Carol Altmann – The Terrier
Ahoy there from the good ship Terrier and a Happy New Year + 17 days!
What lies ahead for The Terrier in 2021? New voices, a new project and tackling unfinished business.
I spent the summer break recovering from last year, which was exhausting and exacting and yet full of so much change, and also thinking a lot about this year.
After much thinking and sleeping and walking and talking and more thinking, I am ready for a year of diving deep into unfinished business and setting sail into new waters.
There are a couple of important stories that remain unfinished for me.
These stories take time, often a very long time, and I never know for sure where they might end, but I always know when I have reached the end, and I am not there yet.
There is also unfinished council business from last year, including the sacking of former Warrnambool City Council chief Peter Schneider, which goes before the Supreme Court on 1 February to determine if he was denied natural justice and should be reinstated.
Running alongside this is the Local Government Inspectorate investigation into the acting WCC CEO Vicki King being re-hired – by delegation – for another five years to her old job.
The outcome of both cases has the potential to change the face of the new council, and will tie off – one way or the other – the shadow that has lingered over 25 Liebig St since July last year when Mr Schneider was given the boot.
I plan to share other voices, including that of Jim Burke, who many of you will remember ran in the WCC election. Jim is a long-time council watcher and a guy with an overflowing bookshelf and a brain to match.
Jim will continue to write on his own Facebook page about council issues and analyse what it all means for Warrnambool with the intelligence and insight that comes from watching every council meeting, and poring over the hundreds of pages of documents that lie behind every worthwhile story.
I am rapt that Jim has agreed to let me share his work as the new council is given a chance to settle and find its feet.
There are other writers I also hope to bring into the fold to help me tackle other unfinished business, such as the $40 million Wannon Water treatment plant upgrade near Thunder Point which has been on pause since the EPA responded to public concerns and demanded a raft of extra information.
I hope in 2021 that The Terrier can be a platform for many voices, not just my own, as we continue to dig into the issues and ask the hard questions and keep pressing for answers.
I also have a new project, which is actually a project I have been quietly working on for years, but this year it will finally come to the surface – the restoration of Alf Altmann’s kayak and my revisiting his journey for a book that I have been wanting to write for at least a decade.
Alf was my uncle who, in 1970, attempted to be the first person to row solo from Tasmania to Victoria in a kayak he built by hand here in Warrnambool. He nearly made it, drowning just 1.5 miles offshore from the Gippsland Lakes.
I now have his kayak and this year it will be restored by boatbuilder Garry Stewart in Port Fairy and, thanks to Dean Montgomery, will eventually be displayed in the Warrnambool Motor Museum at the former Fletcher Jones factory.
So this year I will also be spending some time in Tasmania, building and writing a story that is worth telling.
My younger brother and artist, Graeme Altmann, has donated one of his incredible “steam punk junk ships” (pictured above) to help me raise funds for the restoration which I will be documenting here. You will have a chance to own this gorgeous boat and be a part of this story.
Welcome to Terrier 2021.
It is so great to have you on board.