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Tasmania Fact File

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Fact File - Tasmania
Capital City: Hobart

Area: 68,400 square km

Proportion of Australia: 0.89%

Time Zone: 10 hours ahead of GMT

Climate: Warm temperate with no dry season

Highest Point: Mount Ossa (1,617 m)
The smallest of the six states of Australia, Tasmania comprises a group of islands lying 250 km due south of Victoria on the south eastern corner of the continent of Australia. The main island measures approximately 296 km from north to south and 315 km from west to east. Described as the most mountainous island on the planet, it has few peaks that exceed 1,500 m. There are many rivers and lakes.

The climate is mild, with temperature seldom exceeding 30°C on midsummer days. However, due to its mountainous and small landmass and with the Southern Ocean between it and the Antarctica, the weather is known to be very changeable, even by the hour. It also has relatively high rainfall, that varies from region to region. The most consistently sunny and warm weather is anywhere between February and March, although Autumn is quite a calm season during April to May. August is the traditional snow month, with ski-fields in the northeast and south-centre.

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
International Public Affairs Branch 1994

The Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman was the first European to explore Tasmania. He named the island ‘Anthoonij van Diemenslandt’ in honour of Anthony van Diemen, the then Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, who had sent Abel Tasman on his voyage of discover in 1642. The British settled in 1803 andshortened it to ‘Van Diemen’s Land’.

In 1825 ‘Van Diemen’s Land’, which had been part of the colony of New South Wales, became a colony in its own right. In 1856 it was renamed Tasmania in honour of Able Tasman.

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