User:Chuq/History of Tasmania

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Hi all - this temp page is where I plan to gradually re-write the timeline into prose form. Once done, I will move History of Tasmania to a timeline article and replace it with the prose. I expect it to be time consuming, but we have a lot of data to work from! I expect some of the more Hobart-specific items could be moved or replicated into a History of Hobart article as well. --Chuq 11:52, 23 May 2004 (UTC)

This article is a timeline of the history of Tasmania.

pre 1800[edit]

Although various tribes of Tasmanian Aborigines have lived in Tasmania for thousands of years, the first record of the island by a European is in 1642, when it was sighted by Abel Tasman, of the Dutch East India Company. He names it Van Diemen's Land after Dutch East Indies governor-general Antony van Diemen.

In the 1790s both British and French explorers visit the island, including Captain William Bligh, Bruny d'Entrecasteaux (for whom Bruny Island and d'Entracasteaux Channel are named), John Hayes (of the British East India Company) who named the Derwent River, and Nicolas Baudin.

In 1798, George Bass and Matthew Flinders become the first to circumnavigate Van Diemen's Land. Bass climbs at least part of Mount Wellington (then known as Table Mountain) on Christmas Day.

The first Tasmanian settlement by Europeans was in 1803, when Lieutenant John Bowen's party, lands at Risdon Cove. He names the location Hobart, however when Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins' party lands at Sullivan's Cove in 1804, the Risdon Cove settlement is abandoned and moved. The new settlement takes the name Hobart Town.

The first cemetery opens that year, in the area which is now known as St David's Park.

A similar situation occurs on the Tamar River at the north of the state - In 1806 - Colonel William Paterson relocates York Town, from the Port Dalrymple settlement founded two years earlier, to the site of modern Launceston.

Early development in the south includes a whaling station at Ralphs Bay, the first in Australia; a flour mill, built in 1810, which is now known as the City Mill Building; and the building of the first church (St David's), and the first newspaper. In 1811, Governor Lachlan Macquarie planned and prompted construction of the city streets and public buildings, including the first Post Office and Anglesea Barracks (which today is Australia's longest continuously occupied military building). The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and first hospital opened a few years later.

Exploration in the 1800s also includes a settlement at New Norfolk, discovery of Macquarie Island, and in 1807, the first land journey from Launceston to Hobart, by Lieutenant Thomas Laycock. The 180 km journey took nine days. In 1812, Government House in Hobart takes control of whole island. The first weekly mail service begins between Hobart and Launceston five years later. It took a few more years before, Governor Lachlan Macquarie chooses sites for the towns of Perth, Campbell Town, Ross, Oatlands and Brighton, which still remain major towns in the Midlands region to this day.

Many bushrangers, particular Michael Howe, caused problems for the administration in the early years. In 1815 Lieutenant-Governor Thomas Davey temporarily declared martial law against all bushrangers, mainly escaped convicts.

Both ports (Hobart and Port Dalrymple) became open to trading ships in 1813 the first ships of free settlers arrived not long afterwards. The colony's first horse races were believed to have taken place at New Town in 1815.

In 1820s various officials and convicts and free settlers established Macquarie Harbour penal settlement on the West Coast. Some pastoral farmers also establish a site at Emu Bay - now Burnie.

The decade was also significant for Van Diemen Land's independence - in 1825 Van Diemen's Land became a colony independent of NSW with appointed Executive Council and Legislative Council.

Richmond Bridge, Australia's oldest existing bridge, was opened in the same year.

The settlers' vilification of Aborigines became stronger, when in 1830 the administration launched a military campaign across most of colony to round up Aborigines; in seven weeks two are shot and two are captured. This comes after Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur excludes Aborigines from settled areas. This happens despite "protector" George Augustus Robinson, who tried to reconcile with Aborigines at Bruny Island. Robinson assists with resettling them at Wybalenna, Flinders Island, gradually over the next few years.

More transportation infrastructure is developed, when a regular mail service with Sydney is started in 1828, and the Bridgewater causeway starts development in 1830. The first regular Hobart-Launceston coach service begins two years later.

Tasmania's best known penal settlement, at Port Arthur is established in 1830. Another Tasmanian icon, the Cascade Brewery, was started on in 1832.

