Tiger has learned that she lives in the following places:
1) Earth (where her cousin, Brynner, also lives. Nobody else so far, apparently)
2) Hobart (AKA Fairyland)
The third is the one she gets most excited about. Whenever anyone mentions Tasmania, Tiger cries, “Tiger lives in Tasmania!”.
She gets it from her mum.
Despite my dedicated loathing of All Things Chilly, I love this place. When people ask me where I’m from, I never think to say “Australia”. I always say I’m Tasmanian. I was born here, in a working class city by the sea. I grew up in another beachside town not far up the coast. I spent my university days in “the ditch” (an affectionate term), of Launceston and moved to my adopted city of Hobart not long after (bringing with me another boy from the coast; albeit one with a more exotic heritage than mine – Tiger’s daddy is a Kiwi).
I’ve travelled to Indonesia, Singapore, Hawaii, England, Scotland, Wales and around the Australian Big Island as well. I’ve entertained thoughts, over the years, of moving to London, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Bali …
I’m still here. Because here is where my heart is and it’s where I want my daughter to grow up and I am filled with joy to hear her call her small self “Tasmanian”.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the privilege to immerse myself in some of the vast array of talent this tiny state is producing. I’ve listened to its music; viewed its visual art; read its writing – by authors old and very young.
I am so, so proud of the people of my island. We have our hardships but my gosh we fight them. We transcend them. We punch above our tiny weight. We excel. We are gosh-darned brilliant.
I am proud.
I am Tasmanian.
My girl is a resident of Earth (population two). She is also a proud Tasmanian; every bit as much a part of the mythology of this island as the thylacine she’s nicknamed after.
As she grows up I hope that her Poppy will teach her of his ancestry down the Huon and she’ll learn just how Tasmanian she is. I hope her Gran and Granda will educate her about the environmentalist history of her state, too. I hope she’ll be as proud of her island as I am, and glad I chose to raise her here.