1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tasmania
TASMANIA, a British colonial state, forming part of the Australian Commonwealth. It is composed of the island of Tasmania and its adjoining islands, and is separated from the Australian continent on the south-east by Bass Strait. The island of Tasmania is triangular in shape, area 24,331 sq. m. (with the other islands 26,215 sq. m.), 200 m. from N. to S., and 245 m. from E. to W.
Coastal Features.—The southern portion of the eastern shore of Tasmania is remarkable for its picturesque inlets and bold headlands The principal inlet is Storm Bay, which has three well-defined arms. The most easterly is Norfolk Bay, enclosed between Forestier’s Peninsula and Tasman Peninsula. The middle arm is Frederick Henry Bay, and the western the estuary of the Derwent. It is on this estuary that Hobart, the capital of the island, is situated. Besides the main entrance to Storm Bay, between Cape Raoul and Tasman Head, there is D’Entrecasteaux Channel, which divides North and South Bruni Island from the mainland. This channel has two branches, the easterly forming the entrance into Storm Bay, and the western being the estuary of the Huon river. On the east coast lies the peculiarly-shaped Maria Island, almost severed by deep indentations on the east and west. Above this island is Oyster Bay, formed by the projection, Freycinet Peninsula. On the south are some very prominent headlands. In the south-west lies the line harbour of Port Davey, which receives several small rivers. Proceeding northward along the west coast the most conspicuous headlands are Rocky Point, Point Hibbs and Cape Sorell, which stands at the entrance of Macquarie Harbour, the deep inlet receiving the waters of the river Gordon and several smaller streams. North of this there are several prominent headlands. The west coast terminates at Cape Grim, opposite which are the group known by the name of Hunter's Islands. Going eastward along the north coast Circular Head is met with, a narrow peninsula running out for six miles and terminating in a rocky bluff 400 ft. high. Further east are Emu Bay, Port Frederick, Port Sorell and Port Dalrymple, into which flows the Tamar river, on which Launceston is situated. In Bass Strait are several large islands belonging to Tasmania; King's, Flinders, Cape Barren and Clarke Islands are the largest. Flinders Island has an area of 513,000 acres. Among the rivers flowing northward to Bass Strait are the Tamar, Inglis, Cam, Emu, Blyth, Forth, Don, Mersey, Piper and Ringarooma. The Macquarie, receiving the Elizabeth and Lake, falls into the South Esk, which unites with the North Esk to form the Tamar at Launceston. Westward, falling into the ocean, are the Hellyer, Arthur and Pieman. The King and Gordon gain Macquarie Harbour; the Davey and Spring, Port Davey. The central and southern districts are drained by the Derwent from Lake St Clair—its tributaries being the Nive, Dee, Clyde, Ouse and Jordan. The Huon falls into D'Entrecasteaux Channel. The main axis of the Great Cordillera—so termed originally by Sir Roderick Murchison—bordering the eastern coast-line of Australia, may be traced across Bass Strait in the chain of islands forming the Furneaux and Kent group, which almost continually link Tasmania with Wilson's Promontory, the nearest and most southerly part of the Australian mainland. Tasmania is wholly occupied by the ramifications of this chain, and in itself may be said to embrace one and all of its characteristic features.
