Jane Hutcheon


22 Jan

Tour: Oman & Zanzibar - January 2019 Event Travel

Jane Hutcheon

Event Start: 11 months from now

This incredible tour is called The Frankincense Route where we'll journey to the ancient lands of spice, incense and forts of Oman and then travel to lush Zanzibar with all its light and shade.

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08 Feb

Five Things I Discovered About Oman Travel

Jane Hutcheon

1)  It's exotic:

When I was a TV correspondent, I'd have to start working in a new country or city from the moment my feet touched the ground.  So finding the exotic wasn't a high priority.  I had no trouble in Oman. 

Here's how I'd describe Oman: fragrant, quietly industrious, open-minded, mysterious, warm, intoxicating. 

Frankincense is the nobbly resin from the Boswellia Sacra tree found in Southern Oman.  It oozes from gashes made to the bark.  These days, it’s primary use is as incense and so little wonder as I travelled throughout Oman, many hotels and restaurants had the aroma of a high church: that was frankincense.

My favourite archeological site was the 'beehive tombs' above the village of Al Ayn, near Bat.  The stone tombs were used over and over again.  You can find the remains of hundreds of them dotted on hilltops.  Not a single souvenir-seller or another tourist was in sight.

2) You should love dates.

Dates have been grown for thousands of years and you don’t have to travel far in this beautiful country to come across an oasis town filled with date palms.  A single tree can produce nearly 300 kgs of dates and there are thousands of varieties.  I snacked on dates whenever they were offered (usually several times a day) and didn’t touch the Lindt chocolate I brought with me :) I was told by our Omani guide that as long as I consumed an odd number of dates (1,3 or 5. I didn't get beyond 5) it would be considered perfectly healthy.  I didn’t argue.  Dates and cardomon-flavoured coffee go particularly well together.

The other thing I learned about dates was that the syrup or nectar produced by storing and pressing these fruit as they dry, creates a fragrant, dark molasses which when boiled can be poured down specially-made chutes erected at the entrance the country’s amazing castles and forts.  The scalding date syrup treatment was reserved for enemy marauders.  If you tried to side-step the date syrup chute, the next obstacle was a pit of snakes, the entrance of which was concealed by a small carpet.  


4) Wood is precious.

There isn’t a lot of indigenous wood in Arabia.  So the most expensive parts of houses, mosques and forts - the doors and window frames - were imported from Zanzibar and India.  I fell in love with these sensational ancient teak or mahogany doors around Oman carved by artisans...








… and then several days later (in Zanzibar) came across local village workshops like this one where ornate doors have been crafted for centuries.

I was also captivated by the charm and simplicity of these wooden Koran stands which I saw throughout Oman.  Eventually I found a simple one in the souq in Doha which fitted in my hand-luggage.

5) Ibadi Islam:

Oman is the only country in the world where a majority of the population are Ibadi muslims.  Of 2.25 million Omanis, around half are Ibadis with Sunnis coming a close second.  This is a 'moderate conservative’ sect of the faith, which originally fled from Basra in modern-day Iraq.  Ibadism was created after one of the early schisms in Islam and became established in Oman in AD 751.  Ibadis believe in religious tolerance and all sects are invited to worship in Muscat’s Grand Mosque.  (My photo is of the state mosque in the city of Nizwa.)

Did I mention how perfect the weather in Oman is in January?  During the day - 22-28 degrees - with a coat and scarf for the chilly desert nights. {Zanzibar has around the same temperature though it's a little muggy) 

Thinking of joining my tour The Frankincense Route - Oman and Zanzibar in January 2019?  Here are the details.  


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18 Sep

View Convention - Author Panel, Tamworth, Sept 16 2017 China Baby Love

Jane Hutcheon


I travelled up to Tamworth with Anne Summers and Anna Bligh where Anna was giving the keynote address on how the role of women had changed in her lifetime.  Anne was moderator of the author panel.

Great to chat with authors Chris Taylor (far right), Meredith Jaffe (my left) and Anne Summers at the View Convention :)




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08 Jun

The Private Person Behind the Public Broadcaster Journalism One Plus One

Jane Hutcheon

This week I interviewed Michelle Guthrie for One Plus One, a year after her appointment as the ABC's Managing Director.

What was it like to interview your boss? people have asked me.

Everyone has an opinion about Ms Guthrie and the ABC. The opinions are not always pleasant. I felt I had the weight of expectation on my shoulders.  Apart from that complexity, the interviewer part of me was curious to know why someone who had reached such heights in the media and digital world, had such a light digital footprint herself.  It was very hard to find detail about her life and what has influenced her trajectory.  

For me, the most anxious moments were the hours BEFORE the interview.

I am approaching this in good faith, I told myself, just ask her about the pieces that you need to make this puzzle complete.  

But as well as being an interviewer who overthinks everything, I am also a long-term employee of the public broadcaster, a 23 year veteran.  Many of my peers have left either by choice or through redundancy.  Media as an industry is in turmoil.  So what changes are in store for a traditional TV journalist in the Michelle Guthrie era of my career?  

It was a bubbly Michelle who stepped briskly into my studio arena this week.  Immediate thoughts were that I towered over her( incredibly).  She didn't want to shake hands.  She opened her arms to give me a hug.  I sensed quickly that she was not someone to mess with, and yet I could relax and know that she would give me the space to probe her.  We chatted about clothes and finding the right style.  I loved her swan shirt :)

So, who is Michelle Guthrie?  From what she told me she was a good student who worked hard and then took the opportunities that lay in front of her.  She said 'yes' a lot. She took risks. She has fantastic insights into women and leadership.  She has a husband (who is a chef) living in Singapore and two lovely daughters.  She wants to make the ABC relevant for our time, which means a greater connection to the world many of us call home: online. Change IS her buzzword.  But, she prefers to be out of the public eye.

In summary, I'd give her the hashtag: #quietdisrupter

(Photos by my colleague Tom Hancock)  


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