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alt text for flag alt text for coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Slogan or nickname The Island of Inspiration; The Apple Isle; Holiday Isle; Tassie
Motto(s) Ubertas et Fidelitas
(Fertility and Faithfulness)
Map of Australia with Tasmania highlighted
Other Australian states and territories
Capital city Hobart
Demonym Tasmanian, Taswegian[1][2] (colloquial)
Government Constitutional monarchy
 - Governor Alan Blow (acting)
 - Premier Will Hodgman (LP)
Australian state  
 - Established as Van Diemen's Land 1825
 - Responsible government as Tasmania 1856
 - Became state 1901
 - Australia Act 3 March 1986
 - Total 90,758 km² (7th)
35,042 sq mi
 - Land 68,401 km²
26,410 sq mi
 - Water 22,357 km² (24.63%)
8,632 sq mi
(End of March 2014)[3]
 - Population 514,700 (6th)
 - Density 7.24/km² (4th)
18.8 /sq mi
 - Highest point Mount Ossa
1,617 m (5,305 ft)[4]
Gross state product
 - Product ($m) $22,341[5] (7th)
 - Product per capita $44,011 (8th)
Time zone(s) UTC+10 (AEST)
Federal representation  
 - House seats 5/150
 - Senate seats 12/76
 - Postal TAS
 - ISO 3166-2 AU-TAS
 - Floral Tasmanian Blue Gum
(Eucalyptus globulus)[6]
 - Animal Tasmanian devil (unofficial)
(Sarcophilus harrisii)[7]
 - Bird Yellow Wattlebird (unofficial)
(Anthochaera paradoxa)[7]
 - Mineral or Gemstone Crocoite[8]
 - Colours Dark green, red & gold
Tasmania from space

Tasmania (abbreviated as Tas and known colloquially as "Tassie"; [10]) is an island state, part of the Commonwealth of Australia, located 240 kilometres (150 mi) to the south of the Australian continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania, the 26th largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands.[11] The state has a population of 507,626 (as of June 2010), of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart precinct. Tasmania's area is 68,401 square kilometres (26,410 sq mi), of which the main island covers 64,519 square kilometres (24,911 sq mi).[12]

Tasmania is promoted as the natural state, and A World Apart, Not A World Away owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Almost 45% of Tasmania lies in reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites.[13] The island is 364 kilometres (226 mi) long from its northernmost to its southernmost points, and 306 kilometres (190 mi) from east to west.

The state capital and largest city is Hobart, which encompasses the local government areas of City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy, and City of Clarence, while the satellite town of Kingston (part of the Municipality of Kingborough) is generally included in the Greater Hobart area.

The northernmost terrestrial point of the state of Tasmania is Boundary Islet, a nature reserve in Bass Strait which, due to a quirk of history, is shared with the state of Victoria.

The subantarctic Macquarie Island and its surrounding islands are also under the administration of Tasmania as a nature reserve and part of the Huon Valley Council local government area. The Bishop and Clerk Islets, about 37 km south of Macquarie Island, are the southernmost terrestrial point of the state of Tasmania, and the southernmost internationally recognised land in Australia.


  • Toponymy 1
  • History 2
    • Physical history 2.1
    • Indigenous people 2.2
    • European arrival 2.3
    • Colony of Tasmania 2.4
    • 1969–2010s 2.5
  • Government 3
    • Politics 3.1
    • Local government 3.2
  • Geography 4
    • Climate 4.1
    • Soils 4.2
  • Ecology 5
  • Demography 6
  • Economy 7
  • Culture 8
    • Cuisine 8.1
    • Events 8.2
    • Literature 8.3
    • Media 8.4
    • Music and performing arts 8.5
    • Tasmanian cinema 8.6
    • Visual arts 8.7
  • Transport 9
    • Air 9.1
    • Antarctica base 9.2
    • Road 9.3
    • Rail 9.4
    • Shipping 9.5
  • Sport 10
  • Notable people 11
  • Gallery 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


The state is named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who made the first reported European sighting of the island on 24 November 1642. Tasman named the island "Anthony van Diemen's Land" after his sponsor Anthony van Diemen, the Governor of the Dutch East Indies. The name was later shortened to Van Diemen's Land by the British. It was officially renamed Tasmania in honour of its first European discoverer on 1 January 1856.[14]

Tasmania was sometimes referred to as "Dervon", as mentioned in the Jerilderie Letter written by the notorious Australian bushranger Ned Kelly in 1879. The colloquial expression for the state is "Tassie". Tasmania is also colloquially shortened to "Tas", especially when used in business names and website addresses. TAS is also the Australia Post abbreviation for the state.

