JCU: Climate Concern is Driving Migration to Cold Tasmania

Essay by Eric Worrall

One of the interviewed migrants cites a power failure during a heatwave as being a motivating factor.

James Cook University study finds climate change a big factor in moving to Tasmania.

By Duncan Bailey
September 25 2022 – 4:30am

Climate change is motivating more Australians to move to Tasmania, a new study finds.

Westbury resident Amy Dillon said the decision was for the betterment of her children.

“I think that for young families, we’re the ones with the kids who are looking to the future and with everything that has happened like the floods and bushfires in the past 10 years; it’s terrifying,” she said.

“If you’re paying attention and you’re worried about your children’s future you’re going to make choices based on that.”

Melbourne resident Jane Gardner bought a house in Launceston this year, and said the decision to move was made during the peak of the Black Summer bushfires in 2019.

“I had a newborn and the mercury was creeping close to 49 degrees. The power went out in my suburb, and it was too smoky to go outside.

“We were sitting in the bath trying to stay cool and I realised I didn’t want to do something like this anymore.”

“I’ve got a four-year-old and I’m just thinking about him and where he can grow up where the summers are still relatively cool.

Read more (paywalled): https://www.examiner.com.au/story/7916998/more-people-migrating-to-tasmania-to-escape-extreme-heat-new-study-finds/

The abstract of the study;

The Summers Were Getting Hotter’: exploring motivations for migration to Tasmania away from mainland Australia.

Osbaldiston, Nick (2022) ‘The Summers Were Getting Hotter’: exploring motivations for migration to Tasmania away from mainland Australia. Australian Geographer. (In Press)

DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2022.2056963

View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1080/00049182.2022.20…


In recent times there has been a population turnaround in the island state of Tasmania sparked by an increase in in-migration of mainland urban dwellers. This paper argues that one of the major driving factors of this change is the quest for a new lifestyle in regional/rural life, that incorporates a desire for a temperate climate. As literature in lifestyle migration shows, this quest for a new life does not end once migration is over. Rather, the migration experience continues well after the move. In this paper, it will be shown how weather not only attracts migrants into Tasmania, but then encourages/discourages certain activities allowing the individual to engage in new ways of living. The paper suggests that while we need to be careful about romanticising this, we can potentially view this shift as emblematic of people’s relationship to climate change.

Read more (paywalled): https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/73399/

Tasmania, the coldest state in Australia, has a temperate oceanic climate. Summers are cool and winters relatively mild compared to cold places like the Northern USA or Canada. The Tasmanian climate is a lot like the climate in Southern England.

But Tasmania has its own problems. Home heating in cold Tasmania is a must during winter. Tasmania is blessed with abundant hydroelectric resources, but they sometimes have cold, dry years, during which energy is expensive and in short supply, just when you really need it.

I am fascinated by Melbourne Resident Jane Gardner’s description of enduring a 49C (120F) heatwave in Melbourne during a blackout, because concern about blackouts was an important part of my decision to migrate from England to Australia, though we reached very different conclusions about the best place to ride out the coming storm.

When I moved from England to Australia over a decade ago, I wasn’t worried about global warming, I was worried about spiralling energy costs and blackouts, about the coming energy crisis. It was obvious there was a risk energy would become unaffordable, because of the insane Western political fixation on renewables, and political hostility towards investment in reliables. So my big motivation in choosing a place to live was somewhere I could comfortably survive all year round, without needing lots of energy for heating or cooling.

My solution was the Fraser Coast of Queensland – cool enough in Summer so we could endure by opening a few windows, warm enough in winter that there was no risk to health if we had to ration home heating. Even though the Fraser Coast is much closer to the equator than Melbourne, the temperature rarely exceeds 35C (95F), unlike Melbourne, which suffers occasional Summer heatwaves where temperatures exceed 40C (104F).

While Tasmanian winters are milder than Northern US winters, I would love to know if Jane Gardner reconsiders her choice when she sees her first Tasmanian winter heating bill, or suffers a blackout on a freezing cold winter night. Though I suspect I already know the answer – the Fraser Coast has one of the highest immigration rates in Queensland.

