  18. Sharlai Watson 1:00:39.0
  19. Lynden Leppard 1:00:42.8
  20. Aidan Featherstone 1:03:00.5
  21. Andrew Rhodes 1:03:08.2
  22. Samantha Jex 1:04:09.2
  23. Wendy Meadowcroft 1:06:25.6
  24. Ashley Edwards 1:06:47.8
  25. Sally Douglas 1:09:20.8 +33:18.0
  26. Regina Magierowski 1:10:11.8
  27. Angie Watson 1:11:12.4
  28. Gloria Byas 1:15:32.4
  29. Greg Laugher 1:19:28.1
  30. Tina Crellin 1:24:13.6
  31. Hayden John Crawford 1:27:42.9
  32. Joanne Crawford 1:30:53.3
5km fun run and walk:
  1. Caden Murray 18:18.5 
  2. Damon Court 18:40.1
  3. Shania Murray 19:23.4
  4. Russell Venn 20:04.8
  5. Carl Lancaster  21:01.7
  6. Marcus Degenaar 21:20.9
  7. Francesca Smith 21:22.1
  8. Peter White 21:48.7
  9. Nick Laggar 22:20.6
  10. Rob Longey 22:49.3
  11. Sarah Holmstrom 22:54.5
  12. Jake King 23:09.3
  13. Matthew Burns 23:18.0
  14. Georgia Clark 3:37.5
  15. Josh Clifford 23:45.6
  16. Jameson Clark 23:46.4
  17. Leigh Nichols 24:14.5
  18. Jordan Banks-Smith 24:56.8
  19. Martin Murray 24:59.4
  20. Callum Degenaar 25:06.7
  21. Dylan Murfet 25:33.5
  22. Sara Longey 25:40.3
  23. Roger Belcher 26:52.7
  24. James Horne 26:58.0
  25. Jade Clark 27:03.3 +8:44.8
  26. Steven Palethorpe 27:07.9
  27. Connor Tomlin 27:58.6
  28. Anthony Volta 28:24.5
  29. Peta Jelkic 28:54.3
  30. Billy Tomlin 29:26.3
  31. Anna Blackwell 29:33.9
  32. Stacey Benson 30:06.8
  33. David Lawless-Thompson
  34. Rachel Judges 30:16.3
  35. Kevin Bourne 30:23.5
  36. Andrew Thompson 31:26.6
  37. Tyler Benson 31:45.4
  38. Carl Tomlin 31:49.3
  39. Emma Tomlin 31:49.5
  40. Vanessa McMaster 32:06.6
  41. Corina Minchin 32:49.4
  42. Sara Lowe 32:56.1
  43. Sarah Burchill 32:59.6
  44. Anja Rolliston 33:33.1
  45. Maree Madden 33:34.0
  46. Benny Last 33:52.1
  47. Robert Curtis 33:58.8
  48. Sue-Anne Thompson 34:00.8
  49. Julie Pace 35:01.3
  50. Hannah Kouw 35:04.2
  51. Jessica Kouw 35:04.6
  52. Cameron McMaster 35:20.8
  53. Neave Schofield 35:21.1
  54. Michelle Duggan 36:01.2
  55. Charlie Evans 36:34.2
  56. Leslie Watson 36:46.1
  57. Jill Gray 36:59.9
  58. Kodi Stevenson 37:19.0
  59. Ella Belcher 37:19.2
  60. Hayden Burns 37:39.7
  61. Mike Pace 38:15.8
  62. Chantelle Batchelor 38:25.1
  63. Sonia Tomlin 38:26.4
  64. Isaac Holcombe 38:32.7
  65. Thomas Joseph 38:45.8
  66. Oliver Collins 38:57.8
  67. Ange McGowan 38:59.0
  68. Josiah Douglas 39:22.2
  69. Kristy Hall 39:23.9
  70. Ann Burns 39:26.2
  71. Margaret Horne 39:42.0
  72. Sydney Excell 40:16.5
  73. Viset Excell  40:16.8
  74. Raymond Excell  40:17.0
  75. Lisa Joseph 40:39.6
  76. Wendy Holdsworth 40:49.9
  77. Stephen Bannister  41:02.6
  78. Sammy Murfet 41:29.9
  79. Brodie Browning 42:32.5
  80. Nathan Browning 42:32.8
  81. Brock Joseph 44:38.1
  82. Diana Ackerley 44:59.7
  83. Judi Forsyth 45:03.0
  84. Lee Cantrell 45:16.2
  85. Keema Browning 45:36.5
  86. Nikki Miller 45:37.0
  87. Natalie Wilson 45:38.9
  88. Denise Drewitt 46:59.3
  89. Ricky Bester 48:10.9
  90. Darren Cantrell 48:11.3
  91. Sophia Hunter 48:35.2
  92. Amelia Cantrell 48:35.6
  93. Emma Hunter 48:36.7
  94. Amber Cantrell 48:37.3
  95. Holly Lowe 48:37.6
  96. Matilda Jelkic 48:37.9
  97. Sam Bradley 48:49.7
  98. Daisy Bradley 48:51.6
  99. Wayne Treloar 49:51.7
  100. Allison Treloar 49:52.1
  101. Lisa Eiszele 49:54.3
  102. Shane Eiszele 49:59.5
  103. Isabella Joseph 50:14.1
  104. Hayley Wheeler 50:15.8
  105. Ellie-May Sykes 50:28.9
  106. Tricia Yasserie 50:29.5
  107. Lisa Sykes 50:30.0 +32:11.5
  108. Henry Holcombe 51:09.0
  109. Lucas Benson 51:45.8
  110. Leanne Clark 51:55.7
  111. Kim Clark 51:59.4
  112. Chelsy Benson 52:02.2
  113. Bronte Benson 52:03.6
  114. Cooper Tomlin 52:43.5
  115. Amanda Tomlin 52:43.9
  116. Cindy Ackerley 52:45.3
  117. Carmen Taylor 53:11.3
  118. Ruby Lawson 53:11.6
  119. Christine Blackwell 53:36.1
  120. Tony Blackwell 53:36.4
  121. Robyn Ackerley 54:00.6
  122. Louise Jones 54:01.8
  123. Kelly Wheeler 54:43.9
  124. Taylor Kube 54:46.6
  125. Jill Claridge 55:54.5
  126. Deb Briggs 56:04.0
  127. Jenna Collins 56:04.4
  128. Jan Hansson 56:08.6
  129. Lauren Browning 56:21.8
  130. Narelle Lowe 56:22.1
  131. David Kube 56:50.3
  132. Billie Keep 56:50.6
  133. Betty Duggan 56:56.8
  134. Carolyn Grimmond  57:06.2
  135. Michelle Dolliver 57:06.8
  136. Halle Belcher 58:55.1
  137. Suzie Benson 58:55.4
  138. Belinda Hill 58:55.7
  139. Justin Benson 59:00.8
  140. Sha'Diamond Evans 59:32.9
  141. Jodie Kenzig 59:33.8
  142. Andrew McDonald 1:00:26.4
  143. Claire Whitehead 1:00:27.6
  144. Eva Willcock 1:00:28.0
  145. Eden Willcock 1:00:29.4
  146. Ingrid Holcombe 1:01:07.8
  147. Ruth Douglas 1:01:27.9
  148. Noah Evans 1:06:53.9
10km women's winner Maryann Murray, right, being congratulated by the
5km men's winner Caden Murray, left, shakes hands with the placegetters.

5km women's winner Shania Murray, right, shaking hands with the runners-up.