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Battlers eager to succeed

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 02 Maret 2013 | 19.55

Melanie Lowe, 14, with sister Shania Morgan, 12, and other Bridgewater area students (inset) Cameron Lowe, 17, and sisters Skye Langford, 10, and Mikayla Gillie, 14, are working hard at school to achieve their dreams. Pictures: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

TEACHER, policewoman, SAS officer -- these are the career dreams of a new generation of Tasmanian children.

Jordan River Learning Federation, formerly Bridgewater High School, has had its share of educational challenges.

The school has struggled in NAPLAN testing.

In 2011, nearly one-third of year 7 and year 9 students were in the lower levels of achievement, compared with 6 per cent of students in schools nationally.

But many of the young students the Mercury spoke to recently are ambitious and excited about their future.

Melanie Lowe, 14, is one of five children in her family, aged 19 to three, and they all have big plans.

Melanie's ambition is clear -- to join the police service.

"I want to be a police officer. To enforce the law," she said.

She said she had often been bullied at school and that made her aware of justice.

"I'll go to college and maybe university. I'll go all the way if I have to," she said.

The Jordan River student has been involved in the student representative council and a range of school and community groups.

"Whatever comes up at school, I'm into it," she said.

But she said she had copped flak from other children for being so keen in the classroom.

Her brother Cameron Lowe, 17, a Claremont College student, wants to join the defence force, and ideally the Special Air Service.

"The travel, the people you get to meet, the sights you see, friends for life," Cameron said.

"I love the training."

He said he had done boot camp with well-known trainer Tim Sproule, a former SAS officer, through Bridgewater Police and Citizens Youth Club.

Cameron also said the navy was good for discipline, and he even looks forward to ironing his trousers to create sharp creases.

"The discipline's excellent. I would say people need it, some people miss discipline a lot," he said.

Cameron said he was wild in his early high school years.

"I've got my eyes on the goal now," he said.

Mum Andrea Morgan agreed that he had "run amok".

"They've done a wonderful job with him [at Claremont]," she said.

Shania Morgan, 12, aims for further study.

"I'd like to be a teacher, a primary school teacher," Shania said.

Sister Sam Rajkumar, 19, is studying a vocational course in business at Claremont College.

"I'd like to work in police administration or births, deaths and marriages [office]," Sam said.

Mrs Morgan said education was the key to the future for her five children.

"I would like to see them have a better life, a better job. Kids do need something to build on," Mrs Morgan said.

"There are a lot of year 11 and 12s sitting at home."

In another family, Mikayla Gillie, 14, wants to be a chef.

"I've been cooking at school since grade 7," said the My Kitchen Rules fan.

She has two uncles who are pastry chefs.

Her sister Skye Langford, 10, dreams of being a hairdresser.

"I want to dye mum and dad's hair. I already dye my mum's hair," Skye said.

Their mum Nicole Langford said she wanted her four children to have opportunities.

"As long as they get a good education and a decent job. They're having pathway planning at school."


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Doin' it Langman style ...

SEAN Langman's affinity with the water started from the day he was born on a boat on Sydney Harbour.

Everything he has done since has revolved around the water -- work, sport and lifestyle.

Given that, it was an easy decision for the 50-year-old Sydney businessman and crack seaman to buy and rejuvenate the Kermandie Hotel and adjacent marina and create a home away from home -- or, in his words, his spiritual home.

That's where Langman retreated to this week after the madness and mayhem of his record-breaking run from Sydney to Hobart last weekend aboard a super-light, ultra-quick 60-foot trimaran.

You could hear a pin drop in the tranquillity of Kermandie, nestled on the Huon River, where Langman keeps some of his most prized possessions -- vintage, fully restored timber boats.

Some date back to the 1880s, such as his beloved Olive May, a 130-year-old workhorse now powered by an engine built to pump water on to the fires of the Blitz in London during World War II.

"They say she's had more oysters across her deck than any other boat in Tasmania," Langman said proudly.

The Olive May couldn't be further removed from Langman's speed machine, Team Australia, the French-built carbonfibre beast that is now the record-holder for the fastest trip by sail between the two capital cities, arriving in Hobart last Saturday in one day, five hours, 52 minutes and 23 seconds.

That was 13 hours, 29 minutes and 11 seconds faster than the previous official record held by supermaxi Wild Oats XI, set in this summer's Sydney-Hobart yacht race.

