Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) is located south of Mainland Australia.
Latitude: 42° South
Longitude: 147° East
Current name: Tasmania
Previous name: Van Diemen’s Land
The island was renamed Tasmania on 1 January 1856, in honour of the first European to discover the island, Abel Janszoon Tasman.
Informal (colloquial expression): Tassie
Demonym – current: Tasmanian
Demonym – previous: Van Diemonian
Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman made the first reported European sighting of the island on 24 November 1642. Abel Tasman named the island “Anthony van Diemen’s Land” after his sponsor Anthony van Diemen, the Governor of the Dutch East Indies. This name was shortened to “Van Diemen’s Land”.
Following a number of European and British expeditions throughout the 1700s, in 1803 the island was colonised by the British, and would become the primary penal colony in Australia.
Over the next 50 years, some 75,000 convicts were transported to Van Diemen’s Land.
The island was not uninhabited though, the Tasmanian Aborigines had lived on the island for thousands of years as its respectful custodians. It is thought that the Tasmanian Aborigines had lived on the island for at least 35,000 years prior to the arrival of the first European explorers. Following European contact and British colonisation, the population of the indigenous people was decimated by disease, war and persecution.
Penal transportation was eventually abolished in 1853 and Van Diemen’s Land was officially renamed “Tasmania” on 1 January 1856 – in honour of its first European discoverer.
In 1901 the Colony of Tasmania federated together with the five other Australian colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia.
Land area – total: 68,401 square kilometres (26,410 square miles)
Land area – main island: 62,409 square kilometres (24,096 square miles)
Total area (land and water): 90,758 square kilometres (35,042 square miles)
Tasmania is about the same size as the Republic of Ireland and twice the size of Switzerland, Belgium or Taiwan.
Population: 512,100 people (as of end of March 2012).
Tasmania’s major population centres include: Hobart (city), Launceston (city), Devonport (city), Burnie (city), Ulverstone (Tasmania’s largest town) and Kingston (technically part of the Greater Hobart Area).
National language: English
Australia does not have an official language, however ‘Australian English’ is Australia’s de facto official language and is the first language of most of the population.
Australian English is a major variety of the English language and originates from ‘British English’.
Name: Australian dollar
Denominations – coins: 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent; 1 and 2 dollar.
Denominations – notes: 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar.
Australia was the first country in the world to have a complete system of bank notes made from plastic (polymer). These notes provide much greater security against counterfeiting and last four times as long as conventional paper (fibrous) notes.
Tasmania has a mild, temperate climate with four distinct seasons. A maritime climate means it’s rarely extremely hot or cold. Hobart is the second driest capital city in Australia (after Adelaide).
Tasmania has the cleanest air on earth (measured at Cape Grim).
AC power plug and socket type
240V AC, 50Hz
Socket (‘power point’)
Travellers must dispose of all plants, fruits and vegetables prior to or upon arrival in Tasmania.
These strict measures help to protect Tasmania’s disease-free agriculture.
Leaving a tip is not expected, but is appreciated when great service has been provided.
Tipping is normally done only in hospitality establishments for food and drink service. It would be unusual to leave a tip for most other purchases.
Tipping is most common in places such as restaurants, cafes and wine bars. Fast food establishments are not places where people would normally leave a tip.
In Australia you do not need to pay to use public toilet facilities.
The National Public Toilet Map is an Australian Government initiative which shows the location of more than 16,000 public and private public toilet facilities across Australia.
You can search the toilets listed in Tasmania here: NPTM – listings for Tasmania.
Emergency phone number
In the event of an emergency, phone: Triple Zero (000). This number (000) can be used to reach the Tasmanian Police, Fire Service or Ambulance Service.
If you are deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment phone: One Zero Six (106). This is a Text Emergency Call, not SMS. You can call this number (106) from teletypewriters.
Getting around – public transport
The larger population centres are serviced by Metro buses.
Metro Tasmania Pty Ltd is a state owned company established in February 1998. The company trades as Metro and operates bus services in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie. Metro is the largest passenger transport company in Tasmania.
Bus timetables are available from the Metro Tasmania website here
Longer journeys can be taken on Tasmanian Redline Coaches.
Tasmanian Redline Coaches also operate the Hobart Airporter bus service. The Hobart Airporter operates for every departing and arriving flight at Hobart airport. Passengers can be dropped off at (or picked up from) most of the major hotels in Hobart City.
Bus timetables are available on the Tasmanian Redline Coaches website here
- Taxi 131-008 – phone: 131 008
- United Taxis – phone: 133 222
- Yellow Cabs – phone: 131 924
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