Tasmanian Association of Laboratory Managers


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TALM Professional Development Day

Professional Learning Day

Thursday 24th November, 9.00 to 4.00pm

Ross Town Hall, Ross.

Booking link: https://www.trybooking.com/CDWEJ.

$45 for TALM members and $55 for non-members. Includes morning tea and lunch.

Program overview.

  • Workshops:
    • Fire Safety – understanding fire behaviour, how to use fire extinguishers and fire blankets. Includes practice session with fire extinguishers and fire blankets – Phil Sansom, Volunteer Fire Fighter, Brigade Chief, Ferntree Fire Brigade.
    • Routines for an Educational Laboratory – how frequently should I be doing what? – Janaya Banks, Laboratory Technician, Cosgrove High School, and Miriam McFarlane, Laboratory Technician, Taroona High School
    • Data Harvest Workshop: Amanda Lovett from MTA (Modern Teaching Aids educational supplies)

Breaking-down the barrier & simplifying electronic data collection and manipulation in Year 7-10 Science with simple, easy to run activities.  Enjoy hands-on experiments using data-loggers, including simulating car accidents to demonstrate how airbags reduce impact forces, investigating the forces involved in Gonzo’s bungee jumping adventure, the effect air resistance has on the velocity of falling objects and more! Curriculum-mapped experiments in stations around the hall for you to test.

  • Networking opportunities – meet, problem-solve and be inspired by your colleagues from around the state!
  • AEU and IEU Reps will be present late morning to inform us of industrial relations matters
  • TALM’s Annual General Meeting (elections of officers of TALM) and the Executive Meeting
  • Nominations for President, Treasurer, Vice Presidents (north, south and northwest) and Newsletter Editor please submit to me by 10th November
  • If you have any business matters for TALM that you wish to raise, motions you wish to put forward, or want to send your apologies, please submit them to me by email by Thursday 10th November
  • You must be a member to be elected to a position within TALM or to vote. TALM membership also allows you cheaper access to events we host.
  • TALM annual subscription for 2022 (for voting this year) or for 2023 of $35 booking can be paid now through the booking link.
  • Trade table: bring items of science equipment that you don’t need any more, but may be of use to others
  • Lucky door prize sponsored by MTA 😊

This event is organised by members of the Tasmanian Association of Laboratory Managers (TALM), all of whom offer their time, energy and skills in a voluntary capacity.

TALM Presidents Report 2021

A Snapshot of the Regions

During 2021 the regions of North West, North and South have had one or more professional learning and social events happening.

North West TALM members have been involved in several after-school get-togethers and managed a few outings, including to The Hive in Ulverstone, which incorporates a new science centre, planetarium, craft workshop, café and art gallery. Then there was the racing of battery-powered cardboard vehicles, as mentioned in more detail by Ben Hurkett.

In the north, mid-year, Bill Hardman conducted an after-school workshop at Newstead College on creating a cheap radioactive alpha source from a smoke detector. The participants had a lot of fun during the activity and enjoyed the gourmet nibbles Karen Witt created. (More details Jo Barfield’s report).

In the July holidays, In Hobart, about 10 people came together for an afternoon at Friends’ School senior campus to look at how data loggers are used for various experiments and for a tour of the facilities. During afternoon tea members discussed that although we need technical knowledge, we also need each other’s support and the opportunity to share our experiences with each other. This was one of the motivating factors behind planning to have today’s first workshop on Positive and Constructive Problem Solving in the Workplace.

2021 Conference

The 2021 Conference in Launceston at St Patrick’s College went off with a bang… or rather the rockets we made did! The rocket-making was a great team-building activity.

On the first day we had an engaging tour of the aquaculture building of St Patrick’s College and later a virtual tour of the Tamar Estuary.

Many of the activities were focused on sustainability and lowering our carbon footprint – activities like making useful items from used plastic and hearing about the furniture re-distribution program within the University of Tasmania and there was a short session where everyone had a chance to share what carbon footprint-reducing activities they are doing at their workplaces.

On the second day, there was a workshop on owl pellet dissections. It is recommended for Grade 9 and above, partly because of the dexterity required. We identified bones, beaks, etc., to see what the owl had eaten and hence what had lived in its local habitat.

Professional Standards for School Science Laboratory Technicians.

Science Education Technicians Australia (SETA) have finalised the PSASSLT, which has just been forwarded to everyone yesterday (22/11/21). This is being made available to everyone with the proviso that it is used carefully if it is referred to in employer negotiations as the P.7 Service Factor should not be confused with full time equivalent (f.t.e. as is used in the Department of Education. It gives a general guide to appropriate training, different levels of responsibility, proposed titles depending on qualifications and experience.

