A Collection of Interesting, Fun And Unique Facts

21 Interesting Facts About Tasmania

Tasmania – known by the locals as ‘Tassie’ – is an island off the south-east Coast of Australia with a population of just over half a million. It’s a popular tourist destination for its scenic landscapes and tranquillity. Here’s a list of 21 Tasmania facts that you might not know:

  • Tasmania is the 26th-largest island in the world – but it also includes a bunch of smaller islands: In total, Tasmania is surrounded by 334 islands.
  • One of these islands, Boundary Islet, is divided in half between Tasmanian and Victorian territory: This was due to a mapping error in 1801. This is Tasmania’s only land border.
  • The southern most point of Tasmania – and of Australia – are the Bishop and Clerk Islets: There have only been 3 recorded human visits to them, in 1965, 1976 and 1993.
  • The Aboriginal population of Tasmania was between around 5,000 when Britain colonists arrived: This number fell dramatically due to conflict and introduced diseases.
  • The British Empire settled Tasmania as a prison colony in 1803: Convicts were transported from Britain to Tasmania over the next 50 years, with a total of 75,000 arriving.
  • Tasmania is named after Abel Tasman, who was the first European to report sighting it in 1642: Tasman actually named the island Van Diemen’s land – the name of his sponsor – but in 1856 it was changed to Tasmania.
  • Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, was initially known as Hobart Town or Hobarton: It is now home to 40% of the state’s population of 520,000. Hobart is named after the British Colonial Secretary Lord Hobart.
  • Launceston, a town of nearly 90,000 people in the island’s north, is Tasmania’s second-largest city: It holds the title of being the first Australian city to have underground sewers and to be the first to be lit by hydroelectricity.
  • In 1901, the Colony of Tasmania joined with 5 other Australian colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia: Tasmanians voted with the highest majority in favour of federation among Australia’s colonies.
  • One of Tasmania’s greatest disasters was the 1975 Tasman Bridge Collapse: A ship crashed into the bridge – which was Hobart’s main link over the Derwent River – and 12 people were killed.
  • The Tasman Bridge collapse had a profound impact on Hobart: The Eastern suburbs saw a sharp rise in crime as this area became more isolated from the rest of the city. It took 3 years to repair and reopen the bridge.
  • Tasmania is also known for a tragic crime carried out by a lone gunman in 1996: Martin Bryant killed 35 people in an event that would become known as the Port Arthur Massacre. This tragedy prompted Australia to adopt strict gun ownership laws.
  • One a more positive note, Tasmania was the scene of an inspirational mining rescue: Two miners were trapped underground for 14 days after the Beaconsfield Mine collapsed following an earthquake in 2005.
  • The Beaconsfield Mine collapse gripped Australia with round-the-clock coverage of the rescue: Larry Knight tragically died in the initial collapse but Brant Webb and Todd Russell were rescued 2 weeks later.
  • A major Tasmanian attraction is Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art, known as MONA: A wealthy – and slightly eccentric – philanthropist named David Walsh opened the museum in 2011.
  • A popular nickname for Tasmania is the Apple Isle: This refers to the fact that Tasmania was one of the world’s major producers of apples for many years. There are still many apple farms in the island’s south.
  • Australian Rules Football is very popular in Tasmania, but the state is yet to have its own AFL team: However, there are several AFL matches played in Tasmania every year, and many believe the state will one day have its own team.
  • Many famous people are originally from Hobart: These include Mary Donaldson, who is now the Crown Princess of Denmark; actors Simon Baker and Errol Flynn; and sports stars Ricky Ponting, David Boon, Matthew Richardson and Marcus Ambrose.
  • In 2009, scientists were shocked to discover jellyfish native to China in Lake Trevallyn, near Launceston: It is speculated that birds migrating from China may have brought the jellyfish with them and deposited them in the lake.
  • The highest point in Tasmania is Mount Ossa, which reaches 1,617 metres (5,305 ft) above sea level: The name comes from a mountain in Greece of the same name.
  • One of the most famous events that involves Tasmania is the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race: Competitors sail from Sydney on Boxing Day to Hobart. The shortest duration was 1 day 13h 31m 20s, set in 2016.

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