Wild Heart of Tasmania: A living history of Lake Malbena and the Western LakesLibrary Shop
Wild Heart of Tasmaniais a lively collection of stories centred around a highland wilderness. It portrays bushwalking and backcountry fishing as a way of life, and historic bush huts as social fabric.
In the early 2000s, Greg French was approached by a talented young fly fisher to write a foreword to a proposed book. Greg helped the aspiring author and shared his most treasured backcountry destinations. Then bewildering events surrounding a quaint hut on a remote island turned everything on its head.
The application for a commercial development in the middle of one of Tasmania's most treasured wilderness zones blindsided traditional users. Subsequent events blindsided the State Government and the developer. No one could have guessed how much national media coverage would be generated by the ostensibly tiny Lake Malbena proposal.
What is it about the Western Lakes that fuels such passion? Where does lifelong and multi-generational attachment to the land fit into the narrative? What are the ramifications for ecotourism in Tasmania? And why should any of this matter to the rest of Australia?
Wild Heart of Tasmaniais an inspirational tale for those who love wild places and wildlife, and a cautionary one for those who believe Australia's national parks to be well protected and its democracy sacrosanct. Quirky communities and quirky people never seemed so important.
As a teenager in the late 1970s, Greg French fell in love with the highland moors and stunted forests of Tasmania's Western Lakes wilderness. He was the first person to systematically document trout and their behaviour in the region's myriad waterways, and his guidebooks have become legendary. In the early 1990s, after co-writing the first Trout Fishery Management Plan for the Western Lakes, Greg went on to work as the area's summertime track ranger. To give his writing gravitas, he travelled the globe, chronicling the conservation problems that beset the world's most renowned trout and salmon waters. His collections of short stories, including Frog Call, The Imperiled Cutthroat and The Last Wild Trout, have become much-loved classics.