The record attempt was a thrill-a-minute, and though Langman had done the trip many times in the Sydney-Hobart, it delivered the most frightening moment in his 40 years of sailing.

Just after sunrise on Saturday, the trimaran did what he feared most -- buried its noses into an oncoming wave. Langman's heart was in his mouth.

"You're sailing so fast, and it's so different to what any monohull sailors are used to, you have to be always on your guard and be prepared," he said.

"On a boat that goes half the speed, you ease into a scenario, but things happen very quickly on a boat like this.

"We buried it down to the mast, and all the rudders came out of the water -- that got my attention somewhat.

"You never cleat the sails on these boats, you've always got them in your hand.

"So as soon as we nose-dived very hard, the boys blew the jib off and when we came up again all that would come out of my mouth was 'Thank you'."

Langman and his crew left Sydney at 11am last Friday and arrived in Hobart 29 hours later.

"It was a goal I wanted to achieve and it's only just starting to sink in," he said.

"I've had a few pinch-myself moments, and the most heartening thing is the support we've gotten by the idea of us going on a good old-fashioned adventure.

"There's been so much negative stuff in sport over the past year or so that people all round the world have contacted us with congratulations for making that trip in 29 hours."

Team Australia is so powerful that it hit a top speed of 40.1 knots and at times was fully airborne.

"It's as close to flight as you can get. It's an astonishing feeling," Langman said.

The noise onboard has to be experienced to be believed.

"It sounds literally like a machine gun going off," Langman said. "That's from the pellets of spray hitting the carbonfibre hull and beams."

There was no time for sleep and Langman only left the helm three times -- each time to go to the toilet -- and eating was ad hoc, but consisted of meatloaf sandwiches, pasta and one canned meal.

Each of the seven crew carried a knife so that in the event of a capsize they could cut their way through the safety net and get to the surface.

In December, Langman did the Sydney-Hobart onboard his 80-year-old sloop Maluka of Kermandie, which is still at his Kermandie marina.

Maluka, the oldest yacht ever to do the race, was the slowest competitor in the 68th Sydney-Hobart.

"I shared a watch with my daughter on Maluka and as we crossed Bass Strait we sat there and counted stars," Langman said. "This time [in Team Australia] we were watching the clock as we crossed Bass Strait.

"On the [radar] screen I could see Green Cape, and then in a blink there's Flinders Island. It was so quick it was astonishing."

This week Langman was happily back on dry land running his bar and tapas lounge Sass Restaurant at the Kermandie Hotel, and taking charters aboard Olive May.

"I call Tasmania my spiritual home because, not being born here, I'm told I'll never be local, but I'm part of the furniture," he said.

"My heart and soul have belonged to Tasmania for a long time, and to have people arrive each day to see the boat and offer their congratulations, it has been very humbling."

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Super trawler leaving Australia

THE super trawler Abel Tasman is to leave Australian waters without catching a fish.

After a massive community and political campaign against the ship, its Tasmanian operators have confirmed it has been sold, its Australian registration abandoned and the vessel is to depart within days.

The news was greeted with joy by fishing and environment groups, which waged a long campaign against the trawler on the grounds it could ravage local fish stocks.

Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen last night confirmed the ship would sail soon.

"This is a lost opportunity for Australia to create sustainable jobs and economic benefits from an undeveloped fish resource," Mr Geen said.

"The vessel will be leaving Australia in the near future."

He accused federal Environment Minister Tony Burke of waging a "non-scientific, populist campaign" against his company.

"This political interference to override the science-based fisheries quota system has made Australia a laughing stock internationally," Mr Geen said.

Formerly known as the FV Margiris, the 142m ship is the world's second-largest fishing vessel.

It has been a lightning rod for controversy since plans by Seafish Tasmania for the vessel to catch a quota of 18,000 tonnes of jack mackerel and redbait from waters stretching from southern Queensland to Western Australia.

An Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the Abel Tasman had changed its registration and was "no longer an Australian registered vessel".

"We believe it is seeking Lithuanian registration," she said.

Stop The Trawler Alliance spokesman Nobby Clark welcomed the news.

"If it is heading back I'd be very happy to hear it," Mr Clark said.

"I won't be comfortable until it's back where it came from.

"I'm not against super trawlers, we just haven't got the data what fish are out there."

The ship has been berthed at Port Lincoln for months while controversy raged.

Last month after Seafish revealed a proposal to work with a flotilla of smaller fishing vessel, Mr Burke signed an interim declaration to prevent the Abel Tasman from operating as a freezing and processing vessel.

Mr Burke said the initial ban for 60 days would be assessed before a decision was made whether the ban should stay in place for two years while further scientific research was undertaken.

Legislation banning the super trawler from fishing in Australian waters for two years passed the Senate in September.

Yesterday, Mr Burke was not sad to see the vessel go, saying: "The message to everyone is clear -- this Government won't take risks with our ocean. And if the Liberals take charge it will be back by Christmas."

Seafish Tasmania is taking legal action against the Federal Government following the decision to ban the Abel Tasman from fishing in Australian waters.


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Plane delays plague Tassie

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 01 Maret 2013 | 19.55

Bad weather in Sydney is causing flight delays across Tasmania and beyond.

IT'S going to be a frustrating day for travellers at Tasmanian airports, with widespread flight delays.

It is believed bad weather and equipment woes at Sydney airport are causing flight problems for airlines -- and their passengers -- right across the country.

Several flights in and out of Hobart and Launceston have been affected, including services from cities other than Sydney.

An Airservices Australia spokesman said delays at Sydney were caused by a "combination of several factors".

He said there was low cloud coverage, low visibility and rain, with gusting winds of up to 35 knots.

"What we have to do is separate our planes (coming in and out of the airport) even further apart when that happens," he said.

The spokesman said they were also upgrading instrument landing systems on the main runway at Sydney airport, which are used to enhance navigation for pilots in poor conditions.

"That means that one runway is not as usable as the others (at the moment)," he said.

A Jetstar spokesman said flights out of Tasmania were experiencing delays of up to 90 minutes.

"We thank our customers for their patience," he said.

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Chicken 'carnage' at Kingston

A DOG has been shot dead by a property owner after it killed 39 chickens and four turkeys near Kingston today.

Other chickens drowned as they tried to escape.

Kingborough Council said compliance officers found a "scene of carnage" when they were called to the rural property.

They found at least 37 chickens, two roosters and the turkeys killed by the Siberian husky, which had roamed from an urban property about 3km away.

It was believed a large number of chickens drowned in the nearby dam when they tried to escape.

Council compliance co-ordinator Darren Pallot said he was appalled at the injuries.

"Our officers are very experienced and this was the worst case they had come across in a long time," he said.

"We are lucky that the property owner was able to stop the attack before more animals were killed or he himself was attacked.

"He was visibly shaken by the incident."

Mr Pallot said he was concerned there was a small group of irresponsible dog owners in the community that allowed their dogs to roam.

"Some owners just don't get it," he said.

"This is the second serious attack on defenceless animals in recent months and both could have been prevented by keeping the dogs secure."

It comes after 24 little penguins were killed by dogs near Kingston last July.

The husky's owner faces substantial fines and is liable to pay compensation to the poultry owner.

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Jail time for 'mindless' crime

THE actions of a Kingston man who torched his neighbour's unit have been described as "mindless and stupid" by a Supreme Court judge.

Father-of-two Darrell John Smith, 35, was earlier convicted in the Hobart court of arson, attempted arson and breaching a restraint order.

Justice Shan Tennent said Smith started the fire in the Wattle St unit in November 2011 after a long-running dispute with the female occupant.

The unit was destroyed and the uninsured woman lost all of her possessions. Her cat was also killed.

The court heard the blaze broke out after Smith tried but failed to set fire to the unit with a Molotov cocktail made from a sauce bottle earlier that evening.

Smith told police he had nothing to do with the crime, but a listening device planted in his unit recorded him telling associates he was responsible.

When confronted with the evidence against him, Smith threatened to burn his own unit down.

His sentencing hearing heard he sometimes found it difficult to make good decisions.

Justice Tennent sentenced Smith to three-and-a-half years in jail, with a two-year non-parole period.

"Your actions on this night were dangerous in the extreme," she said.

"People could have been killed as a result of your mindless and stupid actions.

"Considerable property damage was caused as a result of your actions."

Justice Tennent also ordered Smith to repay the cost of the unit and the woman's lost possessions -- a bill which will exceed $200,000.

"Despite the fact that you have said you will pay off the cost, the likelihood of Housing Tasmania recovering that cost in the foreseeable future is in my view very low.

"The crime of arson is easy to commit and difficult to detect, yet it carries with it such a great potential for harm.

"There must in the circumstances be a sentence which might deter you from committing this sort of crime again and also deter others who might also be minded to try it."


