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Emily Conolan(Tasmania)

Humanitarian, Author and 2014 Tasmanian Australian of the Year Finalist

Emily Conolan

Attending event:

Location: 1 Albert Street, Oatlands, Tasmania, Australia

Southern Midlands Council - Australia Day Presentation

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In April 2011, Emily Conolan heard the news that an asylum seeker detention centre would be opening in Tasmania. As an English as a Second Language teacher for refugee youth, Emily understood the challenges faced by asylum seekers and wanted to express the warmth, generosity and open mindedness of the Hobart community. And so, the Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support (TASS) Network was born.

TASS went on to provide hundreds of 'buddy visits' to asylum seekers, linking members of the Hobart community to asylum seeker detainees who had requested a visitor. TASS also provided free community training in cross-cultural awareness and mental health for all its volunteers, and ran numerous gatherings, concerts, workshops and classes both in detention and for asylum seekers in the community. For her role in founding TASS, Emily was awarded Hobart Citizen of the Year, Tasmanian of the Year, and the Tasmanian Human Rights Award. She was also shortlisted for Australian of The Year and the Pride of Australia award.

TASS still exists, but Emily is no longer at the helm. These days, she is pursuing a long-held dream to be a writer. Her series for children, 'The Freedom Finders', explores Australian immigration stories from colonisation to the present day, and will be published by Allen and Unwin in 2018.