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September 24, 2022 6:21 pm

Sadly, once you see the floppy-eared dog in Munch’s The Scream, it can’t be unseen.


Reply to  Bob Tisdale
September 25, 2022 3:52 am

“…it can’t be unseen….”

So kind of like catastrophic climate change then…

September 24, 2022 6:26 pm

My sone and his partner moved to Tasmania this year. The decision was based on what a dental graduate gets paid. My son locums in hospitals and can get work anywhere in Australia that now have embarrassingly high hourly rates.

They bought a property with reserve frontage to Bass Strait. It cost half of what would be required for residential suburban property in Melbourne.

They bought 3Cu.m of hardwood firewood for $300. That will last more than a year.

Reply to  RickWill
September 24, 2022 8:00 pm

If only climate change were true! – we could save or recycling and burn it during the mild winters. The summers would be roughly the same as now, co2 can only hold in heat not create it out of nothing.

Reply to  PCman999
September 25, 2022 12:50 am

CO2 cannot “hold in heat”.

Water vapour is the major “greenhouse” gas, and it leaves few gaps in the infrared spectrum for other gases to have any effect at all.

CO2 mainly absorbs outgoing longwave infrared radiation (heat) as photons at the 14.8 microns wavelength. (Planck’s Law)

The temperature of absorption at 14.8 microns is -80 degrees Celsius. (Wien’s Displacement Law and Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Radiation)

Minus 80 degrees Celsius is 95 degrees lower than average surface temperature and is found in the lower stratosphere, well above the troposphere where we live. 

Heat doesn’t flow from cold zones to hotter zones. (Second Law of Thermodynamics)

CO2 cannot “trap heat.” It merely delays outgoing infrared photons for a billionth of a second so high up in the atmosphere it’s irrelevant. It releases them at a less energetic frequency, and they continue on to outer space. 

Atmospheric CO2 is contingent upon seawater temperature. The hotter equatorial water is, the more CO2 it releases. Cold Arctic and Antarctic waters reabsorb it. (Henry’s Law)

Only the sun has the energy to heat 1.3 billion cubic kilometres of seawater. CO2 is a net coolant.

Last edited 2 months ago by Cardimona
Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  RickWill
September 24, 2022 8:28 pm

It’s cheap and boring. It rains 5 days out of seven. The most exciting thing I experienced here was chemotherapy.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
September 24, 2022 9:42 pm

Yes Alexy, I often contemplate my lot in life while “relaxing” in the chemo comfy chair.

I comfort myself by thinking –
Things could be worse. I could be living in Tasmania.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Mr.
September 24, 2022 10:14 pm

I had lymphoma, near death and needed blood transfusions. After 3 sessions of chemo, I improved. Clear of it for three and a half years. Good luck with your stuff.
Keep eating.

Last edited 2 months ago by Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
September 25, 2022 8:28 am

Thanks Alexy.
I’m hoping for a break-through, but no signs of it happening yet after 12 sessions.

ps – I’ve enjoyed my 5 explorations of Tassie immensely.

Reply to  RickWill
September 24, 2022 9:12 pm

I believe this was the main reason why folks from Victoria and NSW shifted to Tasmania – the house prices. However, prices in Hobart, the state’s capital, have skyrocketed recently. And their Hydro water reserves had dropped to 38%. So it’s not all beer and skittles down there.

Reply to  RickWill
September 25, 2022 12:01 am

Are you sure that they aren’t moving to cooler Tasmania not because of climate change, but because of brownouts when the weather gets hot, and you can’t turn on your AC?
Which would be the result of relying on renewables rather than fossil fuels:

One of the interviewed migrants cites a power failure during a heatwave as being a motivating factor.

Last edited 2 months ago by purecolorartist@gmail.com
September 24, 2022 7:58 pm

My gorgeous Indonesian ex-fiance says the summers in Southern Ontario (roughly 42-43°N) are hotter than what she experienced back home near Jakarta (8°S) – elevation helps a lot, she’s actually from more than half way up to Bogar which is in the mountains.