Taking a stand near Lake Fergus, to the east of Lake St Clair, the observer will find himself nearly in the centre of an extensive plateau, with an elevation, especially on the northern side, of between three and five thousand feet above the sea-level. This elevated plateau extends from Dry's Bluff in the north to the Denison Range in the south-west, and although often receding at points adjacent to the sources of the principal rivers, invariably presents a bold crested front to the north, west and east. At its greatest elevation it is comparatively level, and contains many extensive freshwater basins, such as Lake Augusta, Lake St Clair, Lake Sorell, Lake Echo, Lake Crescent, Arthur's Lake and the Great Lake. The marginal crests of this mountain tableland, together with its upper surface, are known locally as " Tiers," and have a very commanding aspect in the neighbourhood of Longford, Westbury, Delorainc and Chudleigh. The extent of the principal elevated plateau is best appreciated when we consider that it maintains its general altitude in a westerly direction from Dry's Bluff (4257 feet) on the north to Cradle Mountain (5069 feet) in the north-west, a distance of nearly 50 miles; from Dry's Bluff in a south-westerly direction to Denison Range, a distance of over 60 miles; and from Dry's Bluff to Table Mountain in a southerly direction, a distance of above 43 miles. This plateau itself again rests upon a more extended tableland, stretching westwards, and, with the Middlesex Plains, the Hampshire Hills and the Emu Plains, maintaining an altitude of 1200 to 2000 feet. Its limits follow the coast-line more or less closely, the space between it and the sea often broadening out into low-lying tracts not much raised above the sea-level. Here and there, rising abruptly from its surface, are to be seen isolated peaks, the most characteristic of which are Valentine's Peak (3637 feet) and Mount Pearse. Ridges and plateaus of a similar character, but more or less isolated, such as Ben Lomond (5010 feet) and Mount Wellington (4166 feet), are to be found in the north-east and south-west of the island. Towards the extreme west and south, anticlinal and synclinal ridges trend north and south, the most characteristic being the Huxley, Owen, Sedgwick, Franklin and Arthur Ranges. Settlement of population has taken place principally among the plains and lower levels of the north-western, midland and south-eastern parts of the island, following in the main the rocks of Tertiary and Mesozoic age. In the Recent Tertiary period the soils of these plains and valleys have been greatly enriched by extensive outbursts of basalt with accompanying tuffs. These basalts produce a very rich chocolate soil, and were it not for their influence, the greater part of what is now the most fertile part of the island would have been comparatively poor or altogether sterile.
The appearance of the island throughout is wonderfully beautiful, with its open plains, bordered by far-extending precipitous mountain tiers, its isolated shaggy peaks and wooded ranges, and its many noble rivers and lakes. Its coasts for the most part, especially towards the south, are bold, and frequently indented with splendid bays and harbours, affording ample shelter, and safe anchorage for ships. On the western side one is reminded of scenes in the highlands of Ross-shire and Inverness-shire in Scotland, from the picturesque character of the blue, white, and pinkish crystalline peaks and the fantastic outlines of the mountain ranges which rise abruptly to a height of from 2000 to nearly 3000 feet above the Button Grass Plains.
(T. A. C.)
Geology.—Tasmania is, geologically, an outlier of the Australian continent. It is most intimately connected with Victoria, from which it was only separated by the foundering of Bass's Strait in late Pliocene or early Pleistocene times. The precise date of the separation is fixed as later than the Miocene, since the fringe of the marine Miocene deposits along the southern coast of Victoria is broken, from Flinders to Alberton; and this gap was no doubt due to the subsidence of the land, of which the islands in the Bass Strait are remnants, which then connected Tasmania with the continent. The latest date for the existence of this connexion is given by the absence from Tasmania of the dingo, the lyre-bird and the giant marsupials; so that the isolation of Tasmania was earlier than the arrival of those animals in south-eastern Australia. That it was not much earlier is shown by the fact that some still living species of mammals, such as the thylacine, existed before the separation.
The geological sequence in Tasmania is full, and the island contains a better series of Carboniferous rocks than is found in Victoria. The nucleus of the island is a block of Archean rocks, which arc not, so far as is known, extensively exposed. The most certain representatives of the Archean arc the gneiss and schists of the Dove river and the upper Forth, and the hornblende-schists, which are exposed in the river valleys on the margins of the central plateau. The Mount Lyell schists which underlie the West Coast Range, and the quartzites of Port Davey on the western coast, have also been regarded as Archean. The Lower Palaeozoic systems begin with the Cambrian, which are found in northern Tasmania near Latrobe, and contain Cambrian fossils as Dikelocephalus Tasmanicus and Conocephalites stephensi. The Ordovician system has not been certainly identified ; but probably many of the slates and quartzites in north-western Tasmania and of the mining field of Beaconsfield on the estuary of the Tamar, are Ordovician. The Silurian system, however,' is well developed in north-western Tasmania, and is represented by slates, limestones and sandstones yielding a distinctively Silurian fauna. The rocks are best known by the limestones in the lead mining field at Zeehan, and the slates, including the tin mine of Mount Bischoff.
