Portal:Tasmania/Selected article

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Portal:Tasmania/Selected article/1
Male devil

The Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), also referred to simply as 'the devil', is a carnivorous marsupial now found in the wild only in the Australian island state of Tasmania. The Tasmanian Devil is the only extant member of the genus Sarcophilus. The size of a small dog, but stocky and muscular, the Tasmanian Devil is now the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world (after the recent extinction of the Thylacine in 1936). It is characterised by its black fur, offensive odour when stressed, extremely loud and disturbing screech, and viciousness when feeding. It is known to both hunt prey and scavenge carrion and although it is usually solitary, it sometimes eats with other devils.

The Tasmanian Devil became extirpated on the Australian mainland about 400 years before European settlement in 1788. Because they were seen as a threat to livestock in Tasmania, devils were hunted until 1941, when they became officially protected. Since the late 1990s devil facial tumour disease has reduced the devil population significantly and now threatens the survival of the species, which may soon be listed as endangered. Programs are currently being undertaken by the Tasmanian government to reduce the impact of the disease.

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The Bell Bay Pulp Mill, also known as the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill, is a proposed $1.7 billion pulp mill which Gunns Limited is planning to build in the Tamar Valley, near Launceston, Tasmania. The proposed mill will use the Kraft process, Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) bleaching, and be fed with eucalypt forest timber. Construction of the mill is supported by the State Government who argue that the project will generate AUD $6.7 billion in spending over 25 years and create 2000 temporary jobs during the construction phase. Gunns claims its development could create 300 direct jobs and over 1,000 indirect jobs in the George Town area.

The proposed site is near the main shipping port in northern Tasmania, and is zoned heavy industrial. Industry already located at the site include an aluminium smelter, ferro-alloy processing plant, a power station, two operating woodchip mills and other timber processing operations.

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The Hobart downtown district and Mount Wellington

Hobart is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1803 as a penal colony, it is one of Australia's oldest cities and the eleventh most populous, with a population of approximately 200,525 in 2006. The city is the financial and administrative heart of Tasmania, and also serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations. Hobart is located on the estuary of the Derwent River in the state's south-east. The central business district is located on the western shore, with the inner suburbs spread out along the shores of the Derwent.

The first settlement began in 1803 as a penal colony at Risdon Cove on the eastern shores of the Derwent River, amid British concerns over the presence of French explorers. In 1804, it was moved to a better location at the present site of Hobart at Sullivan's Cove. The city, initially known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, was named after Lord Hobart the Colonial Secretary. The area's original inhabitants were members of the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe. Encounters with the Europeans and diseases brought by the settlers forced away the aboriginal population, which was replaced by free settlers and the convict population.

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A picture of the last four "full-blooded" Tasmanian Aborigines c.1860s.

The Tasmanian Aborigines were, or are, the indigenous people of the island state of Tasmania, Australia. In the space of thirty years (1803-1833), the population of the Tasmanian Aborigines was reduced from around 5,000 to around 300, largely from diseases introduced by British settlers. Since at least 1876, historians, scientists and anthropologists have held to the consensus that they became extinct with the death of the last full-blooded woman - Truganini. Within Australia there is an alternative view that aspects of their culture survive amongst those who are able to establish partial descent.

Those members of the modern-day descendent community who can claim ancestry to Tasmanian Aborigines are the result of the pre-colonisation Aboriginal population having been heavily interbred with later-arriving European settler communities. Almost all of the Indigenous Tasmanian language, and much of Tasmania's Aboriginal cultural heritage, have been lost. Currently there are some efforts to reconstruct one of the languages from the available wordlists and to revive the aboriginal culture from aspects maintained in some families who can trace their ascendancy from aboriginal people.

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Cradle Mountain and Little Horn

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair is a national park in Tasmania (Australia), 165 km northwest of Hobart. The park contains many beautiful walking trails, most famous of which is the Overland Track. Major features of the park are Lake St Clair and to the north, Cradle Mountain. This park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site. Wanting to avoid dangers of over-use, in 2005, the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service introduced a booking system & fee for use of the Overland Track over peak periods.

