Rev Dennis Cousens has spent most of his life in Hobart, only an hour’s drive from the Midlands of Tasmania, but he will soon get to know the region and its people far more personally.
Dennis is the new Frontier Services Midlands Patrol Minister. His mandate is to provide pastoral and practical support to people living in the Patrol, which extends across the Midlands, Great Lakes and Central Highlands of Tasmania.
He looks forward to exploring the region and getting to know the people.
“I was born and bred in Hobart and so the communities of the Midlands are all very familiar places, but now I will have the opportunity to explore them in a new way,” says Dennis.
Dennis will be based in Oatlands and travel to Ross, Bothwell and Campbell Town as well as the surrounding communities and properties.
While Tasmania is home for Dennis and his wife Sally, they come to the Midlands direct from outback south west Queensland where Dennis was the Cunnamulla Patrol Minister for Frontier Services for five years. His patch in Queensland was two and a half times the size of Tasmania.
The distances he travels in the Midlands will be smaller but his presence for people in isolated and remote places will be just as important.
“My time in Cunnamulla really highlighted the gift of a Patrol Minister is to be there for all people, irrespective of their religious background or denomination. It is all about relationships, not your banner. It is just being alongside people.”
He looked forward to touching base with people and getting to know their needs.
“This time of year it is very quiet in these smaller communities. There is very little local employment. People also face ever increasing costs to maintain pastoral land and the drought has struck here quite heavily.”
“At the same time, the people are resilient. When it rains, or the wool prices are up, they celebrate. They may have experienced years of drought, but they do not get caught up in that. They rejoice in the moment.”
Dennis replaces Rev Meg Evans who finished up in April after 10 years as Midlands Patrol Minister.
He will be formally inducted as the Midlands Patrol Minister on Thursday, 5 September.