The name for Tasmania in Palawa kani is "Lutriwita".[15]


Physical history

Tessellated pavement, a rare rock formation on the Tasman Peninsula
Autumn on the Derwent River in Tasmania

The island was adjoined to the mainland of Australia until the end of the last glacial period about 10,000 years ago. Much of the island is composed of Jurassic dolerite intrusions (upwellings of magma) through other rock types, sometimes forming large columnar joints. Tasmania has the world's largest areas of dolerite, with many distinctive mountains and cliffs formed from this rock type.

The central plateau and the southeast portions of the island are mostly sandstone and similar sedimentary stones. In the southwest, Precambrian quartzites were formed from very ancient sea sediments and form strikingly sharp ridges and ranges, such as Federation Peak or Frenchmans Cap.

In the northeast and east, continental granites can be seen, such as at Freycinet, similar to coastal granites on mainland Australia. In the northwest and west, mineral-rich volcanic rock can be seen at Mount Read near Rosebery, or at Mount Lyell near Queenstown. Also present in the south and northwest is limestone with magnificent caves.

The quartzite and dolerite areas in the higher mountains show evidence of glaciation, and much of Australia's glaciated landscape is found on the Central Plateau and the Southwest. Cradle Mountain, another dolerite peak, for example, was a nunatak. The combination of these different rock types offers incredible scenery, much of it distinct from any other region of the world. In the far southwest corner of the state, the geology is almost completely quartzite, which gives the mountains the false impression of having snow-capped peaks year round.

Indigenous people

Picture of the last four full-blood Tasmanian Aborigines c.1860s. Truganini, the last to survive (supposed to be last full blood), is seated at far right.

Tasmania was first inhabited by the Tasmanian Aborigines. Evidence indicates their presence in the region, later to become an island, at least 35,000 years ago.[16] Rising sea levels cut Tasmania off from mainland Australia about 10,000 years ago.

By the time of European contact, the Aboriginal people in Tasmania had nine major ethnic groups. At the time of the British occupation and colonisation in 1803 the indigenous population was estimated at between 5,000 and 10,000 people. Through the introduction of George Augustus Robinson.

A woman named Truganini (1812–1876) is generally recognised as the last full-blooded Tasmanian Aborigine. Strong evidence suggests that the last survivor was another woman, Fanny Cochrane Smith, who was born at Wybalena and died in 1905.[18]

European arrival

The first reported sighting of Tasmania by a European was on 24 November 1642 by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. Tasman landed at today's Blackman Bay. In 1773, Tobias Furneaux was the first Englishman to land in Tasmania at Adventure Bay. A French expedition led by Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne also landed at Blackman Bay in 1772.


  • Tasmania Online—the main State Government website
  • Discover Tasmania—official tourism website
  • University of Tasmania Tasmanian photograph collection
  • Watch historical footage of Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and the rest of Tasmania from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia's collection.
  • Tasmanian Genocide on the Combat Genocide Association website

External links

  • Alexander, Alison, ed. (2005). The Companion to Tasmanian History. Hobart, Tasmania: Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania.  
  • Robson, L. L. (1983). A History of Tasmania. Volume I. Van Diemen's Land From the Earliest Times to 1855. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-554364-5.
  • Robson, L. L. (1991). A History of Tasmania. Volume II. Colony and State From 1856 to the 1980s. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553031-4.
Further reading
  2. ^ "ON RADIO.".  
  3. ^ "3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics, Mar 2012".  
  4. ^ a b "LISTmap (Mount Ossa)". Tasmanian Government Department of Primary Industries and Water. Retrieved 6 October 2007. 
  5. ^ 5220.0 – Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, 2009–10.
  6. ^ "Proclamation of Tasmanian floral emblem". Tasmanian Government Gazette. 27 November 1962. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Tasmanian State Emblems". 29 January 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Proclamation of Tasmanian mineral emblem, Tasmanian Government Gazette, 4 December 2000.
  9. ^ "Proclamation of Tasmanian mineral emblem". Tasmanian Government Gazette. 4 December 2000. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Definition of Tasmania from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary". Archived from the original on 27 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Our Islands". 
  12. ^ Area of Australia – States and Territories.
  13. ^ "Complete National Parks and Reserves Listings".  
  14. ^ Newman, Terry (2005). "Appendix 2: Select chronology of renaming". Becoming Tasmania – Companion Web Site.  
  15. ^ "Breathing new life into Indigenous language".  
  16. ^ "Tasmanian Aboriginal People and History". Aboriginal Art Online. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  17. ^ "Tasmania embroiled in dispute over white tribe of Aborigines". The Daily Telegraph. 14 July 2005.
  18. ^ Smith, Fanny Cochrane (1834–1905) Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
  19. ^ Giblin, R.W. (1928) The Early History of Tasmania
  21. ^ MONA takes top billing Trips – The Mercury – The Voice of Tasmania. The Mercury (30 December 2011). Retrieved on 16 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Tasmanian Liberals secure 15 seats as election count ends".  
  23. ^ a b Davies, Lynn (2006). "Lake Pedder". Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  24. ^ Ridge, Justin. "Mt. Ossa, Tasmania". The Interactive Tour of Tasmania. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  25. ^ Tarkine: Australia's Largest Temperate Rain forest'About the Tarkine' . Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  26. ^ 'Statistics – Tasmania, 2006', Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  27. ^ "Climate of Launceston". Australian BOM. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  28. ^ "Tasmania Climate". World 66. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  29. ^ "Cradle Valley Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  30. ^ "Burnie Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  31. ^ "Scottsdale Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  32. ^ "St Helens Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  33. ^ "Swansea Climate". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  34. ^ "Climate of Tasmania". T Change. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  35. ^ "Midlands Drought area". Tasmanian Government. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  36. ^ "Rainfall and Temperature Records: National" (PDF).  
  37. ^ "Hobart Climate Statistics". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  38. ^ "Launceston Climate Statistics". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  39. ^ "Devonport Climate Statistics". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  40. ^ "Strahan Climate Statistics". Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  41. ^ "Why is Tasmania called the 'Apple Isle'?". Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  42. ^ "Tasmania (island and state, Australia)". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  43. ^ Rubio, Justin P. et al (May 2002). "Genetic Dissection of the Human Leukocyte Antigen Region by Use of Haplotypes of Tasmanians with Multiple Sclerosis". American Journal of Human Genetics 70 (5): 1125–1137.  
  44. ^ "Australia had baby boom in 2007: ABS". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  45. ^ "Birth-rate slump in Tasmania linked with tough economic times for families". The Mercury. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  46. ^ 2011 Census QuickStats: Hobart. Retrieved on 12 September 2013.
  47. ^ 3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2009–10. Retrieved on 12 September 2013.
  48. ^ 2006 Census QuickStats : Burnie-Somerset (Urban Centre/Locality). Retrieved on 12 September 2013.
  49. ^ "Industry Info page". Fruit Growers Tasmania. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  50. ^ Eslaka, Saul (August 2011). Local Government and Southern Tasmanian Economy. 
  51. ^ ABC Television News (Tasmania), 7 p.m. Friday, 27 January 2006
  52. ^ Denholm, Matthew (9 April 2011). "Clean, green and leaning on the mainland".  
  53. ^ a b c d e "Tasmania Food & Wine." Retrieved July 2011.
  54. ^ 'Don Kay' Tasmanian Composers Collective. Retrieved 15 June 2009. Archived at Wayback Engine.
  55. ^ "PSYCROPTIC: Rise Above". Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  56. ^ "The Paradise Motel: Info". Facebook. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  57. ^ "Beathoven and The Innocents – Official Web site". The Innocents. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  58. ^ McKay, Danielle (27 March 2011) MONA puts Tassie on map, The Mercury.
  59. ^ Shock of the old and new, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 January 2011.


See also


Notable people from Tasmania include:

Notable people

While some of the other sports played and barracked for have grown in popularity, others have declined. For example in basketball Tasmania has not been represented in the National Basketball League since the demise of the Hobart Devils in 1996.

Association football (soccer) is played throughout the state, with discussion of a Tasmanian Hyundai A-league Club building on the existing Victory League. Tasmania hosts the Moorilla International tennis tournament as part of the lead up to the Australian Open and is played at the Hobart International Tennis Centre, Hobart. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race run every year between Boxing Day and New Year since 1945, finishes in Hobart.

Australian Rules Football is also popularly followed, with occasional discussion of a proposed Tasmanian team in the Australian Football League (AFL). Several AFL games have been played at the Aurora Stadium, York Park Launceston, including the Hawthorn Football Club and as of 2012, at the Bellerive Oval with the North Melbourne Football Club playing 3 home games there. The stadium was the site of an infamous match between St Kilda and Fremantle which was controversially drawn after the umpires failed to hear the final siren.

Sport is an important pastime in Tasmania, and the state has produced several famous sportsmen and women and also hosted several major sporting events. The Tasmanian Tigers cricket team represents the state successfully (for example the Sheffield Shield in 2007, 2011 and 2013) and plays its home games at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart; also the site of international cricket matches. Famous Tasmanian cricketers include David Boon and former Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

Bellerive Oval at night, during the one-day cricket Australia vs England.


The port of Hobart is the second deepest natural port in the world, second to only Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. There is a substantial amount of commercial and recreational shipping within the harbour and the port regularly hosts Cruise ships and occasionally military vessels. Burnie and Devonport on the northwest coast host ports and several other coastal towns host either small fishing ports or substantial marinas. The domestic sea route between Tasmanian and the mainland is serviced by Bass Strait passenger/vehicle ferries operated by the Tasmanian government-owned TT-Line (Tasmania). The state is also home to International Catamarans, a manufacturer of very high-speed aluminium catamarans that regularly broke records when they were first launched. The state government tried using them on the Bass Strait run but eventually decided to discontinue the run because of concerns over viability and the suitability of the vessels for the extreme weather conditions sometimes experienced in the strait.

The Spirit of Tasmania links the island with mainland Australia.


Rail transport in Tasmania consists of narrow-gauge lines to all four major population centres and to mining and forestry operations on the west coast and in the northwest. Services are operated by TasRail. Regular passenger train services in the state ceased in 1977; the only scheduled trains are for freight, but there are tourist trains in specific areas, for example the West Coast Wilderness Railway. There is an ongoing proposal to reinstate commuter trains to Hobart. This idea however lacks political motivation.


Within the state, the primary form of transport is by road. Since the 1980s, many of the state's highways have undergone regular upgrades. These include the Hobart Southern Outlet, Launceston Southern Outlet, Bass Highway reconstruction, and the Huon Highway. Public transport is provided by Metro Tasmania bus services within urban areas, with Redline, Tassielink and Callows Coaches providing bus service between population centres.


Tasmania, Hobart in particular, serves as Australia's chief sea link to Antarctica, with the Australian Antarctic Division located in Kingston. Hobart is also the home port of the French ship l'Astrolabe, which makes regular supply runs to the French Southern Territories near and in Antarctica.

Antarctica base

Tasmania's main air carriers are Jetstar Airways and Virgin Australia; Qantas, QantasLink and Regional Express Airlines have services from Tasmania. These airlines fly direct routes to Brisbane, Canberra, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney. Major airports include Hobart International Airport (which has not had a regular scheduled international passenger service since the 1990s) and Launceston Airport; the smaller airports, Burnie (Wynyard) and King Island, serviced by Regional Express; and Devonport, serviced by QantasLink; have services to Melbourne. Inter-Tasmanian air services are offered by Airlines of Tasmania. Until 2001 Ansett Australia operated majorly out of Tasmania to 12 destinations nationwide.



The biennial Tasmanian Living Artists' Week is a ten-day state-wide festival for Tasmania's visual artists. The fourth festival in 2007 involved more than 1000 artists. Tasmania is home to two winners of the prestigious Archibald PrizeJack Carington Smith in 1963 for a portrait of Professor James McAuley, and Geoffrey Dyer in 2003 for his portrait of Richard Flanagan. Photographers Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis are known for works that became iconic in the Lake Pedder and Franklin Dam conservation movements. English-born painter John Glover (1767–1849) is known for his paintings of Tasmanian landscapes. The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) opened in January 2011 at the Moorilla Estate in Berriedale,[58] and is the largest privately owned museum complex in Australia.[59]

Visual arts

Films set in Tasmania include The Tale of Ruby Rose, The Hunter, The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, Arctic Blast, Manganinnie and Van Diemen's Land. Common within Australian cinema, the Tasmanian landscape is a focal point in most of their feature film productions. The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce and Van Diemen's Land are both set during an episode of Tasmania's convict history. Tasmanian film production goes as far back as the silent era, with the epic For The Term of His Natural Life in 1927 being the most expensive feature film made on Australian shores.

Tasmanian cinema

gaol. Port Arthur was filmed and based mainly in Tasmania, with the final elimination taking place in the famous The first season of The Mole are also citizens. [57]The Innocents and eighties power-pop combo [56]The Paradise Motel Respected noir-rock band [55]Tasmania has a varied musical scene, ranging from the
The Princess Theatre and Earl Arts Centre, Launceston

Music and performing arts

Tasmania has five broadcast television stations which produce local content including ABC Tasmania, Southern Cross Television Tasmania an affiliate of Seven Network WIN Television Tasmania an affiliate of Nine Network TDT Ten an affiliate of the Ten Network (joint owned by WIN and Southern Cross) and SBS.


Tasmania has a vibrant and growing literary culture. Notable titles include For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan, The Alphabet of Light and Dark by Danielle Wood, The Roving Party by Rohan Wilson, The Butterfly Man by Heather Rose and The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch and children's books such as The Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner and Tiger Tale by Marion and Steve Isham.


To foster tourism, the state government encourages or supports several annual events in and around the island. The best known of these is the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, starting on Boxing Day in Sydney and usually arriving at Constitution Dock in Hobart around three to four days later, during the Taste of Tasmania, an annual food and wine festival. Other events include the road rally Targa Tasmania which attracts rally drivers from around the world and is staged all over the state, over five days. Rural or regional events include Agfest, a three-day agricultural show held at Carrick (just west of Launceston) in early May and the Royal Hobart Show and Royal Launceston Show, both held in October annually. Music events held in Tasmania include the Falls Festival at Marion Bay (a Victorian event now held in both Victoria and Tasmania on New Year's Eve), MS Fest is a charity music event held in Launceston, to raise money for those with multiple sclerosis, the Cygnet Folk Festival is one Australia's most iconic folk music festivals and is held every year in January, the Tasmanian Lute Festival is an early music event held in different locations in Tasmania every two years and directed by Susan King (Tasmanian Lutenist) . Recent additions to the state arts events calendar include the 10 Days on the Island arts festival, and MONA FOMA, run by David Walsh and curated by Brian Ritchie.


