Nov 28, 2009
When it comes to legendary Tasmanians, there is probably no bigger name than world champion axemen David Foster OAM. We were lucky enough to have a chat with the great man and he didn’t disappoint, giving it to us straight on what being Tasmanian means to him.
What would you say is the heart and soul of Tasmania?
It’s the people. Every time I talk to someone from the mainland, they can’t believe how much time people have for each other here. You’ll be driving up the road and people will give you a wave, or they’ll stop in the middle of the road and they’ll say g’day.
How much value do you place on the Tassie Tiger as a symbol of what it means to be Tasmanian?
I think the Tassie Tiger and also the Tassie Devil are very important. When I went to America I was amazed that who ever I spoke to, once they found out I was from Tassie, they just wanted to know more about the Tassie Devil. I think the Tassie Devil and the Tassie Tiger are two best-known Tasmanians, all over the world.
One idea that has already come up is that we should throw our support behind the Tassie Devil by making it our new state symbol, replacing the current Tassie Tiger logo. Is that something you would support?
Yes I would absolutely. One of the last things I would want in my lifetime, is be able to say I saw the last Tassie Devil die in a bloody zoo somewhere. I remember the last Tiger that died in a Zoo in Hobart a long time ago and that was a tragedy.
Are there any stereotypes of Tasmania that you think we need to move on from?
Well I actually love the whole two-headed Tasmania bit, I really do. I suggested years ago we should’ve had a competition here. Come to Tasmania and if you can find a two-headed Tasmanian, you’ll win a one million dollar reward. I think we do cop it, but I think we need to be proud of our heritage.
Do you think much of the traditional north/south rivalry we have in Tasmania?
I actually think it’s good that we’ve got that. We’re very proud us little bloody Tasmanians. I know people that live in Launceston and for them, they’ve never traveled and they think Launceston is the best place to be, which I think is great. There are people that have grown up in Queenstown who have gone somewhere else, then they go back there to retire and live and that is an amazing thing too, because people here just love where they live. So you can understand why you are going be protective of your place. It’s your kingdom. But, when you get a statewide fundraiser, the whole of Tasmania gets together which is fantastic.
What would say are the values that Tasmanians have that make us different?
I’ve heard people say Tassie is 30 years behind the mainland. To me, that is a compliment, because the world has gone too far. There are people here that still know their neighbours and they still talk to their neighbours. You go to those big cities like Sydney and people don’t want to talk to you.
I don’t think we need to change anything, because I think we’ve got it all here. I honestly believe we are the envy of the world. I tell people that god made the earth and there was a little bit left over, so then he made Tassie.
Cheers to that!