There were two notable Tasmanian explorers in the mid 1830s - the Henty brothers, John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner all set voyage for Port Phillip, Victoria - now the site of Melbourne, Australia's second largest city. At the same time, British naturalist Charles Darwin visits Hobart in HMS Beagle, and a few years later Captain James Ross's Antarctic expedition paid a visit.

Hobart was proclaimed a city in 1842. This was also the peak year for convict arrivals, due to New South Wales ending transportation of convicts a few years earlier. Transportation to Van Diemen's Land did not happen until 1853 &emdash; 50 years after the first settlement at Risdon Cove.

Around 1850, Tasmania celebrated many firsts; the first Australian colony to enact legislation to protect native animals; the first use of general anaesthetic in the southern hemisphere; Launceston was host for first Australian inter-colonial cricket match; and one of Tasmania's most famous exports, apples, are sold to the United States of America and New Zealand for the first time.

Gold is also discovered near Fingal, which is the start of the states long and prosperous mining industry.

In 1856, the colony is granted responsible self-government and the name is officially changed to Tasmania.

In the late 1850s, the Hobart-Launceston telegraph line opens, and Hobarts Marine Board, Australia's oldest port authority, meets for the first time. Government House at its present site at the Domain, is occupied for first time, by Governor Henry Young and Lady Young.

The early 1860s saw economic depression hit the state, as well as an increased military presence in Tasmania; volunteer corps of infantry, cavalry and artillery formed, and some British troops leave Hobart for Maori war in New Zealand.

After flooding in 1862, Hobart's post office was moved to a rebuilt courthouse on corner of Macquarie St and Murray St. This was soon followed by the opening of the Tasmanian Museum, which still exists today, the Hobart Town Hall, and the Tasmanian Public Library. St David's Cathedral was finally consecrated in 1874.

Hobart's famous jam factory was opened in 1867 by George Peacock (later operated by Henry Jones and Co under the name IXL). The first royal visit took place in 1868 by Prince Alfred (Duke of Edinburgh).

The next decade saw the death of William Lanney ("King Billy"), reputedly the last full blood Tasmanian Aboriginal man, in 1869; and Truganini, described as last Tasmanian full blooded Aborigine, in 1876. King Billy's body was used for scientific study.

Tasmania's first submarine link to Melbourne was established in 1869. This enables direct telegraphic communication to England to begin in 1872. Transportation was also enhanced when, during the 1860s, the rail link from Hobart, to Launceston, to Deloraine was built, culminating with the Hobart-Launceston link opening in 1876.

Marcus Clarke's For the Term of His Natural Life, set mainly in Tasmania, was first published in 1874.

Just as the closing of the Port Arthur penal settlement in 1877 saw the end of the convict industry for Tasmania, discoveries of tin at Mt Bishcoff and Mt Heemskirk on the west coast and gold at Beaconsfield gave rise to the states mining industry, one that would boost population, employment and morale in the state for many years to follow. Future discoveries included gold at Pieman River on the west coast, silver-lead at Zeehan, and both gold and copper at Mt Lyell.

Tasmania's communication abilities advanced further in the 1880s, with the first telephone line from Hobart city centre to Mt Nelson signal station, and the opening of first Hobart and Launceston telephone exchanges in 1883. Hobart Stock Exchange opened in 1882. They would have to wait until 1903 for the first Hobart to Launceston telephone line.

In 1881 Hobart officially replaced 'Hobart Town' as capital's name

In the 1880s the government became responsible for schooling (with the Education Department being created) and health, as well as the Tasmanian Museum and Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. They also took over the Hobart-Launceston rail line operations in 1890. Education in particular flourished over the next ten years, with the founding of The Friends School, the first technical school, and most importantly of all the University of Tasmania, first opened at the Domain in 1890.

Tasmania's second city, Launceston, was proclaimed in 1888.

Commercial developments in the 1890s include the FitzGeralds department store, bought by Harris Scarfe a century later. Private companies also started an electric tramway in Hobart (the first in an Australian capital city), and the My Lyell Mining and Railway Co. In 1896 entrepreneur George Adams launched the Tattersalls lottery venture in Hobart; this was held to dispose of assets of failed Bank of Van Diemen's Land, which collapsed in 1891.

