REAL AUSTRALIA

Lessons from the life of Brian Inders

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by The Advocate journalist Lachlan Bennett in Burnie.

REST IN PEACE: Tasmanian tourism entrepreneur Brian Inder at his business Tasmazia.

REST IN PEACE: Tasmanian tourism entrepreneur Brian Inder at his business Tasmazia.

Tourism can be a lucrative lifeline for regional communities grappling with the decline of traditional industries but to make it work you need people who are visionary, passionate and a little bit crazy.

People like Brian Inder, who spent three decades building the delightfully bizarre mega maze and model village Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot.

Everything this eccentric entrepreneur did was dedicated to creating opportunities in his home of North-West Tasmania, even if that meant battling bureaucrats or taking the piss out of Donald Trump.

The 88-year-old left this world for "Upper Crackpot" last month but his life provides an invaluable lesson for any town wanting to jump into the tourist trade.

Brian was a man who realised communities must harness whatever resources they have to create opportunities, be it a breathtaking mountain landscape or blank walls that could provide the foundation for an internationally renowned arts festival.

Tasmazia's Brian Inder can't believe his tourist attraction placed third in TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards in 2013.

Tasmazia's Brian Inder can't believe his tourist attraction placed third in TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards in 2013.

It's a lesson not lost on the South Australian couple who plan to transform a deserted hospital into a five-star hotel or the Burnie councillor out to prove you don't need to be an inner-city hipster to launch a street art festival.

These types of initiatives require communities to reconsider everything they know about their hometown in order to discover missed opportunities and untapped assets.

Lake Macquarie woman Linda Dipper did this when she tapped into a resource that had satiated our First Nations people for 50,000 years: bush tucker.

 Native wildlife - the western bearded lizard, the mallee fowl, the thigh-spotted tree frog and the red-tailed phascogale - on silos at Newdegate. Mural: Brenton See/Photo: Bewley Shaylor/FORM

Native wildlife - the western bearded lizard, the mallee fowl, the thigh-spotted tree frog and the red-tailed phascogale - on silos at Newdegate. Mural: Brenton See/Photo: Bewley Shaylor/FORM

Towns across the country are also realising gargantuan concrete silos are not eyesores but blank canvasses for massive murals.

Opportunities are everywhere if you know how to look. You can start small by taking this crash course on building an AirBnB or take a leap and buy your very own ski resort.

It's worth remembering tourism is not a silver bullet out of economic hardship - it can be just as volatile as the mining industry.

But take heed of the life of Brian and take a chance, have a dream and know that sometimes the best ideas are a little bit crazy.

Lachlan Bennett

journalist, The Advocate

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