Saturday, 20 September 2008

Rita's week, and thank god it's over

It’s been a big few weeks at work since Rita returned from her holiday in Port Douglas, with trips to Melbourne and Canberra, and culminating on Wednesday in a massive undertaking which was the end of many months of intensive preparation and organization on Rita’s behalf.

Rita’s professional life involves working alongside industry and employers, as well as schools and colleges. For many years it has been as obvious as the nose on my face (and many other peoples faces too) that there is a huge discrepancy between what young people learn at school, college and uni, and what the REAL world of work actually expects/wants them to do as part of their employment conditions.

In an attempt to try and do some small thing to address this imbalance, and recognizing that one must educate the educators initially, Rita held an Industry Visit for 60 statewide Education Department teachers and Pathway Planners (an alternative name for Career Advisers) on Wednesday to Bruny Island.

I hired a bus, picked them all up in town at 8.00 am, then we departed to Kettering to catch the 9.30 am Bruny Island ferry. At Kettering I issued them with morning tea bags, advised them to buy a coffee and use the toilet at the Mermaid Café, then we boarded the Mirambeena (ferry) for our journey across the Channel to Roberts Point on Bruny. (BTW - the morning tea bags and lunch boxes were made by the magnificent Karen Goodwin-Roberts. She kicks the proverbial arse when it comes to catering for my special clients tummies in my movable feasts, and has just picked up the new Bahai Centre caterer job!)

For a surprising few Hobart dwellers it was their first time visiting Bruny! Our first destination was Get Shucked oysters, where I had previously visited and spoken to Joe, Daniel and Mark. Joe was away on the day, as he’d previously advised me he would be, but he was confident he was leaving me in most capable hands with Daniel and Mark. What an understatement! Daniel, 20 years old, and having only been working there for about 6 months proved he was head and shoulders above most employees I have seen over my years in the employment and training industry. He took the lead role in jumping up onto a deck to address the crowd, and extremely competently and succinctly explained to all these teachers exactly what his day involves; what processes the oysters have to go through to get to your table; what issues the industry generally faces and what his plans for the future are.

He was plainly the overall winner on the day, as the Feedback Sheets I got the teachers to fill out at the end of the day all mentioned him as being one of the highlights of the trip! And he performed under pressure too, as he had previously attended Woodbridge High, and his teacher at Woodbridge was amongst the teachers on the tour and instantly made himself known to Daniel!

We had an oyster tasting there (pictured above with Daniel handing round the oysters), slurping up oysters that had been languishing comfortably in their oyster beds 20 minutes before we arrived! They were delicious! Daniel took orders from all who wanted to take oysters back to town with them, then opened them over the course of the day and kept them in his fridge for us to collect on the way back to the ferry.

Next stop was Nick Haddow’s Bruny Island Cheese Company, where Emma, Ross and Ian performed brilliantly. We separated the large group into 3 then each of those 3 staff members took a group. Emma did the cheese tastings, and sales to those who wanted to buy; Ian explained the intricacies of cheesemaking in the cheesemaking room, and Ross manned the woodfired oven, gave them a taste of his fresh bread, and spoke about the industry generally.

Nick arrived just before we departed and helped out with the final cheese sales before we left for our next destination which was Island Fudge or Hiba – Michael Carnes beautiful property on the Adventure Bay road.

This was also a fantastic stop. Michael spoke to all in an honest and straightforward way about industry, small business, getting started up, niche markets, achieving greatness, working out of an island such as Bruny, and many other topics, then we had a fudge tasting. Naturally I had to drag them all kicking and screaming out of the Fudge Shop so we could have our allocated one hour lunch break, which we had in style at the private home of my CEO who very kindly allowed us use of this magnificent “shack”. (Little does she realize she now has many new best friends who all want an invitation for a weekend at the “shack” on Bruny!)

Our final venue was Bruny Island Wines, where Bernice and Richard entertained us with factual and humourous explantions of their business and industry. Unfortunately we were a bit pushed for time by then, as I was mindful that we needed to get back to the ferry terminal in time to catch the 4.30 ferry back to Kettering, plus collect the oysters from Get Shucked on the way, so hurried along the wine tastings and hassled them out of there reasonably quickly. I personally could have quite happily spent another hour or two there.

We made it to the ferry and had a lovely late afternoon trip across the Channel to return to the real world.

All present on my trip came away overwhelmed: at the innovative-ness of all 4 totally different businesses; at the amount of opportunities there are if you care to look around; at the way people tackle different issues in order to make a buck.

The over-riding thing that struck me, and everyone else, was the passion all these people put into what they do. It came across loud and clear in their words, and the way they approached life. And I think it goes a long way towards carrying them to their ultimate aim of conducting a successful business.

It was a great day, and achieved what I set out to do – showing the teachers what life in these industries and areas is like, and what the students they teach could go on to if they wanted.
Posted on by Rita


Miles McClagan said...

Do you know for someone as obsessed with Tasmania and local pride as me, I've never been to Bruny Island...that's so slack...

We were meant to go there in Grade 9, but I cut my foot open and couldn't go...not enough school spirit!

Allison said...


You outdid yourself! The day was fantastic, and everyone was thrilled with all that you organised. You did a superb job, and should be very very proud of yourself. I do have issues with Paul's big boofhead in your photo tho - I was hoping for a starring role in your blog, hehe :)

I'm typing this whilst finishing off my fudge :)

What a wonderful day!


hrv said...