Bookings and payments.

TryBooking.com booking software was introduced at the end of 2020 to assist TALM with our booking process for state-wide events such as the conference and memberships. The Treasurer and I have been very happy that this booking system has almost entirely eliminated the confusion we had been having in identifying which school had paid for whom. It has been very useful for both stand-alone membership bookings and bookings for state-wide events like this. 

Serving in the President’s role.

My first connection with TALM was 25 in 1989 when I went to a Conference in Queenstown. After 7 years interstate and in other jobs, I returned to Hobart and was re-employed as a school laboratory technician in 2004, but it took 5 years before I gained the confidence to take on any TALM executive roles.

I started with the Treasurer position in about 2009, then spent a few years at a time in other roles: Database Manager, Co-Vice President South and being on conference committees. It has been very useful to know what is involved in some key roles in the organisation, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous in this new role! There’s still plenty to learn. For 16 years I did background roles and only last year got up the courage to take on the President’s role.

Two weekends ago, as a member of another volunteer organisation, I went on a weekend’s leadership training for volunteers who work in the emergency response sector. I found that very valuable, as I’ve never done any leadership-focussed training before. As was said at the beginning of that training, “It takes courage to lead”.  I plan to use some of that training in this leadership role.

My best wishes for our continued collaboration across the state, may everyone enjoy the opportunities TALM provides for both personal and professional development and all the best for the summer holidays!

Miriam McFarlane

2021 TALM President

TALM Professional Development Learning Day

Tuesday 23rd November, 2021

Ross Town Hall, 12 Bridge St, Ross


9:00 – 9:30 Registration

9.30 – 9.40  Welcome, Acknowledgement of Country and Housekeeping

9:40 -10.30 Positive and Constructive Problem Solving in the Workplace – Libby Ashlin, Workshop Facilitator.

Libby has 15 years’ experience as a school business manager including working at Taroona High School the largest state school in Tasmania, as line manager to 25 employees. She will share her philosophy on the value of team building and supportive environments and provide guidance on some of the common everyday challenges of working in a team as part of this workshop.

10.30 – 11.00  Morning Tea

11.00 – 11.30  Positive and Constructive Problem Solving continued

11.30 – 12.00  TALM Executive meeting

12.00 – 12.15   Union reports – Tanya Adams

12.15 – 12.25 Creative Engineering course report – Miriam McFarlane

12.25 – 12.45  TALM AGM (Annual General Meeting)

12.50 – 1.50  Lunch and networking opportunity at Man O’ Ross Hotel

1.50 – 2.30   Specialist Skills

  • Steam Sterilisation in a school context –
  • William Hardman Sharing of other skills by participants
  • Overview of Global Harmonised System versions 3, 7 and 9.        

2.30 – 3.30 O-Wing Planes – a STEM/STEAM Activity – Sally Williamson

Registration and Payment: https://www.trybooking.com/BVFWX

TALM Conference

The TALM Conference was held at St Patrick’s College in Launceston during the October Term Break . The conference was well attended with over 30 people attending each day. Below are some photos from the model rocket workshop. Also a TALM Tea towel was signed by everyone at the workshop on Monday.


TALM Conference

@ St Patrick’s College

Year 9 Campus, 251 Peel Street, Prospect

Monday 4th October

8:45 – 9:15 Registration

9:15 – 10:00 Aquaculture Tour

10:00 – 10:50 David Maynard Tamar River Talk ( see description)

10:50 – 11:15 Morning Tea

11:15 :12 :15 West lab

12:15 – 1:00 Recycling Walls

1 pm – 2 pm Lunch

2:00 – 4:00 pm Rocket Workshop

6:30 Conference Dinner at Rupert and Hound

Tuesday 5th October

9:00 – 10:30 am Owl Pellet Workshop

10:30 – 10:45 Morning Tea

10:45 – 11.45 am Drones in STEM 

11:45 – 12:30pm Rocket Launch

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 2:45 pm DIY Plastics Workshop – Tanya Adams

2:45pm – 3:15pm   Conference Close

Program is subject to change to comply with COVID regulations.