Tasmania also hosted two International Exhibitions in this time period - Launceston in 1891 and Hobart in 1894.

In 1895 Launceston becomes the first city in the southern hemisphere to get electric light, after the first Tasmanian hydro-electric station opened at Duck Reach on South Esk River. This also began in Hobart, in 1898. Hydro-electricity later became a huge industry in the state.

The whaling industry which was once a huge employer for Tasmanians, ended its operations in 1900. Macquarie Island becomes a Tasmanian dependency the same year.

The major political change occurring in Tasmania at this time was federation with the other colonies. Tasmanians voted very much in favour of this at both referendums. In 1901, Tasmania was proclaimed a state of the Commonwealth of Australia by administrator Sir John Dodds. The first elections were held the same year.

Tasmania had another royal visit in 1903 by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (future King George V and Queen Mary).

In 1904, flora and fauna reserves were declared at Schouten Island and Freycinet Peninsula. These were precursors to the creation of an authority to manage parks and reserves, which was formed in 1915, and the very next year the first national parks declared at Mt Field and Freycinet. One of the larger national parks, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, is proclaimed in 1922.

Further developments in communication occurred when, after telegraphy experiments, the first wireless telegraphy service was opened between Devonport and Queenscliff, Victoria by Marconi Co.

The Hare-Clark voting system extended to all of Tasmania, and in 1909 the first statewide use of the system elects the first Labor government, lasting only a week, led by John Earle.

In 1910, the Great Lake hydro-electric project starts, taking six years until the first stage, Waddamana, is opened, and another four until the Miena dam is complete. In the meantime, the company is bought by the state government. It remains in that form until 1929 when legislation is enacted to create the Hydro-Electric Commission, replacing the government department. The HEC remaining fully government run until 1998.

The start of Hobart's role as an Antarctic base is first felt, with Douglas Mawson's ship Aurora docking in Hobart on his way to Antarctica in 1911, and Norwegian Roald Amundsen arrives in Hobart on return from his successful South Pole expedition.

In 1913 the term "free by servitude" referring to ex-convicts, appears for the last time in official documents, after being used for more than 100 years.

Many jobs in the south were created when, in 1917, both the Electrolytic Zinc Company works at Risdon and Australian Commonwealth Carbide's plant at Electrona were established. The Electrolytic Zinc Co makes the first superphosphate at Risdon in 1925.

In the 1920s, the state is host to two royal visits. The first is in 1922 by the Prince of Wales - the future King Edward VIII. The second, in 1927, is by Duke and Duchess of York (future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth).

A couple of major electoral changes are also made. In 1922 legislation is passed to enable women to stand in state elections. Voting in state elections becomes compulsory as of 1928 (federal voting became compulsory in 1924).

In 1923 Labor's Joseph Lyons, becomes state premier. He goes on to, in 1932, become Prime Minister of Australia - the first, and as of 2004 the only, Tasmanian to do so. Lyons died in office in 1939. In 1943 his widow, Enid Lyons (later Damn Enid), is elected first woman member of the House of Representatives, winning seat of Darwin (now Braddon).

In 1923, the Hobart Symphony Orchestra performs their first concert. A year later, a private company starts the first Tasmanian radio station, 7ZL with regular broadcasts from the Mercury building. Both of these go on to be affiliated with what is now the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Orchesta, formed in 1936.

An inquiry into a bridge linking Hobart city with eastern shore was first proposed in 1927. It took until 1938 to start construction, and in 1943 the floating-arch pontoon bridge, the Hobart Bridge, opens.

Hobart's famous Cadbury's Claremont factory opens in 1928 and produces its first chocolate.

Air transport in the state starts when Ivan and Victor Holyman start air service between Launceston and Flinders Island in 1932. The pair start Holyman Airways (a forerunner of Ansett Airlines) and launch the first Launceston-Melbourne service a couple of years later. However, it is plagued with safety problems. One plane, Miss Hobart, disappears over Bass Strait with 12 people, including Victor Holyman. The next year, another plane Loina crashes off Flinders Island. In 1936, the first commercial flights begin using the Cambridge Aerodrome.