During colonial times the cuisines of the British Isles were the standard in most areas of Tasmania. Tasmania now has a wide range of restaurants, in part due to the arrival of immigrants and changing cultural patterns. Scattered across Tasmania are many vineyards,[53] and Tasmanian beer brands such as Boags and Cascade are known and sold in Mainland Australia. King Island off the northwestern coast of Tasmania has a reputation for boutique cheeses[53] and dairy products. Tasmanians are also consumers of seafood,[53] such as crayfish, orange roughy, salmon[53] and oysters,[53] both farmed and wild.



Apparently the state's housing market was undervalued in the early part of 2000, and a large boom in the national housing market finally made Tasmanian housing prices rise dramatically. This has in part been attributed to increased levels of interstate[51] and overseas immigration. A shortage of rental accommodation has caused problems for many of Tasmania's low income earners. Thirty-four percent of Tasmanians are reliant on welfare payments as their primary source of income.[52] This number is in part due to the large number of older residents and retirees in Tasmania receiving Age Pensions.

About 1.7% of the Tasmanian population are employed by local governments.[50] Other major employers include the Federal Group, owner of several hotels and Tasmania's two casinos, and Gunns Limited, the state's biggest forestry company. Small business is a large part of the community life, including such success stories as International Catamarans, Moorilla Estate and Tassal. In the late 1990s, many national companies based their call centres in the state after obtaining cheap access to broad-band fibre optic connections.

Manufacturing declined during the 1990s, leading to a drain of some of the island's trained and experienced working population to mainland Australia, especially to urban centres such as Melbourne and Sydney. Since 2001, however, the Tasmanian economy has experienced a significant improvement. Favourable economic conditions throughout Australia, cheaper air fares, and two new Spirit of Tasmania ferries have all contributed to what is now a booming tourism industry.

In the 1960s and 1970s there was a rapid decline in traditional crops such as apples and pears,[49] with other crops and industries eventually rising in their place. During the 15 years until 2010, new agricultural products such as wine, saffron, pyrethrum and cherries have been fostered by the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research.

Traditionally, Tasmania's main industries have been mining (including copper, zinc, tin, and iron), agriculture, forestry, and tourism. In the 1940s and 1950s, a hydro-industrialisation initiative was embodied in the state by Hydro Tasmania. These all have had varying fortunes over the last century and more, involved in ebbs and flows of population moving in and away dependent upon the specific requirements of the dominant industries of the time. The state also has a large number of food exporting sectors, including but not limited to seafood (such as Atlantic salmon, abalone and crayfish).

Western Tasmania and South West Tasmania with natural resources on 1865 map


Name Population
Greater Hobart 211,656[46]
Launceston 106,153[47]
Devonport 25,551
Burnie 19,160[48]
Ulverstone 10,500

Major population centres include Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie, and Ulverstone. Kingston is often defined as a separate city but is generally regarded as part of the Greater Hobart Area.

Until 2012, Tasmania was the only state in Australia which has an above-replacement total fertility rate; Tasmanian women had an average of 2.24 children each.[44] However data indicated that by 2012 the birth rate had slipped to 2.1 children per women, bringing the state to the replacement threshold. It however remains the second highest birth rate of any state or territory (behind the Northern Territory).[45]

Tasmania's population is unusually homogeneous. The state receives relatively little immigration, and an estimated 10,000 or fewer "founding families" in the mid-19th century are the ancestors of about 65% of its residents. As of 1996 more than 80% of Tasmanians were born in the state and almost 90% were born in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, or Ireland. The majority of the residents are of British descent.[42] The homogeneity makes it an attractive location to study population genetics.[43]

Estimated resident population since 1981
Hobart is Tasmania's most populous city. It is seen here from Mount Wellington.


Geographically and genetically isolated, Tasmania is known for its unique flora and fauna. Tasmania has extremely diverse vegetation, from the heavily grazed grassland of the dry Midlands to the tall evergreen eucalypt forest, alpine heathlands and large areas of cool temperate rainforests and moorlands in the rest of the state. Many flora species are unique to Tasmania, and some are related to species in South America and New Zealand through ancestors which grew on the super continent of Gondwana, 50 million years ago. The island of Tasmania was home to the Thylacine, a marsupial which resembled a wild dog. Known colloquially as the Tasmanian Tiger for the distinctive striping across its back, it became extinct in mainland Australia much earlier because of competition by the dingo, introduced in prehistoric times. Owing to persecution by farmers, government-funded bounty hunters and, in the final years, collectors for overseas museums, it appears to have been exterminated in Tasmania. The Tasmanian devil became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936, and is now found in the wild only in Tasmania.