The Devonian system is best represented by the massive con- glomerates and quartzites, which form the West Coast Range extending from Mount Lyell on Macquarie Harbour, through Mounts Jukes, Owen, Lyell, Murchison and Geikie, to Mount Black. These mountains consist of detached remnants of a sheet of quartz conglomerates, interbedded with sandstones, containing crinoid stems and obscure brachiopods. They rest unconformably on the Silurian rocks on the King river and to the west are faulted against the schists by a powerful overthrust fault, traversing the Mount Lyell copper field. A northern extension of these conglomerates forms the Dial Range near Burnie. The Devonian period, as in Victoria, was marked by a series of granitic intrusions, which altered the older beds on the contact, while the quartz-porphyry dikes, which are intrusive in the Silurian rocks at the Mount Bischoff tin mine, doubtless belong to this period. The Carboniferous system begins with a series of marine limestones, shales and grits, including a rich Lower Carboniferous fauna. The Carboniferous rocks occupy the whole of the south-eastern corner of Tasmania; and one outlier occurs on the northern coast in the Mersey Valley. This formation helps to build up the central plateau, and a band outcrops around its edge. The Upper Carboniferous includes beds of shale and coal; but though the coal is good, the seams are thin and have not been much worked. The Coal Measures are covered by marine shales with numerous bryozoa; and, on the horizon of the Greta Coal Measures of New South Wales, is a bed of Carboniferous glacial deposits.
The Mesozoic system is not well developed. It is usually regarded as beginning with a fresh-water series containing the remains of fish and labyrinthodonts; but as it also contains Veriebraria it is probably Palaeozoic; and this series is covered by sandstones and shales which are probably of Triassic age. The most conspicuous member of the Mesozoic group is the sheet of diabase and dolerite, made up of laccolites and sills, which covers most of the central plateau of Tasmania. These rocks form the prominent scarps, known as the Tiers, on the edge of the plateau, and its outliers, such at Mount Wellington near Hobart, and the Eldon Range. This sheet of diabase has been regarded as Carboniferous; but, according to W. H. Twelvetrees, it is probably Cretaceous. The Cainozoic system includes at Table Cape an outcrop of marine beds probably of Oligocene age. Lower Cainozoic lacustrine beds with fossil plants, of the same age as those which underlie the older basalts of Victoria, occur in the valleys of northern Tasmania. The Cainozoic series includes many igneous rocks. The tinguaites and sölvsbergites of Port Cygnet, south of Hobart, may be of this age; they are intrusive in Carboniferous rocks, and there is no evidence of their precise date; but their resemblance to the rocks associated with the geburite-dacite of Victoria suggests that they may belong to the beginning of the Cainozoic volcanic period of south-eastern Australia. North-western Tasmania in Pleistocene times had an extensive series of glaciers, of which the lower moraines were deposited only about 400 feet above sea level.
The information as to the geology of Tasmania up to 1888 is collected in R. M. Johnston's Systematic Account of the Geology of Tasmania, which gives a bibliography up to that date. A later sketch of the island is by W.H. Twelvetrees," Outlines of the Geology of Tasmania," Proc. R. Soc. Tasmania, 1900-1901, pp. 58-74. The mining literature is given in the reports of the Mines Depart- ment, and special reports issued in the Parliamentary Papers; and the economic and general geology are described in reports issued periodically by the Geological Survey, under W. H. Twelvetrees, and in papers published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania. The Mount Lyell mining field is described, with some account of the neighbouring districts of Western Tasmania, in J. W. Gregory, The Mount Lyell Mining Field (Melbourne, 1904). The glacial geology, with a summary of the literature thereon, is described by the same writer in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 1904, vol. lx., pp. 7-8, 37"53-
(J. W. G.)
Climate.—Tasmania possesses a very temperate and healthy climate. The mean temperature of the year, as estimated from observations extending back to 1841, is about 50.10°. The mean at Hobart was 54.4°, at Launceston 56.6° and at Oatlands, which is in the centre of the island and 1400 ft. above sea-level, 51.76°. Snow is rarely seen except in the mountains. The average temperature at Hobart of January, the hottest month, is 63°, and of July, which is mid- winter, 45°. The western prevailing winds — particularly the north-western — carry the rain-bearing clouds. The elevation-divide between the western and eastern parts of the island rises generally to a height of between 3000 and 5000 ft., and consequently the parts to the east of such heights receive much less precipitation than those to the westward. The general average for the eastern district over a period of years was 22-07 inches; for the western, 37.55 inches; and for Tasmania 26.69 inches.
