Breathing Space

'Breathing space' is a book of essays, poems and stories about Tasmanians' changing relationship with nature, commissioned to mark the TLC's 20th birthday.

Poems, essays and stories were written by:

Robbie Arnott | Priscilla Beck | James Boyce | Lisa Charleston | Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn | James Dryburgh | Adrienne Eberhard | Peter Grant | Pete Hay | Erin Hortle | Keely Jobe | Karen Knight | Ted Lefroy | Greg Lehman | Melissa Manning | Miriam McGarry | Kaya Ortiz | Jock Serong | Peter Timms | Danielle Wood

With original art by Richard Wastell

And photographs by Andy Townsend | Hillary Younger | Matthew Newton | Matt Palmer

Edited by Ben Walter & Jane Rawson

Designed by Nadine Kessler

ISBN 978-0-646-84228-8

This is an important book, a milestone in Tasmanian environmental writing, and the care that has gone into its publication frames the moment beautifully.” Professor Ted Lefroy

Drop into your local bookshop or library, or order online, at:


Libraries Tasmania

Fullers Bookshop

Petrarch’s Bookshop

Cracked and Spineless

Dymocks Hobart

State Bookstore

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

The Hobart Bookshop

Wild Island Tasmania


Brunswick Bound

Fairfield Books

Blarney Books & Art

Paperback Bookshop and online

South Australia

Matilda Bookshop and online

If you would like to stock Breathing space, please email Daniel McMahon at

‘The Bones’, Skullbone Plains Reserve. Photo: Hillary Younger

Note from the editors

We started thinking about this book in mid-2020, just after Tasmania finished its first period of Covid lockdown. Nature was integral to so many Tasmanians’ experience of that period. We’d been shut out of national parks and reserves, our extended backyards, but many of us still found solace in the trees, birds and changing sky- and water-scapes right outside our windows; a rare privilege in an increasingly urbanised world.

We emerged from that time into a Tasmania transformed. The state’s most popular wild places – kunanyi, Freycinet, Cradle Mountain – were empty of visitors. Questions were being asked about what part nature tourism should play in our future economy. As the world, and often the rest of the country, was swamped by wave after wave of infections, Tasmania remained almost untouched by Covid. A place once seen by outsiders as an underdeveloped backwater was starting to be viewed as a calm, safe and natural oasis in a turbulent world. Suddenly everyone wanted a piece of regional Tasmania, a home among trees, and bush blocks around the state were snapped up as soon as they went on the market.

In this very strange time, we wondered what Tasmanians, and lovers of Tasmania, were thinking about our relationship with nature. Had it shifted in the twenty years since the Tasmanian Land Conservancy was founded? Would it change again over the next twenty years? How had it been affected by the pandemic and the terrible bushfires of recent times? Our brief to aspiring writers was wide-ranging – poems, essays and short stories that touched on this theme in any way. We were particularly looking for viewpoints and perspectives that would challenge and surprise.

We are delighted with the results. Whoever you are and whatever you think about wild places and our relationship with them, we think you’ll find something in this book that will comfort and console you, something that will inspire you, something you will disagree with, and something that will open your mind to a new idea.

Jane Rawson and Ben Walter

Banner photo of Richard Wastell’s Inhale. Exhale. Tribute to the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. Photo by Jack Bett