Other new transport infrastructure includes the Lyell Highway, linking Hobart with the west coast, which opened in 1932, the Mount Wellington summit road, built as a depression relief work project and completed in 1937, and Hobart's first electric trolley buses in 1935. Hobart received its first automatic telephone system in 1929, and first submarine telephone cable service begins between Tasmania and Victoria via King Island in 1937. .

In 1934 the government led by Albert Ogilvie was elected, starting 35 years of continuous Labor governments. The following year, three-year state parliament terms were enacted. This was reversed in 1937 when the five-year terms returned.

In 1936, the last known thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) died at Hobart's Beaumaris Zoo. To this day there have been occasional unconfirmed sightings, but the animal has been declared extinct.

In 1938 production starts at APPM's Burnie paper mill, a huge employer for the area. The Royal Hobart Hospital opens on its current site in 1939.


  • 1940 - Tasmanian soldiers leave for North African campaign with Australian 6th Division
  • 1940 - German naval raiders Pinguin and Atlantis lay mines off Hobart and other Australian areas. Hobart closed to shipping because of mine threat; Bass Strait closed after mine sinks British steamer Cambridge.
  • 1941 - Tasmanian soldiers leave for Malaya with Australian 8th Division
  • 1941 - Australian Newsprint Mills' Boyer plant becomes first in world to produce newsprint from hardwood
  • 1942 - January-March daylight savings introduced as wartime measure
  • 1942 - Women 18 to 30 called up for war work
  • 1943 - Japanese torpedo cruiser HMAS Hobart in Solomon Islands waters
  • 1944 - University of Tasmania begins transfer to Sandy Bay site
  • 1944 - State Library established
  • 1945 - Rani wins first Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
  • 1946 - Australian National Airways plane crashes at Seven Mile Beach, killing 25.
  • 1946 - Last horse-drawn Hobart cab ceases operation
  • 1946 - Poliomyelitis epidemic
  • 1947 - War-affected migrants begin arriving from Europe to work for Hydro-Electric Commission
  • 1947 - Edward Brooker takes over as Labor premier after Robert Cosgrove's resignation to face corruption and bribery charges
  • 1948 - Margaret McIntyre wins Legislative Council seat in May, becoming the first woman member of Tasmanian Parliament; airliner crash in NSW in September kills her and 12 others.
  • 1948 - Robert Cosgrove resumes premiership after acquittal on corruption and bribery charges
  • 1948 - ABC forms Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra on permanent basis
  • 1948 - Fire destroys Ocean Pier
  • 1948 - Antarctic research station established on Macquarie Island
  • 1949 - Poliomyelitis epidemic
  • 1949 - Government introduces compulsory X-rays in fight against tuberculosis
  • 1949 - Tasmainan politician Dame Enid Lyons, widow of former prime minister Joseph Lyons, becomes first woman to reach federal ministry rank, as Executive Council vice-president
  • 1949 - Government buys Theatre Royal
  • 1951 - Brighton army camp gets first intake of national service trainees
  • 1951 - Hartz Mountain National Park proclaimed
  • 1951 - Serious bushfires
  • 1951 - Italian and German migrants arrive to work under contract for Hydro-Electric Commission
  • 1952 - First woman elected to Hobart City Council
  • 1952 - Severe floods
  • 1952 - Government ends free hospital scheme
  • 1952 - Single state licensing body formed for hotels and clubs
  • 1953 - Tasman Limited diesel train service begins between Hobart and northern towns
  • 1953 - Housing Department created to manage public housing
  • 1953 - Beaconsfield becomes first Australian centre to get fluoridated water
  • 1954 - The Queen becomes first reigning monarch to visit state, accompanied by Prince Phillip, as part of 150th anniversary celebrations, she unveils monument to pioneer British settlers
  • 1954 - Hobart Rivulet area damaged as severe floods affect southern and eastern Tasmania
  • 1954 - Metropolitan Transport Trust formed
  • 1954 - Tattersalls Lotteries moves headquarters from Hobart to Melbourne
  • 1954 - Spouses of property owners get right to vote in Legislative Council elections
  • 1955 - Royal commission appointed to inquire into University of Tasmania after request by Professor Sydney Orr
  • 1955 - House of Assembly gets first two women members, Liberals Mabel Miller and Amelia Best
  • 1955 - Hobart becomes first Australian city to get parking meters
  • 1955 - Proclamation of Lake Pedder National Park (later extended to form South-West National Park).
  • 1955 - First ingot poured at Bell Bay aluminium refinery
  • 1955 - Labor Party's federal conference in Hobart brings ALP split over industrial groups to head, leading to formation of Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist), later Democratic Labor Party
  • 1955 - Lactos cheese factory opens at Burnie
  • 1956 - University of Tasmania Council dismisses Professor Sydney Orr, alleging improper conduct by him with female student; Orr launches unsuccessful court action against university for wrongful dismissal
  • 1956 - Tasmania gets first woman mayor, Dorothy Edwards of Launceston
  • 1957 - Water Act establishes Rivers and Water Supply Commission
  • 1958 - Hobart waterside works block two Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) members, father Frank Hursey and son Denis, from working in dispute over their objection to paying union levy that would partly go to ALP; police guard Hurseys after court order; Supreme Court awards them damages
  • 1959 - Princess of Tasmania becomes first roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry on Bass Strait run
  • 1959 - High Court verdict in Hursey case upholds unions' right to levy members for political purposes, expel those who refuse to pay
  • 1959 - Federal Government reduces claimant states to two, Tasmania and Western Australia


