About Tasmania

Sitting just 240 kilometres south-east of mainland Australia, Tasmania has long had the nickname Apple Isle due to the large amount of fruit grown there. In Tasmania, you are never far from water and mountains - it has more than 1,000 mountain peaks. More than 40 per cent of the island is protected as national parks and reserves, which are home to some of the world's rarest animals.

Every Name Tells A Story

The names of rivers, coastal features, districts and their streets tell a lot about the history of a place. Australia has plenty of unusual place names, but when it comes to the strange, quirky and sometimes downright rude (by modern meaning of words), Tasmania has it all over the other states.

The reason for that is that much of Tasmania was pioneered by Scottish and Irish migrants. There's nothing unusual about that, except that the ones Tasmania inherited all seem to have had a rather strange sense of humour when it came to naming places. As expected, they splashed plenty of Irish and Scottish place names about, but then they threw some rather colourful, whimsical, odd-ball names into Tasmania's nomenclature pot for good measure.

Click or tap a heading below for more information. Click or tap the heading again to hide the information


Tasmania lies between latitudes 40" and 43.5" south and its climate is temperate maritime. The State's location on the northern edge of the "Roaring Forties" (a westerly airstream), plus its mountainous terrain, produce marked variations of climate, particularly of rainfall. Tasmania has the highest average rainfall of any Australian State. Annual rainfall can be as high 3600 mm in the west and as low as 500 mm in the east. In the west and north-west, maximum rainfall is received in winter. In the east and south-east, rainfall is more evenly distributed throughout the year.


For a small population base Tasmania has produced a number of significant people in many areas including the actor Errol Flynn, the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (Mary Donaldson) and Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting.

In the past decade Tasmania's population has grown at a rate faster than France, but the growth is still relatively low compared to other states, according to a recent Deloitte Access Economics report. The population growth is considered an important driver for the improved business and economic outlook in the state. In the past, natural increase has been the state's biggest population driver but it now ranks behind overseas migration and interstate migration. But, like the rest of Australia, Tasmania has an ageing population.

In 2008, interstate migration was a net negative in Tasmania, meaning more people were leaving the state to go to other parts of Australia than moving to it. But the Deloitte's Report recorded a recent reversal of this trend and now interstate migration is the second biggest driver of population growth. However the population increase has put a squeeze on housing and led to complaints about traffic congestion.

Tasmanian Aboriginal at Oyster Cove, 1868. Photo: courtesy National Library of Australia

Aboriginal Tasmanians

First arriving in Tasmania (then a peninsula of Australia) around 40,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Aboriginal Tasmanians were cut off from the Australian mainland by rising sea levels c. 6000 BC. They were entirely isolated from the rest of the human race for 8,000 years until British contact. For much of the 20th century, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people were widely, and erroneously, thought of as being an extinct cultural and ethnic group. Contemporary figures (2016) for the number of people of Tasmanian Aboriginal descent vary according to the criteria used to determine this identity, ranging from 6,000 to over 23,000.

Before British colonisation in 1803, there were an estimated 3,000 15,000 Palawa. The Palawa population suffered a drastic drop in numbers within three decades, so that by 1835 only some 400 full-blooded Tasmanian aborigines survived, most of this remnant being incarcerated in camps where all but 47 died within the following 12 years. No consensus exists as to the cause, over which a major controversy arose, and it is still debated today.


Parliament House, Hobart, Tasmania's seat of government

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. Under the Australian Constitution, Tasmania ceded certain legislative and judicial powers to the Commonwealth, but retained complete independence in all other areas. In practice, however, the independence of the Australian states has been greatly eroded by the increasing financial domination of the Commonwealth.


Tasmania's erratic economy was first experienced by colonists in the early 1800s. The reasons have been many and varied over the years, and have often been attributed to: lack of federal infrastructure, lack of a gold rush, lack of open immigration initiatives, lack of population, decline in the wool and mineral 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 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 trained and experienced working 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 &emdash; its annual budget is similar to that of the city of Brisbane.

Tasmania's economic woes have caused many Tasmanians to view the world and their place in it quite differently from the rest of Australia. Consequently, Tasmania has a thriving, though under-resourced, arts community and environmental movement. However, this has turned out to be as much a divisive as an inclusive issue in respect of Tasmanian's sense of identity. The thrust of the environmental lobby has resulted in large areas of the state being conserved in national parks and other protected areas thus limiting economic development through means of industries such as forestry and mining as well as new places of settlement for future population growth. The position of the environmentalist lobby is that such developmental limtation is offset by enhanced tourism prospects.

