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Countries, Places - Tasmania

by Mari Carmen (ex Y5, 2007-08)

Tasmania belongs to Australia. It is in the south of Australia and consists of a main island and some little islands around it. Its capital city is Hobart. Its climate is warm and wet. The greatest part of the island is a forest. There is not much population. Most Tasmanian people are white, originally British, but there are aborigines as well. Its economy is based on cattle, mining and metallurgy.

The first inhabitants of the island were aborigines who left Australia after the last Ice Age and lived there on their own until Europeans arrived in the 19th century. In the last century aborigines claimed their land and Tasmania returned them 12 parcels of land where they can live nowadays. Throughout history, white people have tried to abuse aborigines, sometimes  assaulting them and other times trying to  ‘civilise and Christianise’ them.

Aborigines were hunters and fisherpeople. They had totems and taboos. Through stories and songs they passed on knowledge of how their world, the animals, the plants and the people were created.
When British people arrived, they took prisoners with them and made them work in quarries and shipyards. Convicts sometimes struck suicide pacts where one would kill the other and then be transported to Hobart to face the gallows.  Many escaped, but they were recaptured or died or became bushrangers.

Tasmania has always had a close relationship with The Antarctic, and Hobert is the main link between The Antartic and the rest of the world.

Tasmania’s isolation from Australia has ensured the survival of many plants and animals that are rare, or even extinct, in other parts of  the country. In many national parks, animals are often easier to observe, especially at dusk because many of the animals are nocturnal. Some of this animals are:

The Tasmanian Tiger, also called the Tasmanian Wolf, is a large marsupial native to Tasmania. Most scientists believe it to be extinct.

Wallabies are marsupials which, at first glance, look exactly like small kangaroos. They feed off seeds and grasses. Wild wallabies are quite friendly toward humans and can often be hand-fed.

Tasmanian devils are known for their foul temper. They generally eat dead animals of all kinds, but may eat other small mammals or reptiles. They have some of the strongest jaws of any animal, and generally eat the entirety of their prey. One time a family of Devils were found to have eaten a horse and left only the skull and tail. They used to exist in Australia too, but were extinct there by the dingo.

In the ocean, there are many kinds of animals as seals, penguins, dolphins and whales.

Something curious is that every Saturday there is a market in Hobart called Salamanca Market which is very popular. Salamanca Place consists of rows of sandstone buildings, formerly warehouses for the port of Hobart. Today they have been converted into restaurants, galleries, craft shops and offices. It was named after the victory in 1812 of the Duke of Wellington in the Battle of Salamanca in the Spanish province of Salamanca! It was previously called "The Cottage Green". Salamanca Place is popular because of the market and also because of its night life,  with bars and restaurants located there and the nearby docks.

Aother curiosity is thatTasmania is known as the 'Apple Isle' because for many years, it was one of the world's major apple producers. Apples are still grown in large numbers, particularly in southern Tasmania. Tasmania's apples recently gained distinction as the first to be approved by the Japanese government for import, due to their verifiable pest-free status.

Tasmania is a quiet place with a clean environment, where there are no worries and no hurries. It is well prepared for  tourism -- there are many different kinds of places to stay and  you can find all sorts of  adventure and sport.

More: The Interactive Tour of Tasmania! external link