  • 1960 - Severe floods in Derwent Valley and Hobart, with business basements under water and houses washed away
  • 1960 - Television stations ABT-2 (ABC) and TVT-6 (now WIN) start programs from Mt. Wellington transmitters
  • 1960 - New jail opens at Risdon
  • 1960 - Hobart trams cease, succeeded by electric trolley buses
  • 1960 - First meeting of Inland Fisheries Commission
  • 1960 - Opening of new State Library headquarters
  • 1960 - First city parking station opens in Argyle Street
  • 1961 - Construction of Hobart-Sydney ferry terminal begins
  • 1962 - Australian Paper Makers Ltd's Port Huon mill opens
  • 1962 - TEMCO's Bell Bay ferro-manganese plant begins production
  • 1962 - Government subsidises municipal fluoridation schemes
  • 1963 - University of Tasmania completes move to Sandy Bay site; Universities Commission recommends medical school
  • 1964 - Tasman Bridge opens for traffic, old pontoon bridge towed away
  • 1964 - Hobart's water supply fluoridated
  • 1964 - Glenorchy proclaimed city
  • 1965 - First Tasmanians leave for Vietnam War under national service scheme
  • 1965 - Ferry Empress of Australia makes first Sydney-Hobart voyage
  • 1965 - Official opening of Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music
  • 1965 - Bass Strait oil drilling begins
  • 1966 - Hugh copper reserves found in Mt Lyell area
  • 1966 - Savage River iron ore agreements involving $62 million signed
  • 1967 - February Black Tuesday bushfires claim 62 lives - 53 in Hobart area - and destroy more than 1300 homes
  • 1967 - Tasmanian joins other states in approving full constitutional rights for Aborigines
  • 1967 - Hydro-Electric Commission tables plans in State Parliament to dam Lake Pedder in South-West
  • 1967 - Daylight saving and breathalyser tests introduced
  • 1968 - Full adult franchise introduced for Legislative Council elections
  • 1968 - Hobart trolley buses cease, replaced by diesel vehicles
  • 1968 - State abolishes death penalty
  • 1968 - Savage River iron ore project officially opens
  • 1968 - Batman Bridge across lower Tamar River opens
  • 1969 - Tasmanians vote Labor Party out after 35 years in office, Liberal-Centre Party forms coalition government
  • 1969 - Worst floods in 40 years hit Launceston
  • 1970 - Parliament legislates for permanent daylight savings
  • 1970 - State marine research laboratories at Taroona open
  • 1970 - Electrolytic Zinc Company opens $6 million residue treatment plant
  • 1971 - First woodchip shipment leaves Tasmanian Pulp and Forest Holdings' mill at Triabunna
  • 1971 - APPM Ltd's Wesley Vale paper plant opens
  • 1971 - First state Aboriginal conference held in Launceston
  • 1972 - Conservationsts lose battle to prevent flooding of Lake Pedder in South-West for hydro-electric scheme
  • 1972 - Liberal-Centre Party coalition government collapses
  • 1972 - Tasmanian College of Advanced Education opens in Hobart
  • 1972 - Ferry Princess of Tasmania makes last Tasmanian voyage
  • 1972 - Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre opens at Tasmanian Aboriginal Information Centre
  • 1973 - Coastal freighter Blythe Star sinks with loss of three men, seven survivors spend eight days adrift in lifeboat before coming ashore on Forestier Peninsula
  • 1973 - Australia's first legal casino opens at Wrest Point
  • 1973 - Sir Stanley Burbury, formerly chief justice, becomes first Australian-born governor of Tasmania
  • 1974 - Three die when boller explosion demolishes laundry at Mt St Canice Convent, Sandy Bay
  • 1974 - Tasmanian workers under state wages board awards get four weeks annual leave; woman awarded equal pay
  • 1974 - Hobart suburban rail services cease
  • 1975 - Freighter Lake Illawarra crashes into Tasman Bridge, causing 12 deaths and bringing down part of bridge; temporary Bailey bridge put across Derwent
  • 1975 - Police academy completed at Rokeby
  • 1975 - Hotels allowed to open for Sunday trading
  • 1975 - TAB begins operating
  • 1976 - Members of Aboriginal community ritually cremate Truganini's remains, scatter ashes in D'Entrecasteaux Channel
  • 1976 - Tasmanian Wilderness Society formed
  • 1976 - Freight equalisation scheme subsidises sea cargo to and from state
  • 1977 - Repaired Tasman Bridge reopens to traffic
  • 1977 - Royal visit, during which Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell presents the Queen with land rights claim
  • 1977 - Tasmanian Film Corporation launched
  • 1978 - Australian National Railways takes over Tasmanian rail system; Tasman Limited ceases operations, ending regular passenger train services in state
  • 1978 - Hydro-Electric Commission proposes power scheme involving Gordon, Franklin and King rivers
  • 1979 - Tasmanian College of Advanced Education moves to Launceston
  • 1979 - State's first ombudsman begins duties
  • 1979 - Hobart gets increased Saturday morning shopping
  • 1979 - Government expands South-West conservation area to more than one-fifth of state's total area