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Nailbiting end to summer

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 28 Februari 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIA'S climate experts are in the grip of a meteorological nailbiter as they wait to see if Hobart has just recorded its hottest summer ever.

The Bureau of Meteorology will know at 9am tomorrow if summer 2012-2013 will enter the history books as a record-breaking scorcher.

While Hobart recorded its hottest day ever on January 4 (41.8C), the bureau has to wait until the end of the last day of summer to make a call on the season as a whole.

"It really has come down to the last 24 hours of the season," BOM climatologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan said today as the temperature sat at a very cool 15C at noon in Tasmania's capital.

"We are sitting just on a record as we speak but we have to wait to see what happens during the rest of the day and overnight before we can call it.

"Whatever happens, we know it has been a hot, dry summer overall."

In total, Hobart recorded nine days over 30C this summer.

Tasmanians got their first taste of autumn yesterday when the overnight temperature fell to 10.9C just after 5am.

Firewood merchants say early orders are already coming in.

Mr Barnes-Keoghan said long-range forecasts indicated Tasmania would experience a cooler autumn than usual.

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Arsonist says penalty too harsh

A MAN given Tasmania's second-longest jail sentence for arson in the past 40 years says he was punished too harshly for attacking his wife and burning down the family home.

Adam Robert Groenewege, 33, of Ulverstone, was convicted of arson and assault by Justice Alan Blow last September and jailed for four-and-a-half years with a non-parole period of two years and nine months.

The court heard Groenewege's crime took place as his marriage broke down and the fire had left his estranged wife and four children homeless.

The family members not only lost their home but all of their possessions in the blaze.

Groenewege's lawyer Evan Hughes told the Court of Criminal Appeal today the sentence was too harsh.

"The term of imprisonment exceeds what we submit would have been appropriate by two years," he said.

"My submission is that an offence it falls at the lower end of the range."

Mr Hughes said while 91 per cent of arsonists were jailed, half received suspended sentences and the median jail term was about 12 months.

The court heard Groenewege assaulted his wife by placing his hands around his wife's neck on the day of the fire. She fled before he torched the home.

As the fire blazed, he rang her father and sang "burn motherf--ker burn".

Groenewege's legal team also claimed the sentencing judge did not adequately take into account their client's mental health problems, which had left him nihilistic and self-destructive.

But Crown Prosecutor Jackie Hartnett said Groenewege's sentence was spot on.

"In my submission, this was an extremely bad instance of a very serious crime," she said.

"The sentence that was imposed was one that was warranted given the circumstances of this case.

"The impact of the appellant's criminal conduct ... was nothing short of devastating."

Justices Shan Tennent, David Porter and Helen Wood reserved their decision in the case.


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Check cheques, police say

POLICE have warned businesses to be vigilant when accepting cheques after a 32-year-old woman was charged with a number of fraud offences.

Tasmania Police Fraud and e-Crime detectives yesterday charged the Campania woman with 23 counts of obtaining goods by false pretences and one count of acquiring a financial advantage by deception.

The false pretences charges relate to a series of dishonoured cheques allegedly used to buy goods between November 2012 and January 2013 for a total amount of $15,915.

A police spokesman said businesses needed to be wary when accepting personal cheques.

Steps which can be taken to reduce the potential of cheque fraud include:

• Seeking identification from the customer, which provides name, address and date of birth as well as a signature. Photographic identification is the most preferred form of identification and should be requested.

• Matching the name and the signature to the cheque.

• Ensuring the customer provides a current address and phone number.

Businesses did not have to accept payment by cheque and should not do so where suspicions arose, the spokesman said. They also had the option of waiting until funds cleared before handing over goods.

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Crown appeals dealer's term

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 27 Februari 2013 | 19.55

THE two-year jail sentence handed to a Hobart man caught with a smorgasbord of drugs and $400,000 cash was manifestly inadequate, the Director of Public Prosecutions has told the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Commerce graduate and carpenter Norton Dudley Williamson, 44, was searched after getting off the Spirit of Tasmania in 2010.

Inside his car were quantities of methamphetamines, ketamine, cocaine, dimethyltryptamine, butanediol, LSD, ecstasy, methylene dioxymethcaninone, diazepam and Viagra.

He also had $13,700 in cash, scales, snap lock bags and drug dealer's tick sheets.

A search of his Lenah Valley home found more drugs, more scales and more snap lock bags.