Agriculture is an important part of Tasmania's economy and agricultural establishments occupy about 29 per cent of Tasmania's total land area. The most fertile regions of the State lie along the north-west and east and along the river valleys of the Midlands and south-east plateau. There is a considerable diversity in the State's agricultural activity. Beef cattle establishments are distributed throughout the State, sheep are run mainly in the Midlands and south-east plateau regions, and dairy cattle and pigs are centred in the north and north-west areas.

Sheep numbers have increased to 5.3 million and the State produces more than 20,000 tonnes of wool a year (2012 data). About 432,800 cattle are kept for meat and 135,800 for milk. Dairying is an important part of agricultural activity, with dairy products contributing about 15 per cent of the total value of agricultural production. Although the State's apple crop has declined considerably over the past 10 years to fewer than 60,000 tonnes, apples remain a significant crop. Vegetable growing, mainly for the processing industry, is well established in the north-east and north-west regions. Tasmania produces about 25 per cent of the Australian potato crop, worth about $60 million. Hops, peas and French beans are among the other crops.

In recent years, marketing difficulties in many of the traditional areas, especially orchard, dairy and beef production, have prompted many farmers to investigate alternative livestock types and crops. These include goats, mainly for cashmere and mohair fibre production, and deer for the venison market. Leading alternative crops in commercial production include oil poppies for the pharmaceutical industry and lavender. Other essential oil crops under development include peppermint, fennel, boronia and pyrethrum. Fishing is another important primary industry and the annual catch includes scale fish, shark, scallops, oysters, abalone, and crayfish (southern rock lobster). Gross value of production is about $150 million.


Children must attend school between the ages of six and 16. Government primary and secondary schools are free and largely co-educational while primary and secondary education are also available through private or church organisations. Tertiary education is provided by the University of Tasmania at Hobart and Launceston and the Australian Maritime College, Australia's centre for maritime studies.

Technical and further education, which includes adult education, is provided at colleges at Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie and Queenstown. Other adult education centres are in Smithton, Scottsdale, Campbell Town, Oatlands and Huonville. Correspondence courses are available for isolated students and others unable to attend regular classes.


In order to foster tourism, the state government encourages or supports several different annual events in and around the island. The best known of these would be 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 Hobart Summer Festival.

The Targa Tasmania road rally, usually held in late April or early May, attracts world class rally drivers and is staged all over the state, over five days. Agfest is a three day agricultural show held at Carrick (just west of Launceston) in early May, and despite its agricultural focus it attracts city and country residents - 75000 people in 2004. Other major shows include the Royal Hobart Show and Royal Launceston Show, held in October of each year.

A recent addition to the state has been the 10 Days on the Island arts festival. Current festivals include Gone South, held four times since 1999, and the Falls Festival, a Victorian event now held in both Victoria and Tasmania on New Year's Eve. The Antarctic Midwinter Festival celebrates Hobart's special connection with the Antarctic, on the winter solstice in June each year.


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 (with white patches), offensive odour when stressed, loud and disturbing screeching, and vicious temperament. The Devil survived European settlement and until recently was widespread and fairly common throughout Tasmania.

By 2005, the Tasmanian Devil population has been reduced by about 90 percent in many areas of Tasmania by the "Devil Facial Tumour Disease". It is believed the majority have died of starvation when the tumours have spread to their mouths and that the tumours are caused by a virus spread by fighting between devils - typically, fighting devils will bite one another's faces.

Some have claimed that the tumours may be caused by uptake of poisons (aerially-sprayed herbicides, and 1080 - sodium monofluoroacetate) that Forestry Tasmania has been using to destroy weeds and so-called pest mammals in plantation forests, but devils with tumours have also been found in areas where no poisoning takes place.

Bennetts wallaby

The Bennetts wallaby is one of Tasmania s most commonly seen native animals. The species is also widespread in the southeast of mainland Australia, where it is known as the red-necked wallaby. Visitors to most of our national parks are highly likely to encounter these animals during their stay.

Other Mammals of Tasmania

Tasmania has many unique mammals found nowhere else in the world. Some, like the Tasmanian devil and Tasmanian tiger are well-known. Others, such as the eastern quoll, pademelon and bettong are less well-known, but equally fascinating. Like most of Australia's mammals, the Tasmanian mammal fauna comprises many marsupials, or pouched mammals. Marsupials are remarkable for their method of reproduction, such as the production of very tiny young which complete their development in a pouch.