  • 1980 - Australian Antarctic Division headquarters completed at Kingston
  • 1980 - Labor MHA Gillian James becomes first woman to become State Government minister
  • 1980 - Australian Martime College opens at Beauty Point
  • 1980 - Australian Heritage Commission includes Tasmania on National Estate register
  • 1981 - Prebiscite on preferred new hydro-electric scheme shows 47% of voters favour Gordon-below-Franklin development, 8% prefer Gordon-above-Olga, with 45 per cent casting informal votes, including 'no dams' write-ins.
  • 1981 - Devonport proclaimed city
  • 1981 - Bushfires destroy 40 Zeehan homes
  • 1982 - Proclamation of Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, including South-West, Franklin-Lower Gorden Wild Rivers and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair national parks; conservationists blockade Gordon-below-Franklin hydro-electric dam work
  • 1982 - Tasmanian's elect Liberals as government in their own right for first time in state's history
  • 1983 - Federal regulations block Franklin dam construction; High Court rules in favour of federal sovereignty, ending Gordon-below-Franklin scheme
  • 1983 - Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council established
  • 1983 - Visit by The Prince and Princess of Wales
  • 1984 - Official opening of Bowen Bridge
  • 1984 - Official opening of Wrest Point Convention Centre
  • 1984 - Fire damages Theatre Royal
  • 1984 - Atlantic salmon eggs introduced to Tasmania
  • 1985 - Four-day cremation ceremony at Oyster Cove, south of Hobart, for Aboriginal remains recovered from museums
  • 1985 - CSIRO Marine Laboratories open in Hobart
  • 1985 - Last voyage by ferry Empress of Australia before replacement by Abel Tasman
  • 1985 - Last Tasmanian drive-in theatres close in Hobart and Launceston
  • 1985 - Municipal rationalisation advances with Launceston taking over St Leonards and Lilydale
  • 1986 - Pope John Paul II holds mass for 32,000 people at Elwick racecourse during Hobart visit
  • 1986 - Archeologists discover Aboriginal rock paintings in South-West believed to be 20,000 years old
  • 1987 - Launching of Lady Nelson replica ship
  • 1987 - High Court decision bans logging in Lemonthyme, southern forests
  • 1987 - Antarctic supply ship Nella Dan sinks off Macquarie Island
  • 1988 - International fleet of about 200 sailing, cruise and naval ships from about 20 countries calls at Hobart as part of Australian Bicentennial celebrations; more than 150 leave on race to Sydney
  • 1988 - Clarence and Burnie proclaimed cities
  • 1988 - Tasmanian Sporting Hall of Fame opens
  • 1989 - State election ends with Labor-Green accord involving five independents; their no-confidence vote in Robin Gray's minority Liberal government gives Labor's Michael Field premiership
  • 1990 - Sea Cat Tasmania, built in Hobart by InCat, begins summer crossings of Bass Strait
  • 1990 - King Island scheelite mine closes
  • 1990 - World Rowing Championships held on Lake Barrington, near Sheffield
  • 1991 - Savings Bank of Tasmania and Tasmanian Bank amalgamate as Trust Bank
  • 1991 - Port Huon paper mill, Electrona silicon smelter, Renison tin mine and Devonport Ovaltine factory close
  • 1992 - Aborigines occupy Risdon Cove in protest over land claims
  • 1992 - Royal Hobart Hospital nursing school closes, ending hospital-based nursing training in Tasmania
  • 1992 - Seven women ordained as Anglican priests at St David's Cathedral
  • 1992 - State's unemployment rate reaches 12.2% as jobs decline in public and private sectors; rallies of angry workers force temporary closure of House of Assembly
