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Born on islands

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177 Nations of Tasmania
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Islands communities, like Tasmania often have their own distinct culture and often have many things in common, regardless of geography it seems , for example, a sense of community and closeness that may be lacking in other places. Also there is a sense of independence Continue Reading >> Islands communities, like Tasmania often have their own distinct culture and often have many things in common, regardless of geography it seems , for example, a sense of community and closeness that may be lacking in other places. Also there is a sense of independence << Show Less
Anthony from Hong Kong : Living between two worlds In the Australian census, Hong Kong is listed as a separate "Country of Birth" to the People's Republic of China, acknowledging the different history of the two and the status of Hong Kong as a British colony for some 150 years. As a result Hong Kong and its people have their own distinct culture and outlook. Many have also found their way to Tasmania. In Anthony's case, it was his family's choice to come here, to learn from a Buddhist spiritual leader here who hade made his home in Tasmania in the 1980s.
Anthony got to experience high school in Tasmania in the 90s, a time when there were far less Chinese here than there are now, and the Chinese community looked very different. He continues to be heavily involved with the activities of the Chinese Buddhist Community, particularly with performances of the traditional Lion Dance. So although Anthony has spent much of his life living like a local, he still maintains many aspects of his Hong Kong heritage. It was interesting to here his perspectives as someone who has a foot in both cultural worlds.
Eddie – From Tanzania to Tasmania After living the first 32 years of his life on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, Eddie Mohammed married a Tasmanian lady and made the decision to leave his old life behind and start anew on the vastly different island of Tasmania. Settling in was hard, with the challenges including the weather, finding employment ,adjusting to unfamiliar social customs and no African population to speak of all facing him. A chance meeting led Eddie to joining a local soccer club and sport proved to be his pathway to feeling more at home – he got work and a social network. Eddie now coaches youth soccer and has coached and mentored young African migrants, and his influence has often extended beyond the soccer pitch.
Kalana : A Sri Lankan finding peace and purpose in Tasmania When Kalana came to Tasmania in October 2019, he was 110kg and feeling a bit lost after four not-entirely-happy years studying and working in Melbourne. But in his short time in Hobart he has experienced some dramatic improvements in his physical and mental well-being, mainly through small things that many of us locals would take for granted, such as free music events and many places to relax.
Kalana grew up in Colombo with his mother and two sisters and the family struggled in his young years, moving house many times. But everyone around them struggled too, so he did not feel it so much. When he moved to study in Melbourne it was the first time he'd lived a way from his familt, a bit step for a young man. In Melbourne he got a job at a motel and eventually he realised that he preferred hospitality to accountancy…a choice that was costly in the short term but contributed to his choice of Tasmania as a destination.
Dona : Growing up in a small village in the Philippines, and finding a new life in Tassie Dona grew up in small village in the Philippines where just getting to school required deep commitment – literally, as kids had to cross a river with no bridge to get to their primary school. Dona had a strict religious upbringing, but broke family traditions and expectations by not marrying a pastor, rather she found love online with a man in Tasmania.
15 years ago, she came to Tasmania knowing nothing about life here, in fact before she came she had confused it with Tanzania ! Despite a disappointing lack of big shopping malls, Dona has learnt to love bushwalking and nature and does volunteer work helping to support new arrivals through food, and has initiated a charity to help young footballers in the Philippines with the help of local Tasmanian soccer clubs.
Eri : Dancing a non-traditional path out of traditional Japan Eri comes from the old Japanese capital of Nara – a small peaceful city which could represent a picture postcard of traditional Japan. But the path Eri has followed has been anything but traditional and has brought her to Tasmania via Germany, England and India. Eri was always interested in dance, but only learnt of the field of dance psychotherapy while living and working in Germany and this later lead to study in London.
Eri had from a young age become fascinated by other cultures and ways of life outside her own, and after 2 years England she decided she wanted to really get out of her comfort zone and travelled to India, following again her passion for dance. She later came to Australia to work and earn enough money to return to India. But fate took a different turn and she ended up coming to Tasmania and meeting her future husband, who she now lives with in Hobart.