Many birds of the Australian mainland and Southern Ocean also occur in Tasmania. Tasmania has 12 endemic bird species: four honeyeaters (family Melaphagidae) - the yellow wattlebird (world's largest honeyeater) and the yellow-throated, black-headed and strong-billed honeyeaters; 3 Australo-Papuan warblers (family Acanthizidae) - the Tasmanian thornbill, the scrubtit and the Tasmanian scrubwren; 1 pardalote (family Pardalotidae) - the rare and endangered forty-spotted pardalote; 1 old-world flycatcher (family Muscicapidae) - the dusky robin; 1 corvid (family Corvidae) - the black currawong; 1 parrot (family Psittacidae) - the green rosella; and 1 rail (family Rallidae) - the Tasmanian native hen, Australia's only flightless bird other than the giant ratites (emu and southern cassowary). The endemic Tasmanian Emu was exterminated in the mid-1800s.

Illustration: courtesy University of Tasmania

The Thylacine

The island of Tasmania was home to the Thylacine, a marsupial equivalent of a wild dog (dingo). Known colloquially as the Tasmanian Tiger because of the distinctive striping across its back, it became extinct on 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 also appears to have been exterminated in Tasmania. The last known animal died in captivity in 1936. Many alleged sightings have been recorded, none of them confirmed.


Tasmania is a rugged island of temperate climate, so similar in some ways to pre-industrial England that it was referred to by some English colonists as 'a Southern England'. Geographically, Tasmania is similar to New Zealand to its east, but as Tasmania has been volcanically inactive in recent geological times, Tasmania has 'rounded smooth' mountain ranges similar to mainland Australia, unlike most of New Zealand. The most mountainous region is the Central Highlands area, which covers most of the central west parts of the state.

The central east area (the Midlands) is fairly flat by comparison, and is predominantly used for agriculture, although farming activity is also scattered around the state. The West Coast, being populated and having historically over a 150 years of mineral exploration and exploitation, is a vital region to the state for its high rainfall which has powered hydro-electric schemes, and its earnings from mineral activities. The West Coast Range has had some of the more well known West Coast mines on its slopes - notably the Mount Lyell mine.

The South-West region, in particular, is densely forested, the National Park holding some of the last temperate rainforests in the Southern Hemisphere. Management of such an isolated and inaccessible area has been made easier and more reliable with the advent of satellite imaging.

Most of the population lives on and around the coastal rivers - the Derwent and Huon Rivers in the south, the Tamar and Mersey Rivers in the north. The temperate climate (Tasmania is the only Australian state with any land below the 40th parallel,) rustic environment and numerous historic features (eg, Richmond Bridge in south-eastern Tasmania is the oldest bridge in Australia) has made Tasmania a popular choice for retirees, many of whom prefer a temperate climate over a tropical one such as Queensland.

Natural Resources

Tasmania is well endowed with natural resources. About 40 per cent of the State is covered by forest and most of the timber cut is native hardwood, but plantations of exotic softwoods are being established. As well as providing raw materials for the building and construction industries, the forests are exploited for paper production (newsprint, fine and writing papers), wood pulp, hardboard, and plywood. Tasmania also has significant mineral deposits. The richest are in the rugged western region of the State and more than 2 million tonnes each of iron ore pellets and scheelite-concentrate are produced annually. Latest available figures show that 632 000 tonnes of raw coal and 356 000 tonnes of washed coal are produced annually.

Smaller quantities of zinc-concentrate, tin-concentrate, copper, silver and gold are produced. Additionally there are deposits of black coal and lead. Sulphuric acid is produced in the south.

King Island, off the north-west tip of the State, has a large scheelite industry and is Australia's main producer of tungsten. The island has a thriving kelp industry. It is the world's largest single producer of alginates, supplying about one third of the world's need. The State's tourism industry &endash; worth more than $530 million a year and employing more than 17,000 Tasmanians; is continually growing. Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed a 11.4 per cent occupancy increase which translated into a $1.6 million increase in takings.

Abundance of high country and rainfall have created ideal conditions for hydro-electric power generation and the ready availability of cheap power has been a major factor in determining the development of some industries. The electrolytic production of metals such as aluminium provides a leading example. Tasmania's electricity requirements are provided by the Hydro-Electric Commission from a system based almost entirely on hydro installations. The total installed generator capacity is more than 2 million kW, of which 90 per cent is supplied by the hydro network.

