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State of Tasmania

Tasmania

TAS.GUIDE

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State of Tasmania Local History

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Tasmania, also known as the island state, is the smallest state in Australia. The state has a rich history dating back thousands of years ago when the first inhabitants, the Indigenous Tasmanians, settled in the region.

Before the arrival of Europeans, Tasmanian Aborigines had an intricate and unique culture. They developed a rich spiritual life using the environment around them, art, and storytelling. The Tasmanian Aboriginal population was eventually decimated due to a combination of introduced diseases and conflict with European settlers.

The first European to set foot in Tasmania was Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1642. Tasmania gained more attention in 1770 when British explorer James Cook sailed around the island, naming it Van Diemen's Land in honour of the then governor of the Dutch East Indies.

Van Diemen's Land became a British colony in 1803. In the early days of the colony, the settlers struggled with harsh conditions, including poor soil quality and dangerous living conditions. However, they persevered and the colony began to prosper in the mid-1800s, thanks in large part to the discovery of vast amounts of high-quality natural resources, including timber, coal, and tin.

The early 19th century also saw the arrival of convicts in Tasmania. Many convicts were sent to Tasmania, which was known as a "secondary penal colony" since it served as a place for convicts who had been re-offending in other penal colonies. Convicts were used to build bridges, roads, and buildings, and contributed to the early development of the state. However, the treatment of convicts was inhumane, and the convict era represented a dark period in Tasmania's history.

In 1856, Tasmania became a self-governing colony and later joined Australia as one of six states in 1901. In the early 20th century, Tasmania experienced a number of significant events, including the construction of the Hydro-Electric Power Scheme, which was built between the 1950s and 1970s and provided the state with a reliable supply of hydro-electric power. This allowed the state to expand its economy and develop new industries, including tourism and agriculture.

Tourism remains a key contributor to the Tasmanian economy, with visitors attracted to the state's stunning natural beauty, including its rugged coastlines, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking mountains.

Tasmania has also played an important role in Australia's history in terms of politics. The state was the birthplace of prominent political leaders including Joseph Lyons, who served as Prime Minister of Australia from 1932-1939, and Edmund Barton, the country's first Prime Minister.

Tasmania continues to enjoy a unique place in Australian society, thanks to its rich history and stunning natural beauty.


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Barn Bluff in the Tasmania wilderness thanks to Mieke Campbell