Access from the south (Lake St. Clair) is usually from Derwent Bridge on the Lyell Highway. Northern access (Cradle Valley) is usually via Sheffield, Wilmot or Mole Creek. The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a bastion of Tasmania's endemic species – 40-55% of the park's documented alpine flora is endemic. Furthermore, 68% of the higher rainforest species recorded in alpine areas in Tasmania are present in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. The park's alpine vegetation is very diverse and, fortunately, has largely escaped forest fires that have caused neighboring regions to suffer.

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Queens Battery in 1908, showing the excellent view of the entrances of the Derwent River.

The Hobart coastal defences are a network of now defunct coastal batteries, some of which are inter-linked with tunnels, that were designed and built by British colonial authorities in the nineteenth century to protect the city of Hobart, Tasmania, from attack by enemy warships. During the nineteenth century the port of Hobart Town was a vital re-supply stop for international shipping and trade, and therefore a major freight hub for the British Empire. As such it was considered vital that the colony be protected. In all, between 1804 and 1942 there were 12 permanent defensive positions constructed in the Hobart region.

Prior to Australian Federation the island of Tasmania was a colony of the British Empire, and as such was often at war with Britain’s enemies and European rivals, such as France and later Russia. The British had already established the colony of Sydney at Port Jackson in New South Wales in 1788, but soon began to consider the island of Tasmania as the potential site of a useful second colony. It was an island, cut off from the mainland of Australia and isolated geographically, making it ideal for a Penal Colony, and was rich in timber, a resource useful to the Royal Navy.

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1663 map of Van Diemen's Land, showing the parts discovered by Tasman, including Storm Bay, Maria Island and Schouten Island.

Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by Europeans for the island of Tasmania, now part of Australia. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to explore Tasmania. He named the island Anthoonij van Diemenslandt in honour of Anthony van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies who had sent Tasman on his voyage of discovery in 1642.

In 1803, the island was colonised by the British as a penal colony with the name Van Diemen's Land. From the 1830s to the abolition of penal transportation (known simply as "transportation") in 1853, Van Diemen's Land was the primary penal colony in Australia. Following the suspension of transportation to New South Wales, all transported convicts were sent to in Van Diemen's Land. In total, some 75,000 convicts were transported to Van Diemen's Land, or about 40% of all convicts sent to Australia.

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The Gordan Dam built in 1974

Hydro Tasmania, known for most of its history as The HEC, is the predominant electricity generator in the state of Tasmania, Australia. The Hydro is mainly involved with hydro-electricity, with power stations including 27 hydro-electric, one thermal and two diesel power stations. It also has one wind farm in service, with expansion and two additional wind farms in progress of being approved. In 1914, the State Government set up the Hydro-Electric Department (changed to the Hydro-Electric Commission in 1929) to complete the first HEC power station, the Waddamana power stations. The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company had built the Lake Margaret Power Station prior to the HEC completing Waddamana.

Hydro Tasmania was formed on the dis-aggregation of the Hydro Electric Commission on July 1, 1998. This resulted in the division of the formerly government owned department into three companies – Hydro Tasmania which generates the power, Transend Networks which transmits it across the state, and Aurora Energy, the retail arm, which sells and distributes it to customers. This was in anticipation of Tasmania joining the National Electricity Market, which occurred in May 2005.

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View of the city of Launceston

Launceston is a city in the north of the state of Tasmania, Australia, population approximately 71,000, located at the juncture of the North Esk, South Esk, and Tamar rivers. It is the second largest city in Tasmania after the state capital Hobart. Established in 1805, Launceston is one of Australia's oldest cities and has many historical buildings and sights. Like many Australian places, it was named after a town in the United Kingdom—in this case, Launceston, Cornwall.