Manufacturing remains one of the main contributors to the local economy. It accounts for almost 20 per cent of the State's gross domestic product at factor cost, second to the government-dominated public administration, defence and community sectors. Manufacturing employs around 17 per cent of Tasmania's workforce producing a wide range of goods, including food, textiles, clothing, footwear, wood and paper products, chemicals, metals, transport equipment, industrial machines, and household appliances.

Three areas account for most manufacturing in Tasmania: food and beverages; wood, wood products and furniture; and paper, paper products, printing and publishing. They account for just over 60 per cent of the manufacturing turnover. Communication and transport within the State are helped by a well-developed road system. Air and sea connections exist with the Australian mainland.


The fastest and cheapest method of travel across Bass Strait is by air. The main carriers are Qantas, JetStar, and Virgin Blue, which fly direct routes to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide. Major airports include the Hobart International Airport and Launceston Airport; the smaller airports are serviced by Regional Express who generally fly only to Melbourne and the Bass Strait islands.

The domestic sea route is being serviced by 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. In 2002 replacement, the Spirit was replaced by two purpose-built 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 but it was withdrawn from service in August 2006 due to its unprofitability. Spirit of Tasmania I and II continue to provide an efficient, affordable car and passenger ferry service between Melbourne (Victoria) and Devonport (Tasmaia). The service operates overnight in both directions with some day services in peak periods.

Non passengers services operate between Devonport and Melbourne. Two container ships owned by Toll Shipping also make daily crossings between Burnie and Melbourne.

The port of Hobart serves as a host to visiting cruise ships. Tasmania, and Hobart in particular, serves as Australia's chief sea link to the Antarctic and South Pacific, 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. Within the state, the primary form of transport is by road. Since the 1980s, many of the states highways have undergone regular upgrades. These include the Hobart Southern Outlet, Launceston Southern Outlet, Bass Highway re-construction, and the Huon Highway.

Tasmania's rail network consists of narrow gauge lines to all four major population centers and to mining or forestry operations on the west coast and north-west. Regular passenger train services in the state ceased in 1977; the only trains are for freight, and tourist trains in specific areas on private lines. The West Coast Wilderness Railway being a good example of a rebuilt tourism specific railway (2002).

Notable Tasmanians

Aboriginal Tasmanians

Mathinna (1835-1856)

Most of the towns, properties, mountains and landmarks in the Fingal Valley were given names by the early settlers that related to their homeland, with the Irish theme being the most dominant. But two gold mining towns in the area ended up with Aboriginal names. One was Mangana, the other was Mathinna. The story of the person behind the name Mathinna is of more significance than the history of the town itself, as it is a reminder of a dark chapter in Tasmanian history that should never be forgotten or repeated.

Truganini (1812-1876)

Trugernanner, often referred to as Truganini, was a woman widely considered to be the last "full blood" Palawa (Tasmanian Aborigine). There are a number of other transcriptions (or spellings) of her Palawa language name, including: Trugannini, Trucanini, Trucaminni, and Trucaninny. Robinson had given European names to all the Tasmanians who arrived at the Island in attempt to suppress their culture. Hers was Lalla Rooke, however she resisted using it and was only ever called it by Robinson.

Fanny Cochrane Smith (1834-1905)

Fanny Cochrane is believed to have been the last speaker of a Tasmanian Aboriginal language. She was born in 1834 at Wybalenna on Flinders island. Her mother was Tanganutura of the North eastern tribe. As a young girl Tanganutura had been moved to Wybalenna on Flinders Island with others of her tribe and family by George Augustus Robinson, Protector of the Aborigines. She was abducted soon after her arrival by a sealer named James Parish. Upon her return to Wybalenna, Tanganutura took Nicermenic as her husband.

Fictional Tasmanians

Taz, The Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil, often referred to as Taz, is an animated cartoon character featured in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes series of cartoons. The character appeared in only five shorts before Warner Bros. Cartoons closed down in 1964, but marketing and television appearances later propelled the character to new popularity in the 1990s.

Young Albert Einstein

Young Albert Einstein is a fictional character based loosely on the notable scientist Albert Einstein, as depicted in the 1988 Australian jmade comedy filom, Young Einstein, directed by and starring Yahoo Serious. In the film, the early life of the physicist Albert Einstein is relocated to Tasmania. Here, he is the son of an apple farmer in the early 1900s, who splits a beer atom with a chisel in order to add bubbles to beer, discovers the theory of relativity and travels to Sydney to patent it.