Reply to  PCman999
September 25, 2022 4:53 pm

Bogar is a nice place with an acceptance of different religions.

September 24, 2022 8:17 pm

Hate to break the news to Jane, but it can still get hot in Tasmania from December through to March where temps can get up to 40 degrees C. Which is also the peak time for our fire season. As most of the island is bush, wild fires are a regular event here. In saying that the La Nina’s have kept big fires away for the last couple of years.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  aussiecol
September 24, 2022 8:38 pm

I’ve been here for four years. Never got close to 40. The locals tell me that summer is between February 3-6. I tend to agree.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
September 25, 2022 12:06 am

I’ve been here for 66 years. Wait a year or two and you might change your mind Alexy. The last few years have been mild summers.

Reply to  aussiecol
September 24, 2022 9:44 pm

Literally baked into my memory are the Tassie summers of the mid ‘90s. Heat was on par with the mainland. Hasn’t been anything near that since the turn of the millenium.

September 24, 2022 9:18 pm

I wonder what Jane does for work? Probably on welfare … Tasmania is ‘popular’ with retirees and unemployed … quiet life and less chance of getting work. However, most retirees come to Queensland where it is warmer, like the Florida migration.

Reply to  Streetcred
September 24, 2022 9:46 pm

From what I’ve seen of Tassie locals, tattoos must be free, and compulsory, right?

Reply to  Mr.
September 24, 2022 11:53 pm

Yes indeed, and for the men as well.

Reply to  Mr.
September 25, 2022 12:10 am

”Tassie locals, tattoos must be free, and compulsory, right?”

Only if they are Collingwood supporters.

Reply to  aussiecol
September 25, 2022 8:33 am

Is absence of teeth also compulsory for Collingwood supporters?

Reply to  Mr.
September 25, 2022 1:04 pm

Just joking, just like I’m sure you were as well.

September 24, 2022 9:19 pm

According to BoM Melbourne Airport highest 46.8C. Melbourne Regional Office highest 46.4C. Really, really close to 49C. It was 45.6 back in 1939.

Last edited 2 months ago by leefor
Reply to  lee
September 24, 2022 9:48 pm

Those temps prevailed for about 3 hours until the mid-afternoon Southerly change moved in.

September 24, 2022 9:27 pm

I’ve been down here in tas 11 years, from WA. Moved mainly for work but also for the mountains. We get a summer dry between Nov and March with reduced rainfall and increased temps, normally not much over 30 max for a week or 2 but humid. Heating is cheapest with a fire snd most older houses (with poor insulation) have on going 24/7 in winter. Electric heating is expensive. The biggest problem with moving from the mainland is the economy with few jobs compared to the big states. If you can get in work its a nice place with only 500,000 odd people in the state which is nice. Winters are cool/cold and could benefit from a few degrees of warming. The mainland is hot and nothing to do with climate change, it has always been so. I think it was Oonadata in South Australia that holds the record for 100 days at 100 degrees back in the 30s.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  TasChas
September 25, 2022 4:54 am

“I think it was Oonadata in South Australia that holds the record for 100 days at 100 degrees back in the 30s.”

That’s quite a record. I thought the 65 days Oklahoma had over 100F during 1936 Dust Bowl was exceptional, but 100 days beats that. 🙂

And as we see again, it was just as warm in the Early Twentieth Century as it is today, all over the world.

This year, Oklahoma (Tulsa) had 27 days of 100F or higher. The average is about 11 days for a summer. This year we barely cracked the 105F level. Back in 1936, the temperatures were running at 110F to 115F. It’s cooler now than then.

Lewis P Buckingham
September 24, 2022 9:48 pm

Every year my aunts would write from England that they had survived the winter.
If they were alive today with the power outages they would be worse off.
One wonders at the significance of the findings by JCU.
Young people are leaving Tasmania and the demographic is aging fast, to its detriment.
The person quoted does not reflect international migration to Tasmania which is paltry.
Statistically, like that single bristlecone tree in Yamal, she looks like an outlier.

