On the ground

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  • Published 20070306
  • ISBN: 9780733320569
  • Extent: 280 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

GLENN MACGREGOR’S HOUSE has stunning river and mountain views, neatly netted fig trees in the garden, and a collection of cars including a Volvo and a Mercedes parked in the driveway. What do you assume about Glenn? What if I also mention he’s a long-term resident of Bridgewater, a satellite suburb on the far north-eastern edge of Hobart that was built as a public housing broad-acre estate in the 1970s?

That mixed bag of facts won’t gel for readers in Hobart. With its neighbouring estate, Gagebrook, Bridgewater has long been on the far wrong side of the tracks. These suburbs are notorious for scoring low on qualifications, skills, literacy, employment and income, and high on welfare dependency, substance abuse, crime, teenage pregnancy and family breakdown. In a state which has lagged behind the nation on many of these indicators, these estates have lagged behind the state.

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