A devil lying belly down on dry scrub grass and dead leaves. It has stretched its front legs out in front of its face.
Although Tasmanian devils are nocturnal, they like to rest in the sun. Scarring from fighting is visible next to this devil's left eye.

Savage River National Park.


Tasmania became known as the 'Apple Isle' because for many years it was one of the world's major apple producers. Apples are still grown in large numbers, particularly in southern Tasmania, and have the distinction of being the first approved by the Japanese government for import, due to their verifiable pest-free status.[41]

The Midlands and the Lower Derwent present a different story from the rest of the state. Owing to a relatively dry climate and alkaline (mostly dolerite) parent material, these soils are relatively unleached and contain lime in the deeper subsoil. They are mostly classified as "prairie soils" or "brown earths" and bear some resemblance to the chernozems of Russia and North America, although they are much lower in available phosphorus and somewhat acidic in the surface levels. Their higher nutrient levels, however, allow them to support productive pasture, and large numbers of sheep are grazed in these regions. Some grain crops are also grown in the driest areas. In the alluvial areas of southeastern Tasmania, rich alluvial soils permit apples to be grown.

On the north coast, apart from some relatively fertile alluvial soils used for fruit-growing, there are also deep red, easily workable soils known as "krasnozems" ("red land"). These soils are highly acidic and fix phosphate very effectively, but their extremely favourable physical properties make them extensively used for dairying, beef cattle and fodder crops.

Despite the presence of some quaternary glaciation, Tasmania's soils are not more fertile than those of mainland Australia, largely because most are severely leached and the areas with driest climates (least leaching) were unaffected by glaciation or alluvia derived therefrom. Most soils on the Bass Strait Islands, the east coast and western Tasmania are very infertile spodosols or psamments, with some even less fertile "lateritic podzolic soils" in the latter region. Most of these lands are thus not used for agriculture, but there is much productive forestry—which remains one of the state's major industries.


City Mean Min. Temp oC Mean Max. Temp oC No. Clear days Rainfall (mm)
Hobart 8.3 16.9 41 616[37]
Launceston 7.2 18.4 50 666[38]
Devonport 8.1 16.8 61 778[39]
Strahan 7.9 16.5 41 1,458[40]

The highest recorded maximum temperature in Tasmania was 42.2 °C (108.0 °F) at Tarraleah.[36]

Several sections of inland Tasmania, together with Flinders Island, were declared drought-affected areas by the state government in 2007.[35]

The east coast is wetter than the Midlands, with an average annual rainfall ranging from 775 millimetres (30.5 in) in St. Helens to around 640 millimetres (25 in) in Swansea.[32][33] Here the rainfall is evenly distributed over the year, but can be very erratic as heavy rainfalls from the warm Tasman Sea are quite frequent. Whereas a three-day fall of 125 millimetres (4.9 in) occurs only once every 50 years on the north coast, it occurs on average once every four or five years around Swansea and Bicheno, and on 7–8 June 1954, there were many falls as large as 230 millimetres (9.1 in) in two days in that area. The east coast is sometimes called the "sun coast" because of its sunny climate.[34]

The more densely populated northern coast is much drier than the western side, with annual rainfall ranging from 666 millimetres (26.2 in) in Launceston to 955 millimetres (37.6 in) in Burnie in the north west and 993 millimetres (39.1 in) in Scottsdale located further to the east.[30][31] Most rain falls in winter, and in summer the average can be as low as 31 millimetres (1.2 in) per month in Launceston.

There is a strong winter maximum in rainfall: January and February typically averages between 30 and 40% the rainfall of July and August, though even in the driest months, the number of rainy days per year is much greater than on any part of the Australian mainland. Further east in the Lake Country, annual rainfall declines to around 900 millimetres (35 in), whilst in the Midlands, annual rainfall is as low as 450 millimetres (18 in) at Ross and generally below 600 millimetres (24 in). The eastern part of Tasmania has more evenly distributed rainfall than in the west, and most months receive very similar averages.

Rainfall in Tasmania follows a complicated pattern rather analogous to that found on large continents at the same latitude in the Northern Hemisphere. On the western side, rainfall increases from around 1,458 millimetres (57.4 in) at Strahan on the coast up to 2,690 millimetres (106 in) at Cradle Valley in the highlands.[29]

The winter months are between June and August and are generally the wettest and coolest months in the state, with most high lying areas receiving considerable snowfall. Winter maximums are 12 °C (54 °F) on average along coastal areas and 3 °C (37 °F) on the central plateau, as a result of a series of cold fronts from the Southern Ocean. Inland areas receive regular freezes throughout the winter months.[28] Spring is a season of transition, where winter weather patterns begin to take the shape of summer patterns, although snowfall is still common up until October. Spring is generally the windiest time of the year with afternoon sea breezes starting to take effect on the coast.

