Restoring Lake Pedder – Tasmania’s Next Big Idea?



In 1972 Lake Pedder in Tasmania’s south-west wilderness controversially was flooded to build a dam.  Since then, there have been unsuccessful calls by a range of environmentalists, scientists, politicians, artists and community activists to drain and restore the lake. In 1995 a federal parliamentary committee examined this idea and concluded restoring the lake was technically possible – but too costly and politically difficult to recommend.  Two decades later, a volunteer group called Lake Pedder Restoration is pushing the proposal back on the public agenda. After the game-changing impact of MONA on thinking about what’s possible in Tasmania – is restoring Lake Pedder the big idea we should embrace next?

Join us at Wild Island at 5-7pm on Thursday 1 December for a panel discussion about draining and restoring Lake Pedder.


  • Natasha Cica (moderator) – Director of, author of Pedder Dreaming: Olegas Truchanas and a Lost Tasmanian Wilderness, and co-editor of GriffithREVIEW39: Tasmania – The Tipping Point?
  • Peter Thompson – Broadcast journalist and educator
  • Saul Eslake – Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Tasmania, former chief economist of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia and of the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group
  • Ruth Langford – Yorta Yorta woman and member of Tasmania’s Aboriginal community
  • Richard Eccleston – Director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania
  • Emma Anglesey – Tasmanian musician
  • Luke Wagner – Landscape painter

The event will be recorded for broadcast on ABC RN Big Ideas.

Places are limited and tickets can be purchased online (scroll down to book).

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Wildlife Photography with Matthew Jones

November 2 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30pm.


Matthew Jones, one of Australia’s leading wildlife photographers, will present a comprehensive and practical overview of the art and craft of photographing wild animals.

Matthew will discuss the ethics and principles of wildlife photography, and outline digital wildlife photography basics, including field craft and equipment, camera operations, composition and exposure, orientation (POV), focus, lighting and the use of flash.

This will be a rare opportunity to learn from an extremely knowledgeable and experienced exponent who is at the cutting edge of Australian wildlife photography.

The talk will be suitable for beginners, and also for those who are more experienced in photography in general and wildlife photography in particular.

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For examples of Matthew’s work see and the gallery below. All images are copyright Matthew Jones.

This workshop will be an ideal introduction to the ‘Tasman Peninsula Wildlife, Landscape & Night Sky Photography Workshop’ that is scheduled for the following weekend. Participants in that workshop will have free admission to this presentation on November 2.

For further information please contact Wild Island at 03 6224 0220, or Rob Blakers 0427 232 539.

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WILD Raptors

This event is now SOLD OUT.

**A fundraiser for the Raptor and Wildlife Refuge of Tasmania**

During our ‘bird month’ in October, join us for a special evening with Craig Webb, founder of the Raptor and Wildlife Refuge of Tasmania. The evening will include stories of Craig’s experiences with raptors that he has seen over the years, a ‘show and tell’ component, and some background into the need for the refuge, and the reason for so many birds requiring his care.

The Raptor and Wildlife Refuge of Tasmania is committed to securing the future of Tasmania’s raptors by reducing human impacts through rehabilitating injured, sick or orphaned raptors, educating the public and supporting habitat conservation. – Mission Statement.

This is a fundraising event with all proceeds going directly to the refuge to help Craig continue his important work.

About Craig Webb

In 1997 Craig returned to his birthplace of Tasmania after many years in the Kimberly working as a veterinary nurse. Involved in all facets of wildlife care, he registered as a licensed wildlife carer with the Nature Conservation branch of Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE).

He is a straight-talking and passionate advocate for the birds he cares for, most of whom are healing from the wounds caused by human incursions into their territory. Craig bought the 20 acres of land that the refuge is sited on about 16 years ago.

In the time since, his single minded determination and commitment to Tasmania’s birds of prey has seen him construct the largest flight aviaries in Australia. Sleepless nights saw him focus on solving the complex engineering challenges that allowed the salmon-fishing nets (almost two tonnes each) to be securely fastened with a series of ropes on pulleys, above and around the power poles that support them.

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Introduction to Nature Photography with Rob Blakers

October  12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30pm.


Looking to take better pictures? Join Rob Blakers for a short workshop on improving photographic skills.

This will be a practical exploration of landscape photography, including:

  • Approach and expectations
  • Equipment – cameras, lenses, tripods, filters and more
  • Timing, locations, light and composition
  • Subjects – large, small, wide, narrow, near and far
  • Field techniques
  • Basic image processing in Lightroom
  • Getting your pictures out – online use, printing and publishing

For further information please contact Wild Island at 03 6224 0220, or Rob Blakers 0427 232 539.

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Ocean Plastic – Not Fantastic

Have you seen the confronting images of dead seabirds full of plastic debris? Beyond the media-induced shock, what is the science and the story behind these gruesome images?