  • 1993 - Christine Milne (Tasmanian Greens) becomes first woman leader of a Tasmanian political party
  • 1993 - Spirit of Tasmania replaces Abel Tasman on Bass Strait ferry service
  • 1993 - Tasmania's unemployment rate reaches 13.4%
  • 1993 - State Government reduces total of municipalities from 46 to 29, number of departments from 17 to 12
  • 1994 - End to 80 years of dam building as state's last power station, Tribute, opens near Tullah
  • 1994 - HMAS Huon naval base decommissioned
  • 1995 - All-day Saturday shop trading begins
  • 1995 - Government announces legislation to transfer 3800ha of culturally significant land to Aboriginal community, including Risdon Cove and Oyster Cove
  • 1995 - States unemployment rate falls to 9.6% as number of Tasmanians in work sets record
  • April 28 1996 - Gunman Martin Bryant kills 35 people and injures 20 more in shooting rampage at Port Arthur historic site; Surpreme Court sentences him to life imprisonment
  • 1996 - Former federal Liberal minister Peter Nixon heads Commonwealth state inquiry into Tasmanian economy
  • 1997 - Tasmania becomes first state to formally apologise to Aboriginal community for past actions connected with the 'stolen generation'.
  • 1997 - Hobart Ports Corporation succeeds marine board
  • 1997 - State Parliament repeals two century-old laws that together made all male homosexual activity criminal
  • 1997 - Royal Hobart Hospital announces part privatisation
  • 1997 - Official opening of Hobart's Aquatic Centre
  • 1997 - Nixon report recommendations include single chamber State Parliament with 27 members, government asset sales
  • 1997 - About 800 gaming machines introduced into 55 Tasmanian hotels, clubs amid predictions of major social problems
  • 1998 - Federal Government sells Hobart and Launceston airports
  • 1998 - Subsidiary Kendell Airlines takes over Ansett's Tasmanian services
  • 1998 - Parliament reduced from 54 members to 40 - 25 Members of the House of Assembly and 15 Members of the Legislative Council
  • 1998 - Legislation passed to separate Hydro-Electric Commission into three bodies - Aurora Energy, Transend Networks and Hydro Tasmania.
  • 1998 - Bushfires destroy six houses in Hobart suburbs, burn out 3000ha
  • December 1998 - Storms and massive seas claim six lives in Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
  • 1999 - Wild winds and heavy rain caused chaos across Tasmania, one casualty being the Ferris Wheel at the Royal Hobart Regatta which blew over onto the Gee Whizzer ride. 113km/h winds in Hobart, 158km/h winds on Mount Wellington.
  • 1999 - Tasmanian cricketer David Boon announced his retirement from Sheffield Shield cricket.
  • March 1999 - Tasmania is almost booked out for the millennium New Years Eve party - a once-in-1000-year event for Tasmania's key resorts, hotels, motels and restaurants
  • 1999 - Albanian refugees from Kosovo housed at Brighton military camp, renamed Tasmanian Peace Haven
  • 1999 - Legislation passed to give Aboriginal community control of Wybalenna, Flinders Island
  • 1999 - Colonial State Bank of NSW takes over Trust Bank
  • 1999 - Official opening of Port Arthur Visitor Centre
  • 1999 - Queen Alexandra Hospital building leased to private operators
  • October 25 1999 - Labor part stalwart Eric Reece, hailed as Tasmania's greatest premier, died in Hobart, aged 90
  • 1999 - Proclamation of Tasmanian Sea Mounts Marine Reserve, Australia's first deep-sea reserve
  • 1999 - Tasmania voted the best temperate island in the world by the world's largest travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveler

2000 to present[edit]

  • January 1 2000 - Tasmania beamed to 43 television networks around the world to herald the new millennium
  • 2000 - Queen Elizabeth II visits Hobart
  • 2000 - Tasmania hosted its first Sorry Day at Risdon Cove
  • 2000 - Olympic Torch comes to Tasmania
  • 2000 - New Federation Concert Hall opens in Hobart
  • 2001 - For the first time in 120 years, Tasmanian footballers take the national stage playing home and away VFL games
  • 2001 - Tasmanian company Gunns clinched $335 million deal to become one of the giants of the Australian forestry industry
  • 2001 - Impulse Airlines begins, cutting one way Hobart-Melbourne fares to $40, but is swallowed by Qantas
  • 2001 - 10 Days on the Island begins. It is Tasmania's biggest cultural festival in a century
  • 2001 - State Government announces $53 million jail to replace the old Risdon Jail
  • May 10 2001 - Centenary of Federation celebrated
  • 2001 - New traffic laws introduced, drivers face automatic disqualification if travelling 38 km/h over the limit
  • 2001 - Meningoccocal hits Tasmania with the first of many deaths
  • 2002 - Tassie's house and land boom begins with East Coast blocks selling for almost three times the town's previous record
  • May 2002 - Tasmania's suburban street speed limit dropped to 50 km/h in a bid to increase road safety
  • 2002 - Tasmania hit by drought
  • 16 May 2002 - Death of Australia's last ANZAC, Tasmania's Alec Campbell, aged 103.
  • 3 August 2002 - Tasmanian boxer Daniel Geale wins Tassie's only gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.
  • 2002 - Virgin Blue begins operating in Tasmania offering introductory $66 one-way fares to Melbourne
  • 1 September 2002 - Tasmania's fast ferries Spirit of Tasmania I and II begin operation
  • 12 October 2002 - Tasmanian Tim Hawkins killed in Bali bombing
  • 2002 - Deregulated shop trading hours begin
  • January 2003 - People urged by Tas Fire Service to abandon their Australia Day long-weekend plans and prepare their homes for a potential firestorm as a number of fires pose the worst fire threat in 30 years
  • 2003 - Official opening of restored Abt West Coast Wilderness Railway
  • 2003 - Attempted hijack of a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Launceston
  • 2003 - Federal Hotels gets exclusive control of state's gaming machines for 15 years with a further 5-year option.
  • 2003 - Richard Butler becomes Tasmania's new governor
  • 2003 - Tasmania passed some of the most progressive relationship laws in the world including same sex adoptions and registration of 'significant' relationships.
  • 2003 - Engagement of Tasmania's Mary Donaldson to Denmark's Prince Frederik
  • 13 January 2004 - Spirit of Tasmania III makes its first voyage from Sydney to Devonport
  • 2004 - The State Government announces legislation to legalise brothels


  • 1804 - 433
  • 1842 - 57,471 (Colony's first official census)