Tasmania has a cool temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Summer lasts from December to February when the average maximum sea temperature is 21 °C (70 °F) and inland areas around Launceston reach 24 °C (75 °F). Other inland areas are much cooler, with Liawenee, located on the Central Plateau, one of the coldest places in Australia, ranging between 4 °C (39 °F) and 17 °C (63 °F) in February. Autumn lasts between March and May and experiences changeable weather, when summer weather patterns gradually take on the shape of winter patterns.[27]


[26] The

The Tarkine, located in island's far North West, is the largest temperate rainforest area in Australia covering about 3,800 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi).[25] With its rugged topography, Tasmania has a great number of rivers. Several of Tasmania's largest rivers have been dammed at some point to provide hydroelectricity. Many rivers begin in the Central Highlands and flow out to the coast. Tasmania's major population centres are mainly situated around estuaries (some of which are named rivers).

Tasmania has been volcanically inactive in recent geological times but has many jagged peaks resulting from recent glaciation. Tasmania is the most mountainous state in Australia. The most mountainous region is the Central Highlands area, which covers most of the central western parts of the state. The Midlands located in the central east, is fairly flat, and is predominantly used for agriculture, although farming activity is scattered throughout the state. Tasmania's tallest mountain is Mount Ossa at 1,617 metres (5,305 feet). The mountain lies in the heart of the world famous Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.[4][24] Much of Tasmania is still densely forested, with the Southwest National Park and neighbouring areas holding some of the last temperate rain forests in the Southern Hemisphere.

Tasmania's landmass of 68,401 km2 (26,410 sq mi) is located right in the pathway of the notorious "Roaring Forties" wind that encircles the globe. The island is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans and separated from mainland Australia by Bass Strait.

Wineglass Bay, in Freycinet National Park
Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain, Central Tasmanian Highlands
Topography of Tasmania


As with the House of Assembly, Tasmania's local government elections use a system of multi-seat proportional representation known as Hare-Clark.

Tasmania is divided into 29 Local Government Areas. Local councils are responsible for functions delegated by the Tasmanian parliament, such as urban planning, road infrastructure and waste management. Council revenue comes mostly from property taxes and government grants.

Local government

In the early 1980s the state was again plunged into often bitter debate over the proposed Franklin River Dam. The anti-dam sentiment was shared by many Australians outside Tasmania and proved a factor in the election of the Hawke Labor government in 1983, which halted construction of the dam. Since the 1980s the environmental focus has shifted to old growth logging and mining in the Tarkine region, which have both proved a highly divisive. The Tasmania Together process recommended an end to clear felling in high conservation old growth forests by January 2003, but was unsuccessful.

Tasmania has numerous relatively unspoiled, ecologically valuable regions. Proposals for local economic development have therefore been faced with strong requirements for environmental sensitivity, or outright opposition. In particular, proposals for hydroelectric power generation proved controversial in the late 20th century. In the 1970s, opposition to the construction of the Lake Pedder reservoir impoundment led to the formation of the world's first green party, the United Tasmania Group.[23][23]

On 23 February 2004, the Premier Jim Bacon announced his retirement, after being diagnosed with lung cancer. In his last months he opened a vigorous anti-smoking campaign which included many restrictions of where individuals could smoke, such as pubs. He died four months later. Bacon was succeeded by Paul Lennon, who, after leading the state for two years, went on to win the 2006 state election in his own right. Lennon resigned in 2008 and was succeeded by David Bartlett, who formed a coalition government with the Greens after the 2010 state election resulted in a hung parliament. Bartlett resigned as Premier in January 2011 and was replaced by Lara Giddings, who became Tasmania's first female Premier. In March 2014, Will Hodgman's Liberal Party won government, ending sixteen years of Labor governance, and ending an eight year period for Hodgman himself as Leader of the Opposition.[22]

won four seats, with over 18% of the popular vote, the highest proportion of any Green party in any parliament in the world at that time. Greens saw their percentage of the vote decrease dramatically, and their representation in the Parliament fell to seven seats. The Liberal Party won 14 of the 25 House seats. The Labor Party, the 2002 state electionAt the

Tasmania is a State in the Australian federation. Its relationship with the Federal Government and Parliament are regulated by the Australian Constitution. Tasmania is represented in the Senate by 12 senators, on an equal basis with all other states. In the House of Representatives, Tasmania is entitled to five seats, which is the minimum allocation for a state guaranteed by the Constitution—the number of House of Representatives seats for each state is otherwise decided on the basis of their relative populations, and Tasmania has never qualified for five seats on that basis alone. Tasmania's House of Assembly use a system of multi-seat proportional representation known as Hare-Clark.


