The Connections Between Us

Nov 3

At a BBQ or dinner party, when Hobartians meet for the first time, you play the name game. It doesn’t take long to find out how you’re connected.

In our interviews, you spoke of this with delight. It’s unusual for a city of this size – a capital city that feels as connected as a small town.

Then we asked, “What can you do with these extraordinary connections?”

Some of you already see the massive potential of this. When you know the right people, you can reunite a lost dog with its owners or rally a backyard working bee. If you have an idea, or a problem to solve, you can contact all the right people — from plumbers to politicians — and begin work immediately.

Others, most of you, sat in silence for a moment.

“I’ve never thought of that before.”

This quality of connection can be a monster of negativity. It can amplify complaints into a great symphony. It can create a ‘boys club’ culture, or become a ‘two-headed-Tasmanian’ insult. It can make those that feel less connected, like those who aren’t part of the majority culture, feel less welcome.

But if we use it as a positive force, it becomes a major public asset in Hobart and across Tasmania. It’s already the secret behind some of your favourite businesses, places and events, a happy blend of competition and cooperation. The success of the city is everyone’s success. You help and influence one another, despite your differences.

“When you go to a party here, you almost always leave with some new connection or project you didn’t expect,” one of you said. “It wasn’t like that in Melbourne. It couldn’t be. I think I’m more creative here than I was there.”

So how can we encourage the ‘good’ of our connectedness, while managing the ‘bad’?

Many of you spoke of park benches, cafes, pubs – gathering places where unlikely conversations become natural. Others saw the need for inclusive entertainment, community groups and events.

Instead of avoiding Elizabeth Street Mall on a Friday night after six, what can you and your friends and neighbours do to make the atmosphere more welcoming? You spoke of night markets, street performers and pop-up theatre.

The ideas are already there. It’s easy to wait for other people to do it for us, but what if we could do it ourselves?

What can you do, with your talents and connections, to improve Hobart?