Flora.—The vegetation which prevails among the older schistose rocks of the west and extreme south presents a totally different appearance to that which occurs in the more settled districts of the east. The western vegetation, as compared with that of the east, presents as marked a contrast as do the prevailing rocks upon which it flourishes. The characteristic trees and shrubs of the west include the following genera, viz.: Fagus, Cenarrhenes, Anodopetalum, Eucryphia, Bauera, Boronia, Agastachys, Richea, Telopea, Grevillea, Orites, Athrotaxis, Dacrydium, Phyllocladus. On the eastern side the plains and rocky ridges, where not artificially cleared, are occupied by shaggy and often sombre forests mainly composed of the following genera: Eucalyptus (gum tree), Casuarina, Bursaria, Acacia, Leptospermum, Drimys, Melaleuca, Dodonaea, Notolea, Exocarpus, Hakea, Epacris, Xanthorrhoea, Frenela. The mountain slopes and ravines of the east have a well-marked vegetation. In character it is more akin to, and in many cases identical with, that of the west. The tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica) in the mountain ravines is especially remarkable. The following genera are also found in such positions in great luxuriance, viz.: Fagus, Anopterus, Phebalium, Eucalyptus, Richea, Cyatho'des, Pomaderris, Prostanthera, Boronia, Gaultheria, Correa, Bedfordia, Aster, Archeria, Atherosperma, &c. In the extreme west the trees and larger shrubs do not appear to ascend the schistose rocky mountain slopes of the central and eastern parts.Fauna.—Animal life in Tasmania is similar to that in Australia. The dingo or dog of the latter is wanting; and the Tasmanian devil and tiger, or wolf, are peculiar to the island. The Marsupials include the Macropus or kangaroo; the opossums, Phalangista vulpina and P. Cookii; the opossum-mouse, Dromicia nana; Perameles or bandicoot; Hypsiprymnus or kangaroo rat; Phascolomys or wombat; while of Monotremata there are the Echidna or porcupine ant-eater and the duck-billed platypus. The marsupial tiger or Tasmanian wolf (Thylacinus cynocephalus), 5 ft. long, is yellowish brown, with several stripes across the back, having short stiff hair and very short legs. Very few of these nocturnal carnivores are now alive to trouble flocks. The tiger-cat of the colonists, with weasel legs, white spots and nocturnal habits, is a large species of the untameable native cats. The devil (Dasyurus or Sarcophilus ursinus) is black, with white bands on neck and haunches. The covering of this savage but cowardly little night-prowler is a sort of short nair, not fur. The tail is thick, and the bull-dog mouth is formidable. Among the birds of the island are the eagle, hawk, petrel, owl, finch, peewit, diamond bird, fire-tail, robin, emu-wren, crow, swallow, magpie, blackcap, goatsucker, quail, ground dove, parrot, lark, mountain thrush, cuckoo, wattlebird, whistling duck, honeybird, Cape Barren goose, penguin duck, waterhen, snipe, albatross and laughing jackass. Snakes are pretty plentiful in scrubs; the lizards are harmless. Insects, though similar to Australian ones, are far less troublesome; many are to be admired for their great beauty.
Population.—At the beginning of 1905, the state contained 181,100 people, giving a density of 6.9 persons per square mile. The population in 1870 was 100,765. The discovery of Mount Bischoff one year later, though it greatly stimulated speculation and induced a large influx of immigrants, did not put a stop to the outflow, for in 1880 the population was still below 115,000. During the next two decades there was a substantial advance; in 1890 it had reached 145,200, and in 1900, 172,980. Like all the Australian states, Tasmania shows a decline in the birth-rate; in 1905 the births were 5256—36 less than in 1904—which gives a rate of 29.32 per 1000 of mean population.
The climate is probably more healthy than that of any of the Australian states, although, owing to the large number of old people in the colony, the death-rate would appear to put Tasmania on a par with New South Wales and South Australia. The death-rate per 1000 of population, which was 16.52 in the period 1876-80, had fallen to 11.01 in the period 1901-5. There has therefore been a gradual and substantial improvement in the health conditions of the state. The annual marriage-rate was for many years considerably below the average of Australia generally, a condition sufficiently accounted for by the continued emigration of men unmarried and of marriageable ages; this emigration had ceased in 1900, and the marriage-rate may be taken as 7.8 per thousand. The chief towns are Hobart (pop. 35,000) and Launceston (pop. 22,500).