Under his neighbour's house, police found even more drugs, more drug dealer's paraphernalia and almost $200,000 in cash in two paper bags.

A further $195,000 in cash was found at another home nearby and traced to Williamson.

In August last year, Justice David Porter sentenced Williamson to two years' imprisonment with a one-year minimum term for five counts of trafficking in a controlled substance and three counts of dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime.

DPP Tim Ellis SC appealed against the sentence, saying three-and-a-half to four years was more appropriate.

"He is one of the worst in all of the ways you look at it," he told the court.

"It was as if he was setting up a one-stop shop.

"This was large-scale trafficking that the respondent was engaged in, it was a for-profit exercise.

"Two years, in my submission is inadequate. This was a major drug trafficker who should have been visited with a major sentence."

He said Williamson had lied when apprehended, had pleaded guilty only at the last minute when he realised his case was hopeless, has shown no remorse and there was little else that could be considered in mitigation.

But Williamson's lawyer Kate Cuthbertson said the sentence fell within the range of sentences handed down for similar crimes - and that around nine months in prison was the median of comparable cases.

She said Williamson had not been to prison before and found it a "foreign and disturbing environment" where he had been assaulted.

Justices Alan Blow, Shan Tennent and Helen Wood reserved their decision.

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A seal stole my fish!

KEEN angler Bryan Van Wyk received quite a surprise during a recent spearfishing trip on the state's north coast.

After spearing his prey, a hungry seal intervened, grabbing the takeaway snack before he could retrieve the fish.

Mr Van Wyk posted the footage on the Sports Fish Tasmania forum.

"Got some cool footage of a not so cool seal swiping sweep off my float line!" he wrote.

Mr Van Wyk said while he was annoyed at losing his catch, he feels no ill-will towards the snacking seal.

"People may ask why in one frame the gun is loaded and then is unloaded. It was a matter of bad luck that the bridle [the white string connecting the rubbers] broke at that exact time," he said.

"I didn't shoot or attempt to shoot the seal!"

See the full footage of Mr Van Wyk's dive and other fishing trips on his YouTube page.

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Blackflash claims the Cup

BRIGHTON-trained stayer Geegees Blackflash ($7) has scored a memorable two-length victory in today's Launceston Cup.

The John Luttrell trained galloper was perfectly ridden by Victorian jockey Peter Mertens in the $225,000 Group Three AAMI Cup (2400m) at Mowbray.

Cup revellers on parade

He held off a late challenge in wet conditions from Lucky Angel ($6.50), with Dream Pedlar ($41) finishing third.

Race favourite Hurdy Gurdy Man ($3.60) bled during the race and was eased out of the Cup at the 800 metres.

Geegees Blackflash, owned by Tasmanian couple Paul and Elizabeth Geard, has a swag of big wins under his belt including the Tasmanian Derby (2010), Tasmanian Newmarket (2011), Hobart Cup (2012) and a host of weight-for-age races

The Cleaner led the Cup field but was a beaten conveyance at the 600 metres.

The event, held under rainy skies, drew a crowd of more than 10,000 people.

Read the full coverage in tomorrow's Mercury

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'O' what a wonderful week

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 26 Februari 2013 | 19.55

Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music students Michaela Beresford, Stephanie Arnold, Callum Jubb, Josh Direen and Alice Buckmaster. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

UNIVERSITY of Tasmania students are gathering for traditional "O Week" events at campuses across the state.

Free orientation week social events for today included a barbecue at the Conservatorium of Music in Sandy Bay Rd, an RACT barbecue at The Refectory on the Sandy Bay campus, and a breakfast at the Menzies Centre. All were organised by the Tasmania University Union.

Students also gathered at the Art School on Hunter St for Beer and Beats.

Stand-up comic Fiona O'Loughlin is headlining Campus Comedy tonight at the Uni Bar in Sandy Bay.

On Thursday night, everyone is invited to the Night Market -- a multicultural event with 14 stalls from Russian to Pakistani and Malaysian -- at the Sandy Bay campus.

Tomorrow's Clubs and Societies Day is traditionally the biggest social event, when students sign up for sports and other interest groups. Some simply gather to party.

  • Tickets for Campus Comedy are $5 for students and $15 for non-students. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7.30pm start.

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Taskforce tallies bushfire bill

The old lock-up at Dunalley survived the January 4 bushfire but many of the surrounding buildings did not. Picture: MATT THOMPSON

JANUARY'S devastating bushfires destroyed or seriously damaged 415 buildings, a report tallying the impact of the disaster has found.

