Preface – A Unique Place

The Spirit of Tasmania is like no other. The Island’s human occupation is ancient, part of the longest continual cultural history in the world. Here also the Australian dimension of the British cultural story is most well preserved as a distinct form of western civilisation.

Each of its coastlines whispers its own drama, its own secrets of cataclysmic genesis, of enduring human spirit, of violent war and brutal atrocities, and of its use as a gulag for the British Empire’s political prisoners.

Gordon River Tranquility - Phil O'Neill

In Tasmania’s valleys ghostly wildlife can be heard through the primeval vegetation. It echoes the story of a “hellish demonic land” where nearly half of all Australia’s convict slaves were imprisoned. Photo: Phil O’Neill

Yet in Tasmania has also been planted the ‘holy grail’, the kernel of western civilisation, the opportunities for liberty, personal growth, fulfilment, and a vision of human enlightenment. The Tasmanian story ‘joins the dots’ as an example of the evolution of western civilisation and how it has nurtured the valuing of each other as human beings.

Present day Tasmanians have emerged, often unconsciously, from a cultural past characterised by the march of a spiritually fired egalitarianism. Along with its historically loaded landscape, its matchless beauty and powerfully evocative wilderness this makes Tasmania an exceptional place on a world scale with a unique ability to nourish the human soul.

Tasmania in both its physical and social forms also contains a unique insight into the human condition. In the Tasmanian experience lays the potential for pilgrimage, to explore the depths of personal and national identity. You are invited to dive deep into the ideas embedded in this distinctive, awe inspiring physical and cultural landscape, to ‘surf’ on a journey into the Tasmanian spirit.

As we ponder the future much is made in political circles of our Judeo/Christian heritage in the ongoing evolution of our values and future destiny. Just what is this heritage and what are these values? What exactly is the Spirit of Tasmania?

The Tasmanian story demonstrates what is good about western civilisation, what is not, what threats there are and what the potential is. It is up to each individual to evaluate these in the face of an expanding international tourist profile, ongoing internal and external threats to social cohesiveness and unrealised opportunity.

Meditations are suggested to help with this evaluation.

Tasmanian Wilderness River - Ron Rainbow

It is one thing to read knowledge with our ‘head’ and another to feel it with our ‘heart’. Photo: Ron Rainbow

With the meditations in this book there is the opportunity for experientially ‘feeling’ the subject matter, a contemplative way of exploring our empathy and intuitive faculties to evaluate the content, personally clarify values, and to explore different ways of ‘knowing’.

To add to this experiential opportunity, ‘Sacred Sites’ are suggested by way of physical examples, and also because of their significant ‘loaded’ emotional and spiritual potential as places of contemplation to help in constructing deeper meaning.