Royal Tasmanians

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat, RE, was born Mary Elizabeth Donaldson on 5 February 1972 in Hobart, Tasmania. She is the wife of Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark. Frederik is the heir apparent to the throne of Denmark, which means that at the time Frederik inherits the throne, Mary will automatically assume the feminine form of his title and rank, becoming Queen consort of Denmark. The couple met at the Slip Inn, a pub in Sydney, when the prince was visiting Australia during the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Celebrity Tasmanians

Errol Flynn, actor

Once upon a time, when old movies travelled the crackling airwaves and before everything in black-and-white had been banished to TCM, Tasmanian born Errol Flynn was one of the kings of late-night TV. Countless hours of school-night sleep were sacrificed to "Captain Blood," "The Sea Hawk," "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and Flynn's cry of "Welcome to Sherwood!". His star may have faded since his heyday in the 1930s and 40s, but the dashing Flynn is regarded even now as one of the most beautiful men to ever work in Hollywood.

Political Tasmanians

Joseph Lyons, Prime Minister (1879-1939)

Joseph Aloysius Lyons CH was the tenth Prime Minister of Australia, serving from January 1932 until his death. He had earlier served as Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928, and was the first, and to date only, prime minister from Tasmania. Lyons was born on 15 September 1879 at Stanley, Tasmania, son of Irish-born parents Michael Henry Lyons and his wife Ellen, nee Carroll. His early education was at St Joseph's Convent School, Ulverstone.

Fast Facts

Hobart is Tasmania's capital city. The southern-most and second oldest state capital, Hobart is an historic port situated in a picturesque natural setting beside the deep Derwent River estuary and in the shadow of the mass of Mount Wellington. Hobart has retained its links with its maritime past by retaining its Georgian colonial stone buildings and fishermen's wharves that are lined with sandstone warehouses.

Size: Tasmania is about the same size as the Republic of Ireland, the Japanese island of Hokkaido, or the US state of West Virginia. Within this relatively small area lies an enormous diversity of micro-climates, from rugged mountains and forests, to fertile coastal plains and river valleys.  Most regions enjoy fertile soils, reliable rainfall, and none of the extremes of temperature that limit gardens in many parts of the world.

Having four distinct seasons, though none of the extremes, quite differing experiences can be accessed at various times of year.

Getting There: Because it is an island, Tasmania is the only state of Australia that cannot be reached by road, unless of course you take the car ferry from Melbourne to the north coastal Tasmanian port of Devonport. This is a popular option for mainlanders as one needs a motor vehicle when touring Tasmania as public transport options are limited.

The Southern Aurora

Southern Aurora, Howden, Tasmania

In northern latitudes, the effect of an aurora is well known. It is given the name aurora borealis (or the northern lights), after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, by Pierre Gassendi in 1621. Lesser known is its southern counterpart, the aurora australis (or the southern lights), which has almost identical features to the aurora borealis. Tasmania, King Island and Southern Victoria are the most likely places to see a southern aurora.

Yesteryear: Bass Strait Ferries

Bass Strait Ferries

In the 1950s, the Federal Government agreed to built a number of such vessels to service Tasmania, to be operated by their Australian National Line. The first of these revolutionary new ships was the Newcastle-built motor vessel Princess of Tasmania in 1959. Then the largest roll-on/roll-off ship in the world, to pioneer what became Australia's premier car and passenger ferry service, operating between Tasmania and the mainland.

Tasmania's Wilderness

Lake Oberon

Covering an area of over 1 million hectares, the Tasmanian Wilderness constitutes one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world. It comprises a contiguous network of reserved lands that extends over much of south-western Tasmania including several coastal islands. The insularity of Tasmania, and of the Tasmanian Wilderness in particular, has contributed to its uniqueness and has helped to protect it from the impact of exotic species which has seriously affected the mainland fauna.

Tasmania's Wildflowers

For many visitors, the best time to see Tasmania is spring mainly because of the mild weather, however the profusion of wildflowers is an added bonus. There's no single spot that stands out as the place to go to see Tasmania's wildflowers, you'll find them practically anywhere where there's a walking path through untouched countryside from September to November. The wildflowers of the alpine regions are in full bloom in summer, which is perhaps the best season to walk the tracks of the high country.