The Tasmanian Bushfire Recover Taskforce today said 111 homes were lost, with the remainder of the buildings being business premises, public infrastructure, shacks or farm buildings.

Of the homes used as primary residences, just eight did not have insurance. Of the 310 property owners who have sought clean-up assistance to date, 43 were not insured.

Among those affected by the fire, which started at Forcett and swept through Dunalley and beyond, are 15 farmers -- including one with losses estimated at $1 million, another who has lost 37km of fencing and a third who lost three houses, 100 head of sheep and 560ha of pasture.

Up to 250 businesses have been directly or indirectly affected by the fires.

They include oyster growers, who have been hit to the tune of $3 million, and tourism operators who are expecting a 10 to 20 per cent downturn in business for up to six months.

Just 50 per cent of large tourism operators affected by the Dunalley fire carried insurance which covered business disruption, while less than five per cent of small operators were covered, the report noted.

The taskforce said its priorities in the coming months would include supporting individuals, families and communities, restoring homes business and community infrastructure, and helping the local economy to rebound.

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Navy joins whalers, says Watson

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 25 Februari 2013 | 19.55

A JAPANESE military vessel has met up with its whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean, say Sea Shepherd activists.

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson said a 220-foot icebreaker, operated by the Japanese navy, was spotted on Sea Shepherd radars approaching whaling ship Nisshin Maru and two Sea Shepherd boats, the Steve Irwin and Bob Barker, early this morning in Australia's Antarctic territory.

It has since sent a helicopter into the sky to monitor the Nisshin Maru, and a Korean-flagged oil tanker, the Sun Laurel, which is being tracked by the Sea Shepherd's Sam Simon eight miles away, he said.

"This morning the ice-breaker had a military helicopter over the Sun Laurel monitoring it," Mr Watson told News Limited from the Steve Irwin.

"They're heavily armed helicopters. They carry three of these big helicopters."

The apparent move comes after violent collisions in the Southern Ocean last week between the Nisshin Maru and the smaller Sea Shepherd and Sun Laurel vessels.

Sea Shepherd has been scathing of the Nisshin Maru's captain, which is says put lives at risk when he rammed the four other boats.

The Institute of Cetacean Research, representing the whalers, said the Sea Shepherd boats "provoked" the collisions.

Mr Watson said today's move was "intimidating" but activists would continue to stop the Japanese from refuelling and whaling.

"It is intimidating but we're going to hold our ground and make sure they don't kill any whales," Mr Watson said.

The Sea Shepherd believes the Nisshin Maru is trying to refuel with heavy fuel and is blocking that, maintaining that is illegal in the area they are sailing in.

"What we don't understand is what a Japanese military vessel is doing in the Australian Antarctic territory protecting a Japanese whaling fleet which is in contempt of the Australian Federal Court," he said.

The news led to calls from the Greens for Australia to send a Customs ship to cool down an escalating situation.

"They need to be sending down, as a matter of urgency, a Customs vessel to go down there to monitor, and keep track of what is going on and try to de-escalate the situation because the situation is building," Greens Marine spokeswoman Senator Rachel Siewert said.

"The government has had its eye off the ball all season on this.

"They should have had a vessel down there in the first place."

Mr Watson said he did not believe Australia would act.

"I think that Australia really should surrender the Australian Antarctic territory to Japan, because that's pretty much what they've done."

A spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said Japan did not need to inform it if it planned to refuel by air outside of Australian waters.

The Australian and Japanese governments have been asked for comment.

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Sandy Bay fire 'suspicious'

A fire crew at the Sycamore Close units in Regent St, Sandy Bay. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

AN overnight fire in a Sandy Bay unit is being treated as arson.

Police said the fire caused about $50,000 damage to the Sycamore Close unit at 39 Regent St.

It is believed the blaze followed a break-in at the property some time between 10pm yesterday and 8am today.

Neighbours called the fire brigade early this morning after noticing smoke coming from the unit.

The owner was not at home at the time.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Hugh's hopes dashed at Oscars

AUSTRALIA'S Hugh Jackman has missed out on the Best Actor Oscar.

As expected, Daniel Day-Lewis claimed the gold statuette for his performance as US president Abraham Lincoln in the Steven Spielberg-directed biopic, Lincoln.

It is the third Oscar of Day-Lewis' career, with wins in 1990 for My Left Foot and in 2008 for There Will Be Blood.