Administration.—As one of the states of Australia, Tasmania returns six senators and five representatives to the federal parliament. The local constitution resembles that of the other Australian states inasmuch as the executive government of four ministers is responsible to the legislature, which consists of a legislative council and a house of assembly. The former is composed of eighteen members elected for six years. Electors of the council must be natural-born or naturalized subjects of the king, twenty-one years of age, resident in Tasmania for twelve months, and possessing a freehold of the annual value of £10 or a leasehold of the annual value of £30 within the electoral district; the property qualification being waived in the case of persons with university degrees or belonging to certain professions. Members of the council must be not less than thirty years of age. The house of assembly consists of 35 members elected for three years. Every resident of Tasmania for a period of twelve months who is twenty-one years of age, natural-born or naturalized, is entitled to have his name placed on the electoral roll, and to vote for the district in which he resides. The franchise has been conferred on women.
Education.—Half the population are adherents of the Church of England, and about 18 per cent. Roman Catholics; Wesleyans number nearly 16 per cent., and Presbyterians about 6½ per cent. Instruction is compulsory upon children over seven years of age and under thirteen years in the towns of Hobart and Launceston, but not in the rural districts. Special religious instruction is allowed to be given after school hours by teachers duly authorized by the various religious denominations, and this privilege is somewhat extensively used by the Church of England. The schools are not free, as small fees are charged; but these are not enforced where parents can reasonably plead poverty. In 1905 there were 343 state schools, with 19,000 pupils on the roll, and administered by 600 teachers; there were also 180 private schools, with 310 teachers and 9000 scholars. The net expenditure averages £3, 15s. 2d. per child in average attendance, inclusive of what is spent in the up- keep of school buildings and on new schools. The university of Tasmania has an endowment of £4000 and a revenue from other sources (chiefly fees) of from £1100 to £2000. The students attending lectures in 1904 were 62, of whom 51 matriculated, and the number of degrees conferred to the close of that year was 180, the great majority of these degrees being granted ad eundem gradum.
Finance.—The revenue is chiefly obtained through the customhouse, but the federal tariff has had the effect of considerably reducing the receipts from this source. In 1905 the state raised £852,681 on account of the public revenue, which is equal to £4, 13s. 3d. per inhabitant; of this sum £259,099 was the excess of Commonwealth collections over expenditure, and £216,953 from other taxation; the railways returned £245,049, while from public lands was obtained £63,088, and from other sources £43,504. The expenditure was £840,185, thus distributed: railway working expenses, £171,619; public instruction, £67,403; interest and charges upon debt, including sinking funds, £349,090; and other services £252,075. The interest and other debt charges come to £1, 18s. 9d. per inhabitant, and represent 41.55 per cent, of the expenditure of the state. The public debt in the year 1906 stood at £9,471,971, of which £7,830,250 was held in London; this represents £52, 6s. per inhabitant. In 1871 it was £1,315,200, in 1881 £2,003,000, and in 1891 £7,110,290, representing respectively £12, 18s., £16, 16s. 10d., and £46, 11s. 10d. per inhabitant, the great increase in recent years being due to the rapid extension of railway and other public works. The expenditure upon works may be divided into that on revenue-yielding works, viz. railways, £4,122,589, and telegraphs, £142,410; and that on works not yielding revenue, £4,970,018. For local government purposes Tasmania is divided into municipalities, town boards, and road trusts. The rates are assessed on an assumed annual value, which in 1900 was £1,417,547, corresponding to a capital value of, 'upwards of £28,000,000. The bulk of the revenue of the local government bodies is obtained from rates. The sources of revenue in 1905 were: government endowment, £5355; local rates, £71,920; and other sources, £83,187. The outstanding loans of municipalities amount to £697,133, of which the greater portion is represented by the indebtedness of the two chief cities, Hobart and Launceston.
Defence.—Tasmania being a portion of the Commonwealth of Australia, its defence is undertaken by the federal government. The strength of the local forces is about 1500 officers and men.