Tasmania's Convict Past

Port Arthur

The transportation of British convicts to Australia came about as a result of the poverty, social injustice, child labour, harsh and dirty living conditions and long working hours that were prevalent in 19th-century Britain. Tasmania was the second colony to be established by the British, in 1803. Tasmania's first penal colony was established at Macquarie Harbour (Sarah Island) on the west coast in 1822.

Tasmania's Convict Sites


The probation and assignment systems resulted in convicts making roads, erecting buildings and bridges and working on farms in and around the first townships throughout the colonies. In Tasmania, much of what the convicts created during the transportation years (1818 to 1853) remains, and Tasmania now has the largest collection of convict buildings and infrastructure of all the states.

Ghost Towns of Tasmania

East Pillinger

Most Tasmanian ghost towns are former mining settlements, which were more often than not located in dense rainforest on isolated mountain sides. Extreme weather conditions and the tendancy of rainforests to grow back in cleared areas very quickly, has seen many a mining settlement reclaimed by the bush within a few short years, and all that remains today are foundations of former buildings or remants of a graveyard, a railway or abandoned mining equipment.

Tasmania's Lighthouses

Cape Bruny light

No one quite knows why but many people have a fascination for lighthouses. Every photographer has at least one dramatic shot of a lighthouse in his/her collection. Tourists love climbing them, in part for the view but perhaps also because they hold a strange fascination like no other man made structure.

Historic Churches

St Marks, Deloraine

Anglicanism has remained the largest Christian denomination in Tasmania during two centuries of European settlement. For the first half of the nineteenth century the Church of England was treated by government as the colony's official though not 'established' religion. Robert Knopwood, the first colonial chaplain, carried responsibility for the spiritual oversight of the entire colony until 1818.

Heritage Railways

West Coast Wilderness Railway

Sadly rail travel as a means of public transport around Tasmania is long gone - the remaining rail network is used exclusevley for the carriage of freight these days. However a number of history buffs and rail enthusiasts have rescued or revived some of the many historic railway journeys using sections of old line that are no longer connected to the main network.

State flag

Adopted 29th November 1875, the Tasmanian flag is the Blue Ensign with the State badge. The badge consists of a red lion within a white circle. This design reflects historical ties with England. The badge was approved by the British Colonial office in 1875. It has remained largely unchanged since then. It was officially proclaimed in 1975.

Coat of Arms



Animal: Tasmanian Devil (unofficial)

Floral: Tasmanian Blue Gum

Gemstone: Crocoite

Motto: "Ubertas et Fidelitas" (Fertility and Faithfulness)

Nickname: The Apple Isle

Time zone: UTC+10 (+11 AEST)

Website: www.tas.gov.au

 - Total: 90,758 km2 (7th)
 - Land: 68,401 km2
 - Water: 22,357 km2 (24.63%)

Population (2010)
 - Population: 507,643 (6th)
 - Density: 6.92/km2 (4th)

 - Postal: TAS
 - ISO:  3166-2: AU-TS

Profile and Statistics


Highest Mountains (height)

  • Mount Ossa: 1,614 m
  • Legges Tor: 1,572 m
  • Mt Pelion West: 1,560 m
  • Barn Bluff: 1,559 m
  • Cradle Mountain: 1,545 m
  • Stacks Bluff: 1,527 m
  • Mt Geryon: 1,520 m
  • Mt Massif: 1,514 m

Longest Rivers (length)

  • South Esk: 252 km
  • Derwent: 215 km
  • Arthur: 189 km
  • Gordon: 186 km
  • Huon: 169 km
  • Mersey: 158 km
  • Franklin: 129 km
  • North Esk: 97 km
  • Pieman: 38 km

Largest lakes (area)
(a) Man-made
(b) Natural lake enlarged by dams

  • Lake Gordon (a): 271 km2
  • Lake Pedder( b): 239 km2
  • Great Lake (b): 170 km2
  • Arthurs Lake (b): 64 km2
  • Lake Sorell (b): 52 km2
  • Lake Burbury (a): 49 km2
  • Lake King William (a): 42 km2
  • Lake Echo (b): 40 km2
  • Lake Mackintosh (a): 30 km2
  • Lake St Clair (b): 30 km2
  • Lake Pieman (a): 22 km2


  • Length of Tasmanian mainland coastline:
    2,833 km
  • Length of Tasmanian islands' coastline:
    2,049 km
  • Marine area: 22,357 sq km
  • Marine area (percentage of Australia): 5.5%