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The island of Tasmania lies to the south of Australia, from which it is separated by Bass Strait. This channel, in its narrowest part, is about 100 miles in width, but its eastern entrance is studded with islands which seem to indicate that Tasmania was formerly connected with the neighbouring continