Spiders, innovation and encouragement

Tasmania, and Launceston in particular, has always been known for its strong culture of innovation.

In 1847 a Launceston hospital became the first to successfully use anesthesia during a surgical operation.

Our city’s sewerage system is also on the list of Tasmanian innovations. In 1860 Launceston was just the third city in the world to put its system underground.

We were also the first city in the southern hemisphere to be powered by hydro electricity from the Duck Reach Power Station in 1895. And everyone knows that Launcestonians founded Melbourne.

So it should not be surprising that the team who captured the stunning images of a spider the size of a dinner plate are Tasmanian.

Sixteen Legs was predominantly filmed in Northern Tasmania and its award-winning cinematography is grabbing the world’s attention. Many of the images previously captured of the cave spider did not show its true nature because the arachnids freeze when exposed to torchlight.

Not only did the crew have to find innovative ways to film but their work took place in some of Australia's deepest caves.

“This would be one of the biggest and most significant individual film productions ever made in Tassie and it’s a real showcase of Tasmanian ingenuity in terms of actually getting the footage and being able to compete on the world stage against the BBC and National Geographic,” Bookend Trust director Dr Niall Doran told The Examiner.

“The fact that the National Geographic actually picked the documentary up is a real plus for what we are doing.”

According to Dr Doran this story is just the tip of the iceberg and there are many more unusual and weird tales to tell.

The effort over four years to bring this documentary to life speaks volumes about the tenacity these filmmakers possess.

They are a shining example of Tasmanians developing and then utilising their skills in innovative ways.

We should not just celebrate the achievements of those around us but be inspired by them and follow in their footsteps.

Maybe not literally, as this writer is unlikely to be found caving, but it is a welcome reminder to think outside the box.

We should not be afraid to challenge ourselves and we should always support others in their endeavours.

After all, who knows what we could come up with.