Bridgewater/Gagebrook, Tasmania

About the community

The Bridgewater/Gagebrook Community is situated approximately 20 kilometres from Hobart CBD. The area covers 171 square kilometres. The residential population is 14,122 with 1,524 children aged 0 to 5 years (ABS Census 2006).

Bridgewater/Gagebrook and the Let's Read program

The Let’s Read program commenced in 2008 as part of a state wide implementation and funded through the Department of Education Tasmania for a period of 3 years. At the end of the funding period, the program has continued in the Bridgewater/Gagebrook community with the support of The Smith Family and managed by the Learning for Life Worker. 

Currently Let’s Read is delivered through the Jordan River Learning Federation Launching into Learning Groups at Gagebrook Primary School, Herdsmans Cove Primary School and East Derwent Primary School, Bridgewater Child Health & Parenting Services, tagari lia Child and Family Centre, Bridgewater, Good Beginnings and Bridgewater LINC.


Community stories

Community case studies, 2016

A selection of community case studies can be downloaded here.

Community library established, 2016

A mini Community Library was established in a Child & Family Centre in 2016, using a volunteer/parent led and self-service model. The Community Library provides a soft approach to the notion of borrow and return free from worry or guilt. This was carefully lead via a consistent and trusted relationship of the Child & Family Centre Aboriginal staff, who constantly reassured parents and planted seeds with families about utilising their local Library.

Parents all reported that the addition of the story prop significantly enhanced the sense of ‘fun’ and special time spent sharing a book together with their child. Books that were easily adaptable through song, story, noise making and quality pictures were highly successful. Props that were games were very popular and were reported by parents as having positive impacts on children’s development, i.e. sharing, turn taking, waiting and a positive sense of achievement and success and also their relationships with their child being more fun!

The Community Library assisted parents establishing routines, reading routines, bathtime and bedtime routines. Props that were able to fulfil multiple purposes enhanced these experiences (ie. able to go in the bath and also to bed). Some props even enhanced parent trips to the supermarket, making them less stressful, as their child had their ‘Book Back Pack’ with them to be entertained and educated at the same time!

The Community Library and the supportive facilitated ‘hand holding’ approach enabled parents to find multiple easy and entertaining ‘entry points’ to sharing a book/story with their child on a regular basis. Parents were keen to borrow packs weekly and fortnightly and share ‘special playful storytelling time’ with their children. Parents returned to the centre very keen to share these positive experiences with each other and tagari lia staff.

June 2013

LINC Tasmania is a statewide network that gives Tasmanians access to library services, research and information, adult literacy support, community learning, online access, and archive and heritage services.

The Bridgewater LINC celebrated National Families Week from 15-20 May 2013 with a range of activities including Let’s Read community program activities.  The celebrations were attended by 40 families with their young children from the Launching into Learning Group from East Derwent Primary School, The Baby CafĂ© group from the Child and Family Centre and other local families accessing the LINC services.

Jane (the presenter) read ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ from the 2013 Let’s Read book suggestion list’ with families and their children. She also spoke with families and caregivers about the importance of reading, singing and talking anywhere and anytime with their children from birth and demonstrated different ways to engage children in early literacy. While children participated in storytelling, played with felt board activities, sang rhymes and shared picture books their families had the opportunity to chat to on another.

Bridgewater LINC and the Child and Family Centre play an important role in encouraging families in this community to take time every day to talk, share stories and play word games with their children. The Let’s Read community program sessions will be held on a regular basis on Monday mornings from 10am.

The Smith Family is a proud partner and supporter of parents, early years programs and schools in the Bridgewater and Gagebrook communities, providing opportunities for babies and young children to receive quality children’s picture books through Let’s Read at these programs. Baby book packs are available for families to borrow at the library. It’s free to obtain a Library Card for your child and the staff are very helpful. They can show you how to fill out the forms and borrow a book.

Story by Olga Srbovski, The Smith Family


The Let’s Read program in Bridgewater/Gagebrook was sponsored by the State Government of Tasmania from 2008 - 2012. In 2013 further funding was secured through the Tasmanian AEDI Local Coordinating Community.  This funding will provide an additional 500 book packs and training for local professionals in the community.

Key contact

The Smith Family