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Tasmania

Tasmania (tăzmā´nēə), island state (1991 pop. 359,286), 26,383 sq mi (68,332 sq km), SE Commonwealth of Australia. It is separated from Australia by the Bass Strait and lies 150 mi (240 km) south of the state of Victoria. Tasmania includes many offshore islands, among which are Bruny, the Hunter Islands, the Furneaux Group, King Island, and Macquarie Island. The Indian Ocean is to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Hobart is the state capital. The only other city with a population of more than 50,000 is Launceston.

Tasmania is geologically similar to the Australian continent and was once connected to it. The climate is equable and the rainfall moderate. The island is mountainous with considerable forestation; Legge Tor (5,160 ft/1,573 m) is the highest peak. Great Lake in the interior is the largest lake and the reservoir of an important hydroelectric plant. Tasmania has the highest proportion of national park land of all Australian states; a little less than half the island is protected.

Sawmilling and woodchipping industries are important. Agriculture is confined almost exclusively to small farms; among the crops grown are opium poppies for medicinal drugs. The raising of sheep for wool in the east and dairy farming in the northwest are also important. The mining of copper, zinc, tin, lead, and iron has increased in recent years. The state's major manufactures are metals and metal products. Tourism also is growing in significance, due in part to better ferry connections to the continent.

The island was explored in 1642 by the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, who named it Van Diemen's Land. Capt. James Cook visited the island in 1777 and, in 1803, Great Britain took possession and established a penal colony. The indigenous population, which had been on the island some 35,000 years, numbered about 5,000 at the time of colonization; they were subsequently decimated, with only a few mixed-race survivors. Governed by New South Wales until 1825, Tasmania was then constituted as a separate colony. The transportation of convicts ended in 1853 as a result of local opposition. In the 1850s the British established constitutional self-government in the colony and the name was officially changed to Tasmania. In 1901, Tasmania was federated as a state in the Commonwealth of Australia. The nominal head of the state government is the governor, appointed by the British crown on advice of the cabinet; however, actual executive powers are exercised by the premier and the cabinet, who are responsible to the bicameral state parliament.

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"Tasmania." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Tasmania

Tasmania (formerly Van Dieman's Land), a 26,282-square-mile island 150 miles south of Victoria, and member state of the federal Commonwealth of Australia, has a population (2002) of 470,000. Hobart (population 195,000), established 1803, is the largest city and state capital. Its Aboriginal inhabitants, none of whose descendants now survive as full-blooded Aborigines, numbered c.4,000 at the coming of the British. The island's original inhabitants probably came across Bass Strait during a period of low sea level.

Discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1642 and named Van Dieman's Land it became infamous, following British occupation in 1803, for its ill-treatment of convicts (especially at Hell's Gate and Port Arthur) and the extermination of its Aboriginal population. Its name was changed to Tasmania in 1856 to help rid the island of its evil reputation. Until the 1860s Tasmania was Australia's major wooden shipbuilding centre and an important exporter of food to the mainland. The island lost population and was adversely affected by the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851.

The island's agricultural settlements and typically small farms are concentrated in its northern and south-eastern lowland areas leaving the mainly rugged, mountainous, and high-rainfall forested western two-thirds largely uninhabited. The latter was for a time after 1880 important for the mining of tin, gold, lead, silver, and copper (Queenstown, Zeehan, and Mount Lyell). Today the island's mountainous centre and west's main economic resources are tourism and the production and export of hydroelectricity to lowland centres of metal-refining and paper and pulp and cement manufacture. Tasmania's natural beauty has encouraged a strong environmental movement. The island is politically notable for its adoption of the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation.

Martyn Webb

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Tasmania

Tasmania Island state of Australia, separated from Victoria by the Bass Strait. The chief cities are Hobart, the state capital in the s, and Launceston in the n. Tasmania is mountainous and forested, with a temperate maritime climate. The first European discovery was made by Abel Tasman in 1642, and it was named Van Diemen's Land. In 1777, Captain Cook visited it and claimed it for the British, who established a penal colony. In 1825, Tasmania became a separate colony and it was federated as a state of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. Mineral deposits include copper, tin and zinc. The development of hydroelectric power has stimulated the growth of manufacturing. Industries: metallurgy, textiles. Area: 68,332sq km (26,383sq mi). Pop. (2000 est.) 470,100.

http://www.tas.gov.au; http://www.discovertasmania.com.au

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Tasmania

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