Guest Speaker/ Workshop Details

David Maynard  Kanamaluka/Tamar Estuary

David Maynard is Senior Curator Natural Sciences at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. He spent over a decade diving and photographing the subtidal habitats and inhabitants of the lower Tamar estuary, and participating in a variety of research projects that have helped to understand the biotic and abiotic conditions in the estuary. David was the lead curator of the exhibition Beneath the Tamar: More Than Silt (and the accompanying book), and more recently Estuary: Below the Surface.  David will talk about the ecology of the estuary, and some of the management options proposed, from those based on science to the more fanciful.

Recycling Walls

…are banks of repurposed filing cabinets with labelled drawers for various different recyclables such as eye glasses, empty cosmetics containers, X rays, batteries, etc. This presentation is about Sustainability programs at Uni and details for recycling specific materials.


Mark Bourke will  present  a workshop on  Balance Calibration & Maintenance and Innovations & New Equipment.

Owl Pellet Workshop

Each Owl pellet is individually wrapped, heat sterilised, gamma irradiated and is safe for use within the classroom. Most birds cannot chew their food, and owls are no exception. Owl pellets are masses of undigested parts of food that owl species occasionally regurgitate. The contents of the owl pellet depends on its diet, but can include the exoskeletons of insects, indigestible plant matter, bones, fur, feathers, bills, claws, and teeth. 

Owl pellets are safe and easy for students of all ages to work with. Excellent for hands-on, enquiry-based learning, owl pellet dissection activities will excite and engage your students as they discover insights into raptor feeding habits, food webs and more

Rocket Workshop

Stewart Simpson and Andrew Hull will guide you in groups to make model rockets from dynamic science. We will launch the rockets the following day.

Drones in Stem

Dr Vahid Rahimi-Eichi is currently working both at Launceston Grammar and DOE and has a PhD in Agriculture from the University of Adelaide. He also has expertise in drone technology and will discuss how we could use drones in STEM.

DIY Plastics Workshop

Presenter Tanya Adams will cover how to recycle waste plastics on your kitchen bench: using equipment and resources available around the home you can recycle common plastic waste into some useful items of labware and household use. Learn about an international community of micro-scale plastics recycling. Note: you may like to bring some of your own equipment to participate more fully in this workshop; details to be provided.


Please help us reduce waste by bringing

  • Your work name tag
  • “Keep-cup” (re-usable cup)
  • Water bottle

COVID-19 Safety measures

The conference will be guided by the current Tasmanian Government regulations current on the day. TALM and our venues require the following:

  • Use hand sanitizer at sign in station
  • Scan the QR code at the venue on arrival each day
  • Seating will be set 1.5m apart and participants are asked to maintain this distancing whenever possible
  • Density at 1 person per 2 square meters
  • Tours will involve splitting into groups
  • Catering stations will be spread out to avoid crowding
  • Disposable gloves, alcohol wipes or individual kits will be provided for hands-on activities, as appropriate to the activity
  • Do not attend any day’s activities if you are unwell.

Registration and costs

Please register and pay by Friday 24th September. Payment is required at the time of booking (link next page).

Both days, TALM member:        $75

Both days, Non-member:           $85

One day only, TALM member: $40

One day only, Non-member:     $45

Dinner:                                          $55/person (at the Rupert and Hound)

  • Cost of the conference is exclusive of the Dinner.
  • There is an additional 50 cent booing fee charged by TryBooking.com

If your school/college administration needs to pay this (if you don’t have or aren’t able to use a corporate card for this), then please supply this information to the person booking on your behalf:

  • Names of employee(s) attending from your school/college:
  • Day(s) each will attend:
  • If you/your colleague has a dietary restriction, what that is:
  • If attending the Conference Dinner:
  • Name of employee(s) 
    • If paying for it privately

IMPORTANT: If Dinner will be paid for privately:

1. On the second page, Tickets, leave Conference Dinner off the ticket selection

2. On the Ticket Holder page: answer Yes to the “Attending Conference Dinner?

3. Pay for the dinner privately

Booking Link

Please use this link to begin the booking process https://www.trybooking.com/BSYGQ and then click the  button in the top right of the page.

Additional people can be added from the Checkout page.

Removing a duplicate can be done from here also.

2021 TALM Executive

President: Miriam McFarlane

Secretary and Database Manager: Sally Williamson

Website Manager: Andrew Hull

Treasurer: Mel Gleeson

Vice President North: Jo Barfield

Vice President North-west: Ben Hurkett

Archivist and SETA Rep: William Hardman

Immediate Past President: Coen Smit

SETA Rep: Lisa Norris

Co-Newsletter Editors: Tanya Adams and Janaya Banks