September 24, 2022 10:50 pm

Clearly the extreme left have been correct all along.

They predicted the rise in climate refugees and in Jane we have proof

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Redge
September 25, 2022 4:58 am

Jane is running from an imaginary climate change problem.

The Climate Change Liars must be so proud of themselves. This unreasoned panic is just what they want. It was their goal.

Jeremy Poynton
September 24, 2022 11:28 pm

Of course, weather and temperatures like this have never before been recorded in Oz, a land known to all, as anyone who has been in the outback can attest to, by a perfect temperate clime, with frequent showers and balmy winds.


That said, I have a mate in Tassy who loves it. He fled the freezing winters of New York. A true climate migrant 😉

September 25, 2022 12:44 am

People move to Tasmania because realestate is relatively cheap. If you really wish to have a small “carbon footprint” Northern Rivers in Ne South Wales of just north on the Gold Coast is an option. No need for heating or cooling. Rarely have bushfires and there is good land to grow your own crops etc. solar panels will generate most of your electricity. Water tanks will collect most of the water you need.

Reply to  Rasa
September 25, 2022 3:59 am

Greens in the ground and living on the ground.

Reply to  Rasa
September 25, 2022 8:43 am

Tassie has the highest unemployment rate of any State or Territory … wonder why real-estate is cheap. You can afford to buy a house there but unless you are self employed you might struggle 🙂

Peta of Newark
September 25, 2022 12:44 am

Yeah right girl, I believe you. Thousands wouldn’t but I do.

Meanwhile; you vacant ill-educated and unobservant ‘woman‘ ..
…..Simply take a look around you, all around the entire world, or ‘globe’ if you prefer to notice that almost every large centre of population is beside a large body of water.
People like living near water because it confers a stable, temperate, predictable and ‘nice’ climate.
Exactly what you, Amy The Dim-One, describe and your modus operandi here

OK, lets throw this wide open. Please confer amongst yourselves and then:
Tell the assembled throng why folks do not migrate to or live near ‘Large Bodies of Carbon Dioxide’

PS: I Have Never Asked A More Serious Question here
Answers on a postcard please although actually, just the back of the stamp would suffice.

another ian
September 25, 2022 12:52 am

There are various reasons and here is one –

The brother I mentioned in the comment that seems to have gone ack willie moved from owning a London W2 address and a weekender farm house in Normandy back here and settled in Tasmania.

In conversation one day I said

“Wouldn’t happen that Tasmania looks like Normandy would it?”

He chuckled and said “It does, you know”.

September 25, 2022 12:55 am

The Australian Football League planned to start a team in Tasmania. The trial games were a huge success. Each game there were 50,000 attending the stadium. Unfortunately it was not financially viable as they only sold one Family Pass……

[snip, second half of joke seemed overtly racist. may not have been and in that case I apologize. I will admit to lacking cultural context-mod]

September 25, 2022 1:20 am

“I would love to know if Jane Gardner reconsiders her choice when she sees her first Tasmanian winter heating bill”

She is a leftie, they feel good paying a large bill for energy, deep down they know thats what their pollicies lead to and think its a necesary cost to save the planet. Their to deep down the rabit hole to see any contradiction in that.

a happy little debunker
September 25, 2022 3:02 am

Tasmania became a destination for a number of factors

  1. Cheaper real estate (although that now is not a reason)
  2. Economic conditions, Tassie has been the best performing state since before the pandemic began according to the Commbank ratings
  3. During the Pandemic remote working became normalized and many took advantage.
  4. Lifestyle – the best food, contemporary culture & access to services have all vastly improved over the last 20 years

I watched from work as Tourist numbers swelled between 2010 & the Pandemic – Tassie became the destination of choice whilst being ranked amongst the top 5 islands in the world to own your second or third home, right behind enclaves like ‘Martha’s Vineyard’.

Lonely planet regularly has rated Tassie over the last 12 years

I meet more and more people every summer, down the beach – that summer in Tassie then return home to summer in the US/Canada.

A couple that I know moved to Tassie from Brisbane 3 years ago – to get away from the ‘heat’ – only to discover that Tassie summers can get as bad as mainland summers, but Tassie winters will still give the unsuspecting sunburn on 10C days.

Climate change has nothing to do with it…

September 25, 2022 3:09 am

The Tasmanian climate is a lot like the climate in Southern England.…

Poor sods!

September 25, 2022 3:57 am

I have travelled to beautiful Tasmania many times during my business life and since in retirement, I had a conversation with a motel owner on a more recent visit about the Greens and he told me that their main supporters are retired from the mainland people who donate to the Greens and barrack for them stopping those annoying commercial activities that interrupt their peace and quiet.

Reply to  Dennis
September 25, 2022 8:44 am

You mean like Greens founder Bob Brown who objected mightily when a wind farm was proposed that Bob would be able to see from his bush retreat?

I hope he named his property –

September 25, 2022 3:58 am

“We were sitting in the bath trying to stay cool and I realised I didn’t want to do something like this anymore.”

Good choice…not many Tasmanians have a bath!

Reply to  Stanley
September 25, 2022 8:45 am

With the highest unemployment rate in Australia they can’t afford one.

September 25, 2022 5:07 am

Extremely uninteresting yet paywalled. Oh well.

Patrick Peake
September 25, 2022 6:15 am

If I recall correctly, Tasmania had such terrible bush fires one year that every able bodied man in the state was ordered to help put them out. Ash fell in the state capital Hobart. Someone can probably tell us when that was.

Alison Schwabe
Reply to  Patrick Peake
September 25, 2022 3:11 pm
  1. Not only was ash falling in Hobart – the fires penetrated the city limits in several areas to within 5km of the central business district and main post office.
September 25, 2022 6:23 am

I lived and went to college in north Idaho several decades ago. We had craploads of California “refugees” move up there in the summers … only to see most of them move back to California come January.

September 25, 2022 7:25 am

So where is the best place to live, some place where the elections are honest and politicians have to work for the vote.

Richard Page
Reply to  Olen
September 25, 2022 8:30 am

Thats a tough question. Might take a while to think of an answer, a very long while.

Reply to  Olen
September 25, 2022 8:46 am

Russia is offering free citizenship and you get free travel to a foreign country.

Andy Pattullo
September 25, 2022 8:48 am

Wasn’t James Cook once a real university? When did they become a carnival side show?

Rod W
September 26, 2022 2:52 am

People who believe in CAGW migrating to Tasmania, huh?

This story has uncanny similarities to the useless people the Golgafrinchans loaded on the B Ark.

[Apologies to Douglas Adams]

James Schrumpf
September 26, 2022 1:09 pm

I regret to say that no American can hear the word “Tasmania” without thinking of this. It really doesn’t do justice to the Warner Bros. animated version, though.

September 26, 2022 1:56 pm

I can tell anyone its been bloody hot in Australia since theres been Australia. The only difference is the humidity once you get up past Mackay on the east coast. Most folks go to Tassie thinking they’ll open a hobby farm in retirement or whatever and enjoy the novelty of having a fireplace etc.

Reply to  Voltoron
September 27, 2022 3:05 pm

The winters in North Australia are cooling. Where I live on the Tropic of Capricorn, people are putting in wood fire places, or outside fire pits. They were few and far between 15 years ago.

September 27, 2022 4:47 am

Net migration over the last year for Tasmania is only about 400 people…… outbound.


The State which has been gaining is Queensland in the warmer North.

Another piece of quality work from JCU.

September 27, 2022 2:42 pm

Queensland, in subtropical/tropical North Australia is facing a housing crisis. A major contributing factor is climate policy. With a well planned well located house, you rarely need heating or cooling. It rarely has brownouts for now.
The southerners from Victoria are moving up in droves. While politicians are busy driving climate change policy, the nation is moving, running from policy impacts destroying our coal base load infrastructure. .

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