Join Dr Heidi Auman for this informative evening, where she will explain the physiological and toxicological impacts of marine plastic debris on seabirds from her own research. You will also hear from Matt Dell, one of the coordinators of the South West Marine Debris Cleanup that is carried out each year on Tasmania’s remote wilderness coastline. For the past 15 years, a dedicated team of volunteers collect, count and sort nearly half a million items of marine debris. Learn more about the clean up team and how you can be involved.

Beverages will be available by donation, and all proceeds from this evening will go directly to supporting the 2017 South West Marine Debris Cleanup.

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About the Speakers:

Dr Heidi J Auman, PhD (Adjunct Lecturer, IMAS)
Heidi has studied human impacts on seabirds for the past twenty-five years. She has explored plastic ingestion in subantarctic and Tasmanian seabirds, chemical pollutants in Great Lakes birds, and the effects of junk food on urban gulls. She has demonstrated that our ecological footprint has reached the farthest corners of the earth, often with disturbing consequences. Recently Heidi found that 96% of Tasmanian muttonbird chicks were full of plastic debris.

Heidi is also the author of educational children’s book Garbage Guts, which details the challenges Aria the Albatross and her ocean friends encounter due to marine debris. It has become a call to action to preserve some of our planet’s most fragile habitats for the wildlife that depends on them.

Matt Dell, Environmental Scientist
A cartographer, photographer and keen surfer, Matt has been involved with organising the South West Marine Debris Cleanup in the Tasmanian World Heritage Area for over 15 years. He and fellow coordinator Dave Wyatt lead a team of up to 20 volunteers who, as a not-for-profit organisation, receive funding from public donations, crowd funding campaigns, and partnerships with like-minded organisations.

Marine debris is trashing some of our wildest beaches. We’re absolutely committed to fighting this toxic wave of rubbish that’s choking our oceans and destroying our marine life. We need all hands on deck to tackle this crucial issue, and help protect Tassie’s globally renowned wild places, over 80% of marine debris globally is derived from the land, we need to stop the rubbish at the source – Matt Dell.

All proceeds go to the 2017 South West Marine Debris Cleanup

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Collaboration for a cause

A presentation by Biologist Rachael Alderman and Photographer Matthew Newton

Rachael will talk about what it is like to be a biologist working on remote islands with Tasmania’s mysterious Shy Albatross and why this work is so important.

Matthew will explain the issues associated with documenting science projects in remote and challenging environments.Together they will discuss their successful collaboration that has resulted in large scale exhibitions around Tasmania and numerous publications nationally that have launched the new Tasmanian Albatross Fund into the public arena.

This talk will examine the many benefits that flow when science and art work together to collaborate for a cause and how visual story telling can engage a new audience, attract philanthropy and drive social change.

Who should attend
• Science professionals and students interested in telling their stories
• Nongovernment organisation, marketing and communications staff
• Communications and education staff at government agencies and universities
• Program directors, curators at institutions
• Photographers
• Concerned citizens, activists and change-makers

All profits go directly to the Tasmanian Albatross Fund.

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Gondwana on Fire Q&A

Gondwana on Fire – the ecology of Tasmania’s ancient evolutionary lineage vegetation.

Click here to view the video recording of this event

Wild Island is hosting a Q&A at the Dechaineux Theatre, Centre for the Arts in Hunter St with Distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, Professor David Bowman and Associate Professor Greg Jordan, who will share their insights into the fire ecology of Tasmania’s alpine areas and rainforests, and the threats posed by a warming and drying climate.

About the speakers

Distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania.
Professor David Bowman, fire ecologist, University of Tasmania.
Associate Professor Greg Jordan, evolutionary ecologist, University of Tasmania.

All are welcome to this free event, however to ensure entry, please RSVP online (SCROLL DOWN TO BOOK YOUR TICKET)

NB We will ask for $5 donation to cover the costs of hiring a bigger venue.

Wednesday March 2nd, 7:30 to 9:30pm at the Dechaineux Theatre, Centre for the Arts in Hunter St.

Photography and Wilderness – Talk by Chris Bell – POSTPONED

Photography and Wilderness

Chris will discuss the two issues he is most passionate about (and which are deeply entwined in Tasmania): photography and wilderness.

He will discuss how photography has raised our awareness of the natural world and in so doing has played an enormous role in saving both the places that matter and the creatures that live in them.  In particular photography has played a significant role in saving wilderness – the apex of our physical landscapes.

Despite the current debate about the veracity of wilderness, wilderness is real, definable, defendable as a concept, and locatable.  In light of the dismissive claims about wilderness in the current discourse – to say nothing of the threats – Chris will largely concentrate on this subject in the talk.

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