Friday 2 – Saturday 31 August 2013
“It started as rioting. But right from the beginning you knew this was different. Because it was happening in small villages, market towns. And then it wasn’t on the TV any more. It was in the street outside. It was coming in through your windows. It was a virus. An infection. You didn’t need a doctor to tell you that. It was the blood. It was something in the blood. By the time they tried to evacuate the cities it was already too late… ” – Selena, 28 Days Later (2002)
Tasmania is an island. It is small, isolated and safe. Above all, safe. The threats of the world, war, nuclear weapons, disease, none will touch us here. Particularly disease. Our quarantine measures stopped the most notorious disease in history, the Bubonic Plague (the Black Death), from reaching the shores of Tasmania in 1900. If we can stop that, we can stop anything. Tasmania is safe.
This may be true if we are looking for threats from beyond Bass Straight. But what if the true threat is from inside our borders, not out?
What if the infection originates here?
What if it has already begun?…
Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) originated in Tasmania, with the first reports of infection in 1996. The disease has since wiped out approximately 80% of the Tasmanian Devil population and breeding programs have been established throughout Tasmania, Australia and the world to preserve the Tasmanian Devil. There is no known cure. There is no known cause. We are still searching…
What if, like DFTD, the zombie plague originated in Tasmania? What if they are one-in-the-same? Both diseases are spread by bites. Is it a question of ‘who bit who’ first?
Perhaps there is something stirring in the wilds of Tasmania, in the uninhabited terrain, in the dark forests so feared by the early settlers. Perhaps this is the cause of DFTD: some ‘poor devil’ feasting on infected carrion, a dead or ‘un-dead’ thing. Does this explain the lost bushwalkers? Are those who return unknowing ‘carriers’ of the disease?
Will our false sense of security, our belief in the safety of our island home, be our ultimate un-doing? How long will we wait before we take DFTD seriously? Will it take a horde of the undead, stumbling out of the forest (like hungry Alexander Pearce) before we realise… the infection is already here.