“Bruny is a special place”

It’s a simple thing to say, yet we say it all the time! For us locals, it has a myriad of meanings. We say it to celebrate our good fortune to be born here, or the wise choice to make this place our home. Sometimes, the statement is tinged with irony, a wry dig at the quirkiness of life on the Island. Other times, it’s said in sheer wonder at the beauty of the land and sea.

It’s something that means different things to every Bruny Islander – whether a permanent resident, or a holiday shack owner. It could describe resilience, ingenuity, and stewardship over generations. Or a rallying cry for environmental protection. An itch in the fingers for recreational fishers. A callout for wildlife enthusiasts. A value-add for property investments. A five-star review on Airbnb. A chance for financial independence. A platitude after missing the ferry. Wistful musing after a long weekend at the shack. A statement of significance for Indigenous Tasmanians.

And it could just be a purely factual statement about Bruny’s demographics, which are most definitely out-of-the-ordinary. Ready for some stats? Our permanent population of 813 (2016 Census) has a median age of 59 (the national median age is 37); only 13% are under the age of 25 (the national figure is 31%); just 37% of people are in the workforce (the average for the rest of the country is over 60%); there is 82% home ownership (the national average is only about 65%); two-thirds of dwellings on the Island are not permanently occupied because they are ‘holiday shacks’ or short-stay accommodation (the national proportion is 11%); and only around 68% of households access the internet from home, when across Australia the figure is 83%. Even the calm and measured people from the Australian Bureau of Statistics might say, completely objectively of course, ‘Bruny is a special place’.

We also have special challenges. To ensure that Bruny remains a special place into the future, we understand that we have unique factors to manage and that Bruny is special to each of us in different ways. It’s a challenge that requires looking for common ground, defining priorities and developing shared solutions. And that’s what organisations such as the Bruny Island Community Association and local community groups try to do.

But most of all, we love calling Bruny Island our home.