For the full list of winners, click here.

To visit the gallery, click here.

Bookmakers had Jackman, for his performance in Les Miserables, as the second favourite for Academy Award.

The other best actor nominees were Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Denzel Washington (Flight) and Joaquin Phoenix (The Master).

All five Aussie nominees -- Jackman, Naomi Watts (best actress), Jacki Weaver (supporting actress), Rick Findlater (make-up-hairstyling) and Dave Clayton (visual effects) -- left the 85th Academy Awards, held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, empty-handed.

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Monckton's hot air

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 24 Februari 2013 | 19.55

CLIMATE sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton's claims about global warming do not hold water, says the leader of one of Tasmania's top research institutions.

Lord Monckton, a critic of what he calls "the climate scam" is on a national tour to argue against the prevailing scientific wisdom.

At a public lecture in Hobart this week, he said there had been no global warming for at least 16 years.

"The climate models were wrong and the world is not going to end," he said.

Tony Press, former director of the Antarctic Division and now CEO of the University of Tasmania's Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, said Lord Monckton's interpretation was unscientific.

"The argument of 'no recent warming' is wrong and has been debunked time and again," Dr Press said.

"The cherry-picking of dates or selected time periods to cast an argument in support of a pre-conceived idea is not scientific method.

"Climate is variable we here in Australia are very familiar with El Nino and La Nina.

"To understand the path and trajectory of climate change it is important to understand the long-term trends and their causes. You have to look longer than 10 or 15 years. It is only by looking at multiple decades that climate signals become obvious."

Dr Press said it was irrefutable that temperatures had increased steadily in the past 200 years.

Scientists working all over the world, independently and in many institutions, had concluded that this steady increase could be explained only by higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"You cannot explain it without having an increase in greenhouse gases," he said.

"Our knowledge of physics, even at its most basic, suggests that the release of CO2 into the atmosphere from the burning of all fossil reserves over a short time period will lead to catastrophic increases in global temperature and affect global climate."

He said Lord Monckton was right that the extent of sea ice in parts of the Antarctic had been increasing by about 1 per cent per decade, but this was dramatically smaller than the millions of square kilometres of sea ice lost from the Arctic and there were very large losses around the Antarctic Peninsula.

"What we don't know is whether the thickness of sea ice is changing in Antarctic waters," he said.

"In the Arctic, submarines patrolling under the sea ice during the Cold War recorded data about its thickness. That data has now been declassified and it shows that the Arctic sea ice was thinning long before changes in its surface area were ever noticed."

As for the ocean becoming "slightly" less alkaline, that was a marked understatement.

Researchers at the Antarctic Division in Tasmania had found that increasing ocean acidity was retarding the development of krill, while University of Tasmania scientists at his research centre found it was reducing the ability of some marine organisms to create calcium carbonate shells.

These organisms were essential parts of the food chain.

Dr Press said it frustrated him to encounter the same "climate scam" arguments over and over again, but what frustrated him more was the suggestion that scientists around the world were fraudulent or involved in some "massive delusional group thinking".

He said scientists did not behave like that.

"They are more like a cage full of angry cats than a flock of docile sheep," he said.

"Everybody has to argue their point through. Scientists subject themselves to a very high level of scrutiny, especially in climate science. The quickest way to failure and humiliation is scientific fraud.

"Scientists get much greater rewards if they happen to upturn established wisdom."

"There is a constant jostling to improve or correct the science. This in itself militates against 'group think'."


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Our lost history


THE addition of a long stretch of the West Coast to the National Heritage List has delighted Tasmanian Aborigines because of its "indigenous values".

While environmental activists are dismayed more of the Tarkine area has not been listed, Aborigines are celebrating because one of their most treasured heritage areas is joining places such as the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour Bridge on the list.

They hope to rebuild some of the villages that once dotted the coastline and develop a tourist industry to help more people appreciate their history.

"We were stunned that the Federal Government acknowledged the true value of the area and recognised it as so valuable to the whole nation," said Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre legal director Michael Mansell.

"It is a great shot in the arm for Aboriginal people and our heritage. Finally someone other than us has recognised the fascination of our past."

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the indigenous values identified by the Heritage Council ran down a coastal strip from south of Marrawah to Granville Harbour.

The listed area was mostly only 2km wide but covered 22,000ha.

"The Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape will become the 98th place protected on the National Heritage List," Mr Burke said.