Europeans originally settled at the mouth of the Tamar River (historically called Port Dalrymple) at George Town in 1804 but moved to the present site of Launceston in 1805. From 1803 until the proclamation of Van Diemen's Land in 1823, Launceston was the administrative capital of one the dependencies of New South Wales on the island. Launceston was once the home of John Batman (see History of Melbourne). From Launceston, Batman planned and designed the city of Melbourne, and in 1834 he sailed with John Pascoe Fawkner across Bass Strait to settle at Port Phillip, Victoria.

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The main building of Port Arthur

Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula, in Tasmania, Australia. Port Arthur is one of Australia's most significant heritage areas and officially Tasmania's top tourist attraction. Known for its harsh conditions, dark history and stark beauty, it is located approximately 60 km south east of the state capital, Hobart. In 1996 it was the scene of the worst mass murder event in Australian history. Since 1987 the site has been managed by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, funded by the Tasmanian Government.

Port Arthur was named after Van Diemen's Land lieutenant governor George Arthur. The settlement started as a timber station in 1830; it is best known for being a penal colony. From 1833, until 1850s, it was a destination for the hardest of convicted British and Irish criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia. Rebellious personalities from other convict stations were also sent here, a quite undesirable punishment.

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The Centenary Building of the University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania (also abbreviated as UTAS, UTas or Tas Uni) is an Australian university, with three campuses in Tasmania. A 'sandstone university', it is the fourth-oldest university in Australia, and was established over a century ago. It was founded on 1 January 1890, and is a member of the international Association of Commonwealth Universities. The university works with overseas universities to offer students an international experience, with exchange arrangements in place with over 40 institutions throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

Its two main campuses are the Sandy Bay Campus, about 5 minutes from the centre of the city of Hobart, and the Newnham Campus, about 10 minutes from the smaller city of Launceston. The third is the small Cradle Coast Campus (formerly called the North-West Study Centre), located in Burnie, offers a small number of full degrees, and also offers first year studies in a number of subjects to attract students from that area of the state, and to facilitate rural/regional studies in particular areas. The university, The Australian Maritime College and TAFE Tasmania are the only institutions of higher education in Tasmania.

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The Tasmanian languages are the indigenous languages of the island of Tasmania, Australia. The Tasmanian languages are believed to have become extinct in 1905, with the death of the last known speaker, Fanny Cochrane Smith. Only little of the languages is known and no conclusive relationships with other languages were found so far, although it has been proposed that they are related to other Australian Aboriginal languages, mainly based on some phonological similarities. On the other hand, Joseph Greenberg proposed an Indo-Pacific languages superfamily also containing Andamanese languages and Papuan languages but not Australian Aboriginal languages. This hypothesis has not met with acceptance by historical linguists.

Fanny Cochrane Smith recorded a series of wax cylinder recordings of Aboriginal songs, the only existing audio recording of the Tasmanian indigenous languages. In 1972, a lady in Hobart shared with Terry Crowley one sentence and a few words that had been handed down for generations, of a language last spoken for daily communication in the 1830s. From these sources, Tasmanian people are seeking to recover their lost languages and traditions. The largest language revival project to date is the Palawa kani project.

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The Freycinet Peninsula is a major producer of red wine in Tasmania

Tasmanian wine is produced in the Australian state of Tasmania. Located at a more southerly latitude than the rest of Australia's wine regions, Tasmania has a cooler climate and the potential to make distinctly different wines than in the rest of the country. The area grows primarily Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Riesling with some smaller plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon blanc. Global warming has had positive effects on the Tasmanian wine industry, allowing most of the grapes in the past few vintages (as of 2005) to ripen fully and produce more vibrant wine.

Tasmania was one of the earliest regions in Australia to be planted with vines and was even the source of cuttings for the first vineyards in Victoria and South Australia. It was also home to some of the earliest wines to gain attention outside of the county with a fortified dessert wine by Bartholomew Broughton being praised by one English writer as Australia's equivalent to Port.Being an island, Tasmania has a temperate climate. The cool climate of the regions gives way to a late harvest typically around April.