Tasmania is Australia ‘s only island state. It has the smallest land area of any state and the smallest population, with roughly 500,000 inhabitants. It is separated from the Australian mainland by a body of water called the Bass Strait that has isolated it for thousands of years.
Tasmania is the smallest of Australia’s six states, with an area of 68,401km² (26,410 square miles). It is comparable in size to Ireland or the US state of West Virginia. Tasmania is separated from mainland Australia by the Bass Strait, from New Zealand by the Tasman Sea, and otherwise surrounded by the Southern Ocean. It is located right in the pathway of the notorious “Roaring Forties” winds that encircle the globe.
Most of Tasmania’s population is concentrated around the south east and north coasts. The Midlands (the area between Hobart and Launcestion) is primarily used for agriculture. The Huon Valley and the area between Launceston and Burnie is used for both agriculture and horticulture. The Central Highlands, the West Coast and the South West are all mountainous forested areas, a majority of which are protected inside national parks.
Tasmania is the most mountainous state of Australia, its tallest mountain is Mount Ossa at 1,617m (5,305 ft). 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 has a cool temperate climate with four distinct seasons.
- Summer December – February. Average maximum temperature is 21°C, average low 12°C.
- Autumn March – May. Very changeable weather.
- Winter June – August. Average maximum temperature is 12°C, average low 5°C. Most high lying areas receiving considerable snowfall.
- Spring September – November. Snowfall is common through to October.
The West Coast and the South West recieve a significantly higher amount of rainfall than anywhere else in the state. The number of rainy days per year in Tasmania is much greater than anywhere else in Australian. The saying “four seasons in a day” is very true here.
- Summer: approximately 15 hours of daylight. (05:30-20:50)
- Winter: approximately 9 hours of daylight. (07:40-16:40)
The first reported sighting of Tasmania by a European was on 24 November 1642 by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. Captain James Cook landed at Adventure Bay in 1777. Matthew Flinders and George Bass first proved Tasmania to be an island in 1798–99.
The first European settling of Tasmania was by the British at Risdon Cove on the eastern bank of the Derwent estuary in 1804. Penal settlements were established at Sullivans Cove (Hobart), Maria Island, Sarah Island, and Port Arthur. The colony changed its name from “Van Diemen’s Land” to “Tasmania” in 1856. The Colony of Tasmania existed from 1856 until 1901, when it federated together with the five other Australian colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia.
Tasmania’s main industries are mining (including copper, zinc, tin, and iron), forestry, agriculture, fresh produce (fruit, vegetables, dairy, seafood, beer and wine), and tourism.
National Public Holidays
- 1 January: New Years’ Day
- 26 January: Australia Day, marking the anniversary of the First Fleet’s landing in Sydney Cove in 1788.
- Easter weekend (“Good Friday”, “Easter Saturday”, “Easter Sunday” and “Easter Monday”): a four day long weekend in March or April set according to the Western Christian dates.
- 25 April: ANZAC Day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps), honouring military veterans
- Second Monday in June: Queen’s birthday holiday.
- 25 December: Christmas Day
- 26 December: Boxing Day
Regional Public Holidays
- Wednesday not earlier than fifth and not later than eleventh day of January: Devonport Cup
- Last Wednesday of February: Launceston Cup
- Second Monday of February: Royal Regatta Day (Southern Tasmania only)
- First Tuesday of March: King Island Show
- Second Monday of March: 8 Hour Day (Labour Day elsewhere in Australia)
- The Friday nearest the last day of November: AGFEST (Circular Head only)
- The Friday before the first Saturday of October: Burnie Show
- Thursday before the second Saturday of October: Royal Launceston Show
- The Friday before the third Saturday of October: Flinders Island Show
- The Friday before the third Saturday of October: Royal Hobart Show
- First Monday of November: Recreation Day (Northern Tasmania only)
- The Friday nearest the last day of November: Devonport Show
When a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday (and Tuesday if necessary) are usually declared holidays in lieu, although both the celebrations and the retail closures will occur on the day itself. Most tourist attractions are closed Christmas Day and Good Friday. Supermarkets and other stores may open for limited hours on some public holidays and on holidays in lieu, but are almost always closed on Christmas Day (25 Dec), Good Friday, Easter Sunday and ANZAC Day morning.
Time Zone Edit
Tasmania is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 18 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). Daylight Saving is observed from the first Sunday of October to the first Sunday of April the following year.
AEST – Australian Eastern Standard Time UTC+10
AEDT – Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time UTC+11
Tasmanian Devil Edit
Since 1996 devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has drastically reduced the devil population and now threatens the survival of the species, which in 2008 was declared to be endangered. The disease is a transmissible cancer, which means that it is contagious and passed from one animal to another. Individual devils die within months of infection. Programs are currently being undertaken by the Tasmanian Government to reduce the impact of the disease, including an initiative to build up a colonies of healthy devils in captivity, isolated from the disease. As of 2008 there is an estimated 10,000–15,000 remaining in the wild.