"Everybody I've spoken to, whether from industry, government or indigenous groups, have acknowledged the extraordinary importance of those sites.

"This is a little-known part of Australia's Aboriginal heritage and the listing will help tell it to the wider public."

Mr Mansell said the area used to be heavily populated. Some of the first Europeans along the West Coast wrote of meeting bands of up to 400 Aborigines.

They built dome-shaped huts, decorated with charcoal drawings on bark.

Often five or six huts were grouped together, each sleeping up to 40 people.

Archaeologists found evidence of villages almost 2000 years old.

Hut depressions showed the villages' scale, and shell middens hundreds of metres long and up to 80m high showed how indigenous Tasmanians had lived in the area since long before Christ.

Up the coast at Preminghana (Mt Cameron West), ancient rock engravings revealed the artistry of these people.

Mr Mansell said the next step was for Aborigines to be involved in the management of the area, as had successfully happened at Uluru in Central Australia.

Most of the strip is in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service, which is doing a lot of work to manage public access so vehicles in the popular 4WD area stick to tracks and beach zones, and do not damage middens and other fragile sites.

"Ninety per cent of what the Parks and Wildlife Service have got in place would remain but we want to add an Aboriginal overlay," Mr Mansell said.

"With the help of the federal and state governments, we could have Aborigines on the spot with responsibility for bringing back to life our cultural heritage so people can relate to the story.

"You've got to have Aboriginal people there. Parks and Wildlife can't do that.

could make a difference.

"Before the Aboriginal involvement in (Uluru's) management, it was seen as just a rock, a natural attraction to be climbed and photographed."

With its Aboriginal heritage revealed it became Uluru, a deeply significant spiritual place in the nation's heart.

"We want to share the beauty of this history," Mr Mansell said. "The best way to preserve it is to make people value it.

"Tasmania still has its head in the sand about Aboriginal heritage. People outside Tasmania are more interested than many locals."

He said one of the first things the Aboriginal community would do was rebuild some huts.

Known sites included a village of nine huts at West Point (Nungu), eight at Rebecca Creek, seven at Pollys Bay north, one at Bluff Point, two at Couta Rocks, three at Ordnance Point, nine at Brooks Creek, three at Temma, seven at Gannet Point and one at Sundown Point (Laraturunawn).

Another big attraction would be the rock engravings.

"The only failing of the Federal Government listing is that it does not go far enough north to cover the rock engravings at Preminghana," Mr Mansell said.

"We want to take groups to Cape Grim (far North-West Tasmania), where Aboriginal men and women were massacred in the early colonial days. The VDL Company which owns the property is happy for us to lead groups (there).

"Then it would be south to the rock engravings at Preminghana and to some of the middens and huts."


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Cruise control

ALL ABOARD: Cliff and Amy Senkbeil, of Sandy Bay, at Stewarts Bay before heading off on their Tasman Island Cruise. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

TASMANIANS are doing their bit to help communities hit hard by last month's bushfires by holidaying in their home state.

The Sunday Tasmanian and the Mercury have partnered with tourism authorities to help the Tasman region get back on its feet after the January 4 bushfires.

The fires that raged through the Dunalley and Forestier Peninsula areas caused the road to the Tasman Peninsula to be cut for more than a week.

In some cases tourism businesses lost all their bookings during what was meant to be their busiest period.

An estimated 20 per cent of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys' guests are Tasmanians, such as Sandy Bay couple Cliff and Amy Senkbeil.

The Senkbeils helped support the bushfire-affected region by taking a Tasman Island Cruise during a recent day spent on the peninsula to celebrate Mrs Senkbeil's birthday.

Cruise operator Rob Pennicott added Tasman Island Cruises to his Pennicott Wilderness Journeys venture five years ago.

Mr Pennicott said the peninsula boasted one of the biggest and best varieties of attractions of anywhere in Tasmania.

"The Tasman Peninsula is an absolutely beautiful place of diversity," he said.

"There's great walks, and the Port Arthur historic site has gone to a lot of trouble to get new quality products. There's definitely great places to eat, to stay and, from my selfish point of view, the beautiful cliffs, caves, blowholes and animals for us to show off."

Readers are encouraged to visit the Port Arthur & Tasman Tourism Association Facebook page and to "like" the Open For Business campaign to show their support for local operators doing it tough.

Readers are also encouraged to join the campaign by sharing pictures taken during their visit to the peninsula on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #tassiecalling and #openforbusiness

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