Yes Rita, Michael is certainly a wonderful human, and that boss of yours is not bad either!

Rita said...

You need to get down there and check it out Miles. Follow the trail I described and I promise you'll come away even more obsessed!
Thanks Al. It was great catching up with you again too. You're doing well if you still have a bit of fudge left. Wednesday was 3 days ago! You obviously aren't as big a pig as I am with Michael's fudge. I'm glad you enjoyed the day anyway. It's great when everything you do to organise something like that comes together as planned. I'm planning the next one now. Hope to see you there!

Rita said...

Do you know my boss hrv?

hrv said...

Reasonably well if it is the person I am thinking of

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Rita on bringing two very different worlds together. We need more people like you dedicated to the cause. Wish I could have joined you all.


sir grumpy said...

I hate Bruny, Rita, apart from Moorella or whatever it's called, where the food is great.
Adventure BaY is beutiful but for me there is just nowhere to eat.
The place bores me shitless. Pub is woeful too.

Anonymous said...

When one is tired of Bruny, one is tired of life!


sir grumpy said...

We booked a holiday there for a week a few years ago.
Shit, it was SO boring. I was desperate to get back to Hobart after just a day.
A friend has a shack there and keeps offering it for a holiday.
I eventually (after excuse after excuse) had to admit the place bores me rigid.
Fuck me, if you haven't been and always wondered, take my advice don't bother. Pretty, yes, but so is the rest of Tassie and you don't have to get isolated to enjoy it.
P, you must be joking. If one is tired of life Bruny's perfect. DEAD.

hrv said...

Boring = bliss

sir grumpy said...

Boring is never bliss, HRV, Boring is the expression of feeling a lack of stimulation to the point of exasperation. Bruny personnified.
Now tranquility and peace can equal bliss, but not boring.
Boring always signifies a BAD feeling.

Rita said...

Thanks LT - I'm sorry you weren't able to come along too.
Sir G - you seem to be getting more and more grumpy! I agree with you in your opinion about Bruny, as that has been my opinion till recently. I have always found Bruny exactly as you expressed - boring as batshit! I remember spending Easter 1966 there with some friends in their shack (and listening to the Stones latest song 'Ruby Tuesday' on the transistor!!) and thinking to myself if I ever returned there in my whole lifetime it would be too soon!
But, as with many things in life, change has happened there; people from the wider world have arrived. There are now things to do and see there. There are things to eat there. Great things. Class acts.
Please don't dismiss it willy nilly without first giving me the benefit of the doubt.

sir grumpy said...

It was so bad, Rita, I thought we'd missed and reached Macquarie Island by mistake.
We got hassled by a ranger over our dog. The pub was lousy. A curry at a local store that does eats was microwaved from the dead and just awful.
The cows and sheep were noisy early and the possum shit was all over our shack porch, garden and paths.
There was NOTHING to do after looking at the amazing Adventure Bay. Only one place to eat Moorella (where one day we ate brunch, late lunch and dinner).
It was a couple of years ago. It can't have changed that much.
Talk about League of Gentlemen? Scary place.

Rita said...

Sir G - I promise you, it HAS changed. These new industries are there now. There is stuff to do there now, apart from looking at the beautiful scenery, and feeling the peace and tranquility. You can spend a lovely day there, eating and drinking, and chatting to these people. Morella is no more. It was sold to new people, and they have renamed it. Life has moved on since you were there.
Don't take the dog (just this once). Don't go to the pub. Don't get curry from the local shop.
Have oysters, and cheese and fresh-baked wood-fired oven bread, and fudge and wine. Have a picnic on a beach there. Then come back on the ferry. It's idyllic! You might fall in love again!

sir grumpy said...

Oh, if you say so.

Anonymous said...

Rita, please put Sir G on your next bus trip to Bruny and show him what the place is all about!

And also of course show him the serenity of the place! So much serenity, I think it was invented there.


the Gobbler said...

Sir G, you still complainin?

Anonymous said...

Bruny might have changed Gobbler, but Sir G's sure hasn't.

Anonymous said...

The one and only time I visited Bruny it was a Monday in January. Was so looking forward to visiting some of the places you mentioned but everything was closed with the exception of a place called The Hot House (I Think) - the people who ran it were really rude. Have never felt the inclination to go back as the Island seemed so unwelcoming.

the last slice said...

God, the master of PR has now sucked up to the rural Victorian chef gardener icon George Biron with a free delivery of cheese to which he's responded with a tribute post, which I feel is beneath him.
In these days of style over substance & gaining an inch or second of media coverage, whilst the creditors bay, this cheese maker rules supreme & leaves me wondering, does sleep come easy at night?

Anonymous said...

It looks like it.

Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

The last slice.

You may have seen on my site that I have no ads not google stuff and also I have stated that anyone or any product that is mentioned on the site has no commercial arrangement to us in any way.
I was so excited to see and taste the Bruny island cheeses that I am more than happy to spread the Love. A little perspective is needed: what little influence that I may have, I gladly use to promote anything that I believe is worth tasting.
I just tasted the new Bannockburn wines and I can also say that they are out of this world.
I do understand that spin is everywhere and as such I enter into no commercial arrangements with any company but reserve the right to express my opinions.

all the best whoever you are