The Tasmania reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Tasmania

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Tasmania
Tasmania state flag
Tasmania coat of arms
State flag (In detail)
Coat of Arms (Full size)
Location of Tasmania
Capital
Hobart
Governor
HE Mr Richard Butler
Premier
Paul Lennon
Area
— Land 
— Marine 
— Total

 68 401 kmò
 22 357 kmò 
 90 758 kmò 
Population
(Sep 2003)
Density
 478 400
6.92/kmò              
Time zone  
UTC+10 (except during daylight saving time–UTC+11)
Highest point
Mount Ossa (1 617 m)
ISO 3166-2 code:
AU-TS
The island of Tasmania, an Australian state, is located 240 km (150 miles) south of the eastern portion of the continent, being separated from it by the Bass Strait. Tasmania has a population of 456 652 (census 2001) and an area of 68 332 kmò (26 383 square miles).

The capital and largest city is Hobart, which includes the cities of Hobart, Glenorchy, and Clarence. Other major population centres include Launceston, Devonport, and Burnie.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Economics
3 Transportation
4 Politics
5 Prominent people
6 Indigenous animals
7 Geography and climate of Tasmania
8 Events in Tasmania
9 Related topics

History

Main article: History of Tasmania

Physical prehistory

It is believed that the island was joined to the mainland until the end of the most recent ice age approximately 10 000 years ago.

Indigenous people

Tasmania once possessed an indigenous population, the Tasmanian Aborigines, and evidence indicates their presence in the territory, later to become an island, at least 35 000 years ago. The indigenous population at the time of British settlement has been estimated at 5 000, but through persecution (see Black War and Black Line) and disease the population was eliminated (some mixed-blood descendants still survive). The impact of introduced diseases, prior to the first European estimates of the size of Tasmania's population, means that the original indigenous population could have been noticeably larger than 5 000. The last full-blooded Tasmanian Aborigine was Truganini, who died in 1876.

European arrival

The first reported sighting of Tasmania by a European was on November 24th 1642 by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who named the island Anthoonij van Diemenslandt, later to be shortened to Van Diemens Land by the British. Captain James Cook also sighted the island in 1777. A British settlement was established at Risdon Cove in 1803, which was relocated 5 km to the south in 1804 to Sullivan's Cove, where fresh water was more plentiful. Both settlements were known as Hobart Town. Shortly afterwards a harsh penal colony was established at Port Arthur. Van Diemen's Land was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales, with its own judicial establishment and Legislative Council, on December 3, 1825.

World attention

Although the state is seldom in the world news, global attention turned to Tasmania on April 29 1996 when lone gunman Martin Bryant opened fire, killing 35 tourists and residents and injuring 37 others in an incident now known as the Port Arthur Massacre.

Recently it has also received attention with the 2004 wedding of Hobart woman Mary Donaldson to Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, on May 14, 2004.

Economics

Tasmania's economic decline was firsted noted by colonists in the early 1800s. The reason was (or has been) attributed invariably to: lack of federal infrastructure, lack of a gold rush, lack of open immigration initiatives, lack of population, decline in wool and tin economies, lack of early colonial initatives, or lack of foreign investment. Also of considerable note is the continuing exodus of youth to mainland Australia in order to seek employment or opportunities.

Tasmania's main industries are: mining, including copper, zinc, tin, and iron; agriculture; forestry; and tourism. There has been a significant decline in manufacturing in recent years, leading to a substantial drain of the island's young adult population to mainland Australia, especially to major urban centres such as Melbourne and Sydney. Tasmania has the least revenue out of any state in Australia.

Tasmania's economic woes have caused many Tasmanians to view the world and their place in it quite differently from the rest of Australia. Subsequently, Tasmania has a thriving, though underresourced, arts community and environmental movement. However, this has turned out to be as much a divisive as an inclusive issue in respect of Tasmanians' sense of identity.

Transportation

Tasmania is accessible by air, via the airports near each major city, and also via the Bass Strait passenger/vehicle ferries operated by the Tasmanian Government-owned TT-Line. From 1986 the Abel Tasman made six weekly overnight crossings between Devonport and Melbourne. It was replaced by the Spirit of Tasmania in 1993, which performed the same route and schedule. The most recent change was the 2002 replacement of the Spirit by two Superfast ferries - Spirit of Tasmania I and Spirit of Tasmania II - which brought the number of overnight crossings up to fourteen, plus additional daylight crossings in peak times. In January 2004 a third ship, the slightly smaller Spirit of Tasmania III, started the Devonport to Sydney route.

Tasmania, Hobart in particular, serves as Australia's chief sea link to the Antarctic and South Pacific, with the Australian Antarctic Division located in Kingston.

Politics

Tasmania's relatively low population density and temperate, maritime climate mean that it is rich in unspoilt, 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 early 1970s and 1980s. Opposition to the construction of the Lake Pedder Dam led to the formation of one of the world's first green parties, the United Tasmania Group. In the 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.

On 23 February 2004, the Premier Jim Bacon announced his retirement, due to being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Prominent people

For a small population base Tasmania has produced a number of significant people in many areas:

Indigenous animals

Thylacine

Until
1932, the island was home to the Thylacine, known colloquially as the ÑTasmanian Tiger,' an animal that went extinct in mainland Australia much earlier because of the introduction of the dingo. Due to persecution by farmers, government-funded bounty hunters, and, in the final years, collectors for overseas museums, it was also extirpated on Tasmania.

Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil is a carnivorous marsupial found exclusively on the island of Tasmania. The size of a small dog but stocky and muscular, the Tasmanian Devil is characterised by its black fur, offensive odour when stressed, extremely loud and disturbing screeching, and vicious temperament. It also was threatened with extinction because of human actions, but it has survived and nowadays it is widespread throughout Tasmania and fairly common.

'The Tasmanian Devil' is also a Warner Bros cartoon character loosely modeled after the animal.

Geography and climate of Tasmania

Tasmania is a reasonably rugged island of temperate climate similar in some ways to pre-industrial England - so much so that it was referred by some English colonists as 'a Southern England'. Geographically, Tasmania is similar to New Zealand to the east. As Tasmania has been predominately volcanically inactive in recent geological times, Tasmania has 'rounded smooth' mountain ranges similar to mainland Australia, unlike most of New Zealand.

The temperate climate and rustically appealing environment (for example, Richmond Bridge in south-eastern Tasmania is the oldest bridge in Australia) has made Tasmania a popular choice for retirees who prefer a temperate climate over a tropical one such as Queensland.

The South-West region is densely forested National Park holding some of the last temperate rainforests in the Southern Hemisphere. It was not well charted until the advent of satellite imaging.

Islands: Lakes:

Bridges:

Highways:

Rivers:

Mountains:

Regions:

See also: List of Australian islands, lakes, bridges, highways, rivers, mountains and regions.

Events in Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government in order to foster tourism encourages or supports several different annual events in and around the island, sometimes they are organised by local government or non-government organisations.

Related topics


 
Australia
States and mainland territories
Australian Capital Territory | New South Wales | Northern Territory | Queensland | South Australia | Tasmania | Victoria | Western Australia
Jervis Bay Territory
External territories
Ashmore and Cartier Islands | Australian Antarctic Territory | Christmas Island | Cocos (Keeling) Islands | Coral Sea Islands | Heard Island and McDonald Islands | Norfolk Island