Photo credit : Yuko Masuda
James from Malaysia : Growing up with diversity in Sarawak Tasmania and Malaysia have strong connections going back decades, whether it be through the large number of Malaysian students at the University of Tasmania in the 80s and 90s, or through the commercial links around forestry and hydro-electricity, it's the SE Asian country with which Tasmania has significant ties.
James grew up in the Malaysian province of Sarawak in Northern Borneo. All the James comes from Chinese heritage, Sarawak's population is culturally diverse and the festivals of each major ethnic group is celebrated by all. With a strong interest in Malaysian elections, both personally and academically, James was drawn to Tasmania by a work opportunity at a South-East Asian Studies Centre at the University of Tasmania.
Ivalu from Greenland : From icebergs and fjords to towering trees and greenery It would be hard to imagine finding anyone else coming further away to be in Tasmania than Ivalu. Hailing from Greenland, the world's largest island on the far north of the globe with a sparse population of around 55,000, Ivalu talks about the experience of growing up in this remote and unique place.
Ivalu had already travelled widely before she came to settle in Tasmania several years ago – an exchange year in Panama, study in Denmark and a Masters in Indigenous Studies in Tromso, Norway. Her study in Norway lead her to meeting the Australian man who would ultimately draw her to Australia. She now lives in Judbury, a small settlement 16 km from Huonville.
Though Tasmania and Greenland lie on opposite sides of the world and are vastly different in so many ways, they both share a level of remoteness and natural beauty, where the evidence of the power of nature is never too far away.
Nick from Greece : A teenager's journey to the other side of the world alone Can you imagine being 15 years old and being put on a boat by your father going to the other side of the world to a place where you didn't speak a word of the language ? Many of us can barely conceive of this, but this is what happened to Nick when he arrived in Australia on a long journey from his birthplace on the island of Lesbos, Greece. At the time there was fighting on Lesbos between rival political factions, and many young Greeks were sent away or fled to find a better future in America, Australia and elsewhere.
After a few years in NSW, Nick would eventually come to Hobart in his 20s to pursue a business opportunity and with a friend run a restaurant and club that serviced the many Greek Hydro workers in Tasmania in the 1960s. He also became involved in the activities of the local Greek community, a migrant community that became one of the most successful and prominent of Tasmania's migrant communities and perhaps provides a model for other less established communities to learn from.
Ranti from Indonesia : Experiencing personal growth on the NW coast of Tasmania Indonesia is Australia's biggest neighbour, though it's not one of our bigger sources of migrants. For such a populous and significant neighbour, Indonesian culture and perspectives are perhaps less familiar to Australians/Tasmanians than they should be. I went to the third city in Tasmania, Devonport to talk with Ranti about her experience of settling there after spending most of her life in the giant and busy metropolis of Jakarta.
Despite the lack of shopping malls in small city that was so much quieter than she was used to, settling in Devonport has given Ranti the chance to develop skills she never knew she had and to take up pastimes which she would never had time for back in Jakarta.
Jean-Marie from Mauritius : Island life on and by the sea Mauritius is a nation consisting of a small group of islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It's diverse history and geography have made it a melting pot of cultures, religions and languages, with the French culture the most marked influence.
Jean-Marie grew up on the densely-populated island of Mauritius, but also spent some of his childhood on a small and idyllic island called Rodrigues, in a time before many modern conveniences had yet arrived and in this episode he talks a little a bit about what life was like there.
Coming from an island nation, it's perhaps not surprising that Jean-Marie went into the maritime industry, initially working onboard boats travelling from Mauritius to South Africa. The family move to Melbourne in his 20s was a bit unexpected as you will here, but eventually he would continue his career in the maritime field and that is what ultimately brought him to Devonport, Tasmania, and he has spent the last 7 years living in Shearwater just east of Devonport.