The form of the government of Tasmania is prescribed in its constitution, which dates from 1856, although it has been amended many times since then. Since 1901, Tasmania has been a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Australian Constitution regulates its relationship with the Commonwealth and prescribes which powers each level of government enjoys.


In January 2011, wealthy philanthropist David Walsh opened the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart to international acclaim. Within 12 months, MONA became Tasmania's top tourism attraction.[21]

The Tasmanian community has for some time been divided over the issue of the proposed Bell Bay Pulp Mill to be built in the Tamar Valley. Proponents argue that jobs will be created, while opponents argue that pollution will damage both the Bass Strait fishing industry and local tourism.

In April 2006, the Beaconsfield Mine collapse was triggered by a small earthquake. One person was killed and two others were trapped underground for 14 days.

On 28 April 1996, in the incident now known as the Port Arthur massacre, lone gunman Martin Bryant shot and killed 35 people (including tourists and residents) and injured 21 others. The use of firearms was immediately reviewed, and new gun ownership laws were adopted nationwide, with Tasmania's law one of the strictest in Australia.

National and international attention surrounded the campaign against the Franklin Dam in the early 1980s.

In 1975, the Tasman Bridge collapsed when the bridge was struck by the bulk ore carrier MV Lake Illawarra. This made crossing the Derwent River at Hobart almost impossible.

The state was badly affected by the 1967 Tasmanian fires, in which there was major loss of life and property. In the 1970s, the state government announced plans to flood environmentally significant Lake Pedder. As a result of the eventual flooding of Lake Pedder, the world's first greens party was established; the United Tasmania Group.


The Colony suffered from economic fluctuations, but for the most part was prosperous, experiencing steady growth. With few external threats and strong trade links with the Empire, the Colony of Tasmania enjoyed many fruitful periods in the late 19th century, becoming a world-centre of shipbuilding. It raised a local defence force which eventually played a significant role in the Second Boer War in South Africa, and Tasmanian soldiers in that conflict won the first two Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians. Tasmanians voted in favour of federation with the largest majority of all the Australian colonies, and on 1 January 1901 the Colony of Tasmania became the Australian state of Tasmania.

The Legislative Council of Van Diemen's Land drafted a new constitution which they passed in 1854, and it was given Royal Assent by Queen Victoria in 1855. Later in that year the Privy Council approved the colony changing its name from "Van Diemen's Land" to "Tasmania", and in 1856, the newly elected bicameral parliament sat for the first time, establishing Tasmania as a self-governing colony of the British Empire.

The Colony of Tasmania (more commonly referred to simply as "Tasmania") was a British colony that existed on the island of Tasmania from 1856 until 1901, when it federated together with the five other Australian colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia. The possibility of the colony was established when the Westminster Parliament passed the Australian Colonies Government Act 1850, granting the right of legislative power to each of the six Australian colonies.

A convict ploughing team breaking up new ground at the farm – Port Arthur

Colony of Tasmania

The early settlers were mostly convicts and their military guards, with the task of developing agriculture and other industries. Numerous other convict-based settlements were made in Van Diemen's Land, including secondary prisons, such as the particularly harsh penal colonies at Port Arthur in the southeast and Macquarie Harbour on the West Coast. Van Diemen's Land was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales, with its own judicial establishment and Legislative Council, on 3 December 1825.

The first settling of Tasmania was by the British at Risdon Cove on the eastern bank of the Derwent estuary. In 1800, the French sent an expedition led by Commander Baudin to explore the South Seas. It was suspected that the reason for this expedition was to try to establish a French colony on the coast of New Holland. In response to this, the Lady Nelson and the whaler Albion, both commanded by Lieutenant John Bowen, sailed from Port Jackson on 31 August 1803. Bowen arrived in the Derwent on Sunday, 12 September 1803, in the Albion. The Lady Nelson had arrived five days before, on 7 September. 12 September is regarded as the birthday of the colony (now state) of Tasmania. Lieutenant Bowen chose Risdon Cove on the left bank of the Derwent a few miles above Hobart. Among the settlers were 21 male convicts and an overseer and three women, besides the officers and two free settlers. About two months later, the colony had increased to 100 people.[20] An alternative settlement was established by Captain David Collins 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the south in 1804 in Sullivans Cove on the western side of the Derwent, where fresh water was more plentiful. The latter settlement became known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, later shortened to Hobart, after the British Colonial Secretary of the time, Lord Hobart. The settlement at Risdon was later abandoned.

Mount Wellington and Hobart from Kangaroo Point, c. 1834


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