Mining.—Mining is now the foremost industry, the gross production in 1905 being valued at £1,858,218 as compared with £1,500,000, the value of agricultural production, which is next in importance. Tasmania produces gold, tin, silver, copper and coal, and in 1905 the production of these minerals was valued at: gold, £312,380; silver and silver-lead, £465,094; copper, £672,010; tin, £346,092; and coal, £44,194. Beaconsfield is the chief goldfield, 26 miles north-west of Launceston. There are about 1500 persons employed mining for gold on the various fields. The Mount Zeehan and Dundas districts produce almost the whole of the silver at the present time, and most of the ore is sold to agents of the Australian and German smelting works. Tasmania is the largest producer of tin in Australasia, and a very large proportion of the tin hitherto produced has been obtained from alluvial deposits, the lodes, except at Mount Bischoff, having, comparatively speaking, been neglected. The Mount Bischoff mine, which is worked as an open quarry, is the largest producer of tin, and (with an original capital of £30,000) has paid over two millions sterling in dividends. The number of tin miners in the state is about 1170. Tasmania also takes the lead amongst the states in copper production: in 1896 there was a small production of £1659; in 1897 it grew to £317,437, in 1898 to £378,565, in 1899 to £761,880, and in 1900 to £901,660; and although the production has since been considerably reduced it is still a great industry. This expansion was chiefly due to the enterprise of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, whose mine is situated at Gormanston. Coal-mining is carried on in various districts of the island, but the principal mines are at Mount Nicholas and Cornwall, in the Mount Nicholas Range; the output of the field is increasing, but no export trade is at present possible, the mines being situated too far from the sea-board. The number of men employed in coal-mining is 150, and the output about 52,000 tons per annum.
Manufactures are on a small scale, the number of establishments being about 440, and the hands employed 9000.
Agriculture.—After being much neglected, agriculture received renewed attention in 1892 and the following years up to 1904, when the area under crop reached a total of 259,611 acres; since the year named there has been no increase, and the area cultivated may be placed at about 250,000 acres. The area under crop, at intervals of ten years, was as follows: 1861, 163,385 acres; 1871, 155,046 acres; 1887, 148,494 acres; 1891, 168,121 acres; and 1901, 224,352 acres. Wheat is the principal crop, and the yield is larger per acre and less variable than that of the Australian states : Tor the fifteen years ending with 1905 the average yield was 18·9 bushels per acre, ranging between 15 bushels in 1894 and 27 bushels in 1899. The oat crop is also much above the Australian average, and may be set down at 30 bushels an acre, but an average of 5 bushels higher is not infrequent. Tasmania is renowned for its fruit crops, and now that this fruit has found an opening in the British market, renewed attention is being devoted to the industry. In 1905 there were 12,683 acres of apples, 2098 acres of pears, 1111 acres of apricots, 1,123 acres of plums, 426 acres of cherries, 498 acres of peaches, 2000 acres of strawberries, gooseberries and raspberries, and 1107 acres of currants. The crop for the same year included 1,100,000 bushels of apples, 75,000 bushels of pears, and nearly 170,000 bushels of other fruit. Tasmania finds its best markets for fruits in New South Wales and in Great Britain. The total value of the produce of Tasmanian farms now exceeds £1,250,000, which is equivalent to £4, 17s. 5d. per acre cultivated.
Tasmania shows a decline in sheep-breeding, yet the state is singularly well adapted for sheep-raising, and its stud flocks are well known and annually drawn upon to improve the breed in the other states. Nor have the other branches of the pastoral industry shown much expansion, as the following table will show:—
Commerce.—The shipping increased considerably after 1896. Hobart is now a place of call for several of the European steamship lines, and the state is becoming increasingly popular as a summer resort for the residents of Melbourne and Sydney. The growth of the shipping trade will be seen in the following table, which also gives the imports and exports at ten-yearly intervals:—
Tasmania does a large trade with Victoria and New South Wales as well as with Great Britain. The principal exports in 1905 and their values were: wool, £401,958; gold, £187,873; tin and ore, £257,256; silver and ore, £318,971; copper, £569,052; farm, fruit and vegetable products, £477,866; timber, £78,380. The imports represent £14, 15s. 10d. and the exports £20, 14s. per inhabitant. The chief ports of the state are Hobart, where the shipping entered in 1905 amounted to 645,000 tons, and Launceston, 223,000 tons; Strahan on the west coast has also a considerable trade.
Railways.—The railways open for traffic in 1905 had a length of 619 miles, of which 463 were government and 156 private lines. The progress of railway construction will be seen from the following figures: open for traffic, 1871, 45 miles; 1881, 168 miles; 1891, 425 miles; and 1905, 619 miles. The railways, both state and private, are of 3 ft. 6 in. gauge. The capital expended on government lines up to 1905 was £3,920,500; the gross earnings in that year were £243,566, and the working expenses £171,630; leaving £71,936 as the net earnings. This last-mentioned sum is equal to 1·83 per cent, on the capital expenditure; and as the average interest upon outstanding loans is 3·73 per cent., the railways are carried on at a loss of 1·9 per cent. The private railways show somewhat better returns; the Emu Bay and Mount Bischoff line, 103 miles in length, constructed at a cost of £565,365, returned in 1904 about 3·22 per cent., and the Mount Lyell Company’s railway, 22 miles long, costing £220,333, returned nearly 6 per cent.
The roads maintained by the road trusts and boards of the colony extend over 7695 miles, of which 4146 were macadamized; the annual expenditure thereon is over £35,768.
Posts and Telegraphs.—There were 379 post offices and receiving offices in 1905, and 327 telegraphic stations; 12,616,000 postcards and letters, 2,800,000 packets, and 7,200,000 newspapers were received and despatched. The postal revenue amounted to £116,132, and the expenditure to £109,389; these sums include telegraph and telephone business. The telegraph messages sent numbered 496,000. The telephone system is being rapidly extended, and at the beginning of 1906, 1371 miles of line were being worked.
Banking.—There are four banks of issue, of which two are local institutions; their united assets average £3,576,700. The note circulation is about £150,000, and the deposits £3,520,000, about half bearing interest.
History.—Tasmania, or, as it was originally called, Van Diemen’s Land, was discovered in 1642 by the Dutch navigator Tasman (q.v.) who named the territory after his patron, Van Diemen. The island was subsequently visited in 1772 by a French naval officer, Captain Marion du Fresne; in 1773. by Captain Furneaux, of the British man-of-war “Adventure”; in 1777 by the great circumnavigator Captain Cook; by Bligh in 1788, and again in 1792, when he planted fruit trees. In the same year the French navigator D’Entrecasteaux visited the south portion of the island and surveyed the coast. In 1798 Bass sailed through the strait which now bears his name, and discovered Van Diemen’s Land was an island. In 1800 the French explorer Baudin, in command of the ships “Geographe” and “Naturaliste,” surveyed the south of the island, and reports of bis proceedings having reached the British officials at Sydney, they determined to forestall the French and take possession of Van Diemen’s Land.
In 1802 the “Cumberland,” a small schooner, landed at King’s Island in Bass Strait, and in 1803 Lieutenant Bowen was sent by Governor King of New South Wales to form a settlement on the south coast of Van Diemen’s Land. He had aboard his two ships, the “Lady Nelson” of 60 tons and the whaler “Albion” of 306 tons, three officials, a lance-corporal and seven privates of the New South Wales Corps, six free men and twenty-five convicts, together with an adequate supply of live stock, and landed at Risdon, near Hobart, where he was joined shortly afterwards by fifteen soldiers and forty-two convicts. In 1807, Colonel Paterson occupied Tort Dalrymple on the north side of the island. During the same year Colonel Collins, who had failed in an attempt to colonize the shores of Port Phillip, transferred his soldiers, convicts and officials to the neighbourhood of Hobart, and was appointed commandant of the infant settlement. Provisions were scarce and dear, communication with the rest of the world was infrequent, and in 1807 the community was threatened with starvation, and flour was sold at £200 per ton. The difficulties of the settlers were increased by the hostility of the blacks. The first collision took place at Risdon, a few days after the landing of Lieutenant Bowen’s expedition, and for this the white settlers were entirely responsible. Hostilities between the races were incessant from 1802 till 1830. An attempt was made in the year 1830 to drive the natives to one corner of the island, but without success. In the following year, however, Mr George Robinson induced the remnant of the blacks to leave the mainland and take refuge, first in South Bruni and subsequently in Flinders Island, their numbers having then diminished from 5000, the original estimate of the aboriginal population, to 203. In 1842 there were only 44, in 1854 they had diminished to 16, and the last pure-blooded Tasmanian died in 1876, at the age of seventy-six. There are, however, a few persons possessing more or less aboriginal blood in some of the islands of the Bass Strait.
Some persons who had settled at Norfolk Island when that island became a penal depot were transferred to Van Diemen’s Land in 1805. But the growth of population was extremely slow, and in 1808 a census showed that there were only 3240 people on the island, including officials, military and convicts, and whatever measure of prosperity was enjoyed by the free inhabitants arose from the expenditure by the imperial government upon the convict settlement. In the year named settlers began to arrive. To every free immigrant was given a tract of land in proportion to the amount of capital brought by him to the colony — the possession of £500 entitling the holder to 640 acres, and so in proportion, a very liberal view being taken as to what constituted capital. To every free settler was assigned, if desired, the services of a number of convicts proportionate 'to the size of his holding. These were fed and clothed by the settler in return for their labour, and the government was relieved of the expense of their support and supervision. The assignment system was eventually abandoned in consequence of its moral and economic evils, but it cannot be denied that while it lasted the colony made substantial progress. In 182 1 the population had grown to 7400; the sheep numbered 128,468; the cattle, 34,790; horses, 550; and 14,940 acres of land were under crops. As the number of free settlers in the colony increased an agitation arose for more political freedom and improved administration; especially was there a demand for a free press and for trial by jury. These requests were gradually grantee!. Courts of justice were substituted in 1822 for courts-martial; and in 1825 the colony was made independent of New South Wales, Colonel Arthur being appointed governor. In 1828 the Van Diemen’s Land Company commenced sheep-farming on a large scale in the north-west district of the island under a charter granted three years before, and in 1829 the Van Diemen’s Land Establishment obtained a grant of 40,000 acres at Norfolk Plains for agriculture and grazing. In 1834 Portland Bay, on the mainland of Australia, was occupied by settlers from Van Diemen’s Land, and in 1835 there was a migration, large when compared with the population of the island, to the shores of Port Phillip, now Victoria. At that date the population was 40,172, a large proportion being convicts, for in four years 15,000 prisoners had been landed. The colony was prosperous, but the free settlers were not at all satisfied with the system of government, and an •agitation commenced in Van Diemen’s Land, as well as in New South Wales, for the introduction of representative institutions and the abolition of transportation. This system was abolished in New South Wales in 1840, after which date the island was the receptacle for all convicts not only from the United Kingdom, but from India and the colonies, and it was not until 1853 that transportation to Van Diemen’s Land finally ceased; in the same year representative institutions were introduced, the name of the colony was changed to Tasmania, and three years later the colony was granted responsible government.
The discovery of gold in Victoria produced a very remarkable effect upon Tasmania. All kinds of produce brought fabulous prices, and were exported to Victoria in such quantities that the exports rose from a value of £665,700 in 1851 to £1,509,883 in 1852, and £1,756,316 in 1853, while the population diminished in almost equal ratio. It was estimated that in 1842 there were 38,000 adult males in the colony, but in
1854 their numbers had diminished to 22,261. For many years the island was inhabited by greybeards and children; the young men and women of all classes, so soon as they bad reached manhood and womanhood, crossed Bass Strait, and entered upon the wider life and the more brilliant prospects which first Victoria, and subsequently New South Wales and Queensland, afforded them. It was not till the sixties that Tasmania embarked upon a new period of prosperity. In the early days little was known about the western half of the island. Its mineral wealth was not suspected, although as far back as 1850 coal of fair quality had been found between the Dee and the Mersey rivers, and gold had been discovered in two or three localities during 1852. In i860 two expeditions were equipped by the government for a search for gold and other minerals, and although it was some years before there was any important result, the discoveries of these explorers directed attention to the mineral wealth of the island.
The political history of the colony after the inauguration of responsible government, until it became in 1901 one of the states of Federated Australasia, was not important. State aid to religion, which was given to any denomination which would receive it, was abolished; local self-government was extended to the rural as well as to the urban districts; a policy of semi-protection was introduced; the island was connected by a submarine cable to the mainland of Australia, and thence to the rest of the civilized world; and the population, which was only 99,328 in 1870, was nearly doubled. Like her neighbours, Tasmania organized a defence force, and was able to send a contingent to South Africa in 1900. (T. A. C.)
Authorities.—J. Bonwick, Daily Life and Origin of the Tasmanians (London, 1870) ; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania (Hobart, 1884); Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, On the Flora of Australia; its Origin, Affinities, and Distributions. An Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania (London, 1859); T. C. Just, Tasmaniana; a Description of the Island and its Resources (Launceston, 1879); J. L. Gerard Krefft, Notes on the Fauna of Tasmania (Sydney, 1868); George Thomas Lloyd, Thirty-three Years in Tasmania and Victoria (London, 1862); Mrs Louisa Anne Meredith, My Home in Tasmania; or, Nine Years in Australia (New York, 1853); Tasmanian Friends and Foes—Feathered, Furred, and Finned (Hobart, 1881); Royal Society of Tasmania, Papers and Proceedings (Hobart); H. Ling Roth and M. E. Butler, The Aborigines of Tasmania (2nd ed. Halifax, 1899).