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Pursue the extraordinary.

Michael Duncan highlights the power of Brand Tasmania's campaign and wonders how Gippsland or Gippslandia can achieve similarly.

Sep 14, 2022


Words: Michael Duncan
Images: Supplied

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Edition number 23… it feels as though every edition is a milestone and when I was told by our editor, Tim Leeson, that we’re going to take on the theme of the ‘Greatest of All Time’, I got a little excited.

I’ve grown up loving sports, and there have been an uncanny amount of #23s that have simply dominated their sports and gone on to become the GOAT: names like Michael Jordan, Shane Warne, Buddy Franklin, Dermott Brereton, LeBron James (note: he’s mentioned further down the list than Jordan), even David Beckham swapped to 23 out of his love and admiration for Jordan – it’s a number that should be celebrated.

The fascination with 23 and sport is one thing, but incorporating that into our publication is another. After all, many of our readers don’t share the same passion. If we were to focus on being ‘the greatest’, then I’d argue that everyone is great in their own right. As Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Wow. It’s powerful and they’re living it.

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Since we started this publication, we’ve shared countless stories and connected many people, groups and businesses. We’ve constantly celebrated the greatness of so many. So, what makes this edition any different? I suppose the answer lies in the 53 pages that precede this one.

Our greatness individually, as a region and as Australians, is something that we generally hide away from, rather than celebrate. It’s a shame. Our role in developing Gippslandia is to make it the best it can be – to strive for greatness. So, for this article, I thought I’d take a look at something great, a possible inspiration for our region and this publication. It’s something that I’ve been aware of this campaign for quite a while, but recently became totally engrossed in it. It’s the incredible work of Brand Tasmania.

After an early morning departure with a good friend who’s returning to his home state, we boarded the Spirit of Tasmania before arriving in Devonport and commencing our journey to Hobart. The entire trip was filled with good friends, beautiful surroundings, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), eating oysters and falling in love with everything Tasmanian.

Tasmania is all that I love about Australia. They punch well and truly above their weight in all that they do: food, the arts and even the sporting arenas.

It’s fulfilling its potential. A similar potential to the one we have here in Gippsland too. One I’m hopeful that we will realise.

I marvelled at the consistency in which the state is marketed. So, when arriving home, I decided to dig a little deeper and found myself on tasmanian.com.au. Take a look. It’s developed by Brand Tasmania, whose mission is to inspire and encourage Tasmanians, and those who want to be Tasmanian, to quietly pursue the extraordinary.

Wow. It’s powerful and they’re living it.

Our team are constantly discussing where Gippslandia could and should go. What’s the bigger picture? It’s a question that has endless responses. We know there’s a missing piece and an important role to play between the government and the private sector. Brand Tasmania is a great benchmark to aspire to and launch beyond.

Gippslandia is probably already halfway there. We’ve got the purpose, content and, as many of our followers would attest, we’re creating a brand that celebrates our great region.

So how do we go from this to that, proud Gippslandians? It’s a big question, but we’ve already got the t-shirts made. I think the answer lies in the subtlety of their ‘how’.

For quite some time, our local reference point seemed to be Geelong and their G21 strategy: “the formal alliance of government, business and community organisations working together.” This has done a lot to propel their region. It’s been good, but Brand Tasmania is world-class.

There is a fine difference in their existence: “Brand Tasmania is industry and community-led, and government enabled.”

To me, when it comes to promoting a region in its entirety, the above approach is key, and what's promising from our viewpoint is that this is exactly the approach adopted by Gippslandia. It’s authentic and genuine.

The entire team working on Gippslandia are world-class with varied backgrounds and perspectives – our design and curation are often commented on. What’s missing? Where’s that gap between Gippslandia and Brand Tasmania? Aside from one being an entire state with a significant budget.

To get to their level, we’d need to pull together our friends at Destination Gippsland, Invest Gippsland, Food & Fibre Gippsland and others in the education sector, such as Federation University, TAFE Gippsland and the Gippsland Community Leadership Program and represent ourselves collectively as a place to live, grow, study and invest, much like tasmanian.com.au.

Dreaming of greatness and bringing it to reality is where the challenge lies, but we can take inspiration from the Apple Isle. After all, we're very similar, but you don't need a plane or boat to get here.

All we need to do is connect with people and show them what we've always had, starting with Gippslandians and people who wish they were.


If there is something in particular that you wish to know or discuss, please get in touch and I’ll either address it here in a future column or via email at md@gippslandia.com.au.

Gippslandia - Issue No. 23

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