Nov
11
2013

Fascinating facts you didn’t know about Tasmania

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Tasmania is one of Australia's most magical destinations. For visitors to this island state, there are so many new things to be discovered and marvelled over.

If you haven't yet visited Tasmania and need a little bit more inspiration before you book your tickets, here are some fascinating and fun facts about this piece of paradise.

An island of firsts

Many of Australia's significant 'firsts' happened in Tasmania. In 1874, the nation's first telephone call was made between Launceston and Campbell Town. Many years later, in 1955, Australia's first parking meters were installed in Hobart – although locals may debate the positivity of this achievement!

Tasmania's progressive side shone forth early in 1868, when it introduced a compulsory state education system. In 2003, the state granted same-sex couples many new legal rights.

Then there's the story of Australia's oldest and first synagogue that operates in Hobart, built in 1845.

One of Tasmania's towns, Coles Bay, was even the first in Australia to ban plastic shopping bags in 2003.

Not to mention, Hobart is home to Australia's oldest brewery, while Bothwell is home to Australia's oldest golf course.

These are just some of the many significant 'firsts' that Tasmania has achieved for the nation.

Clean, green and pristine

Tasmania has over 2,000 km of walking tracks, winding through 18 beautiful national parks and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area itself covers 1.38 million hectares.

Much of the island is vast, empty wilderness. So much so that Tasmania receives more visitors per year than its whole population, which tallies in at over 500,000.

If you're looking for a place to breathe easy, then Tasmania is the place to go. Some of the world's cleanest air was measured at Cape Grim on the north-west coast, so if you can ignore the spooky name you might want to head there to fill your lungs. 

Visitors are also stunned by the sheer diversity of Tasmania's scenery and plant and animal life. One of the island's huon pines – a native tree – on Mt Read is estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. After all, Tasmania did break off from the ancient super-continent Gondwana about 50 million years ago – so parts of it are bound to be old!

Of course, Tasmania is famous for Tasmanian devils, immortalised in the Looney Tunes series. These creatures can be seen at conservation parks or in the wild across the island.

Even the world's smallest marsupial, known as the pygmy possum, is native to Tasmania.

Culture, history and intrigue

Tasmania's history is juicier and more intriguing than you could have imagined.

The island was occupied long ago – twelve thousand years ago, in fact,  by Aboriginal people who were cut off from the rest of Australia by rising seas. They were hunters and gatherers, making tools from all the natural resources they could find and living off seasonal food, the fruits of the ocean, and travelling by canoe to nearby islands.

You can still view relics of these civilisations today. Ancient rock paintings can be seen at and around the Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture Centre and Museum, for example.

When the British settled in Tasmania in 1803, Tasmania's history became more scandalous with convict prisons and settlements, many of which you can still view the remnants of today. Stories of hardship, hangmen and hauntings are rife at these historical sights. Ironically, these days Tasmania has the lowest crime rate of any Australian state!

Have these lesser-known facts got you fired up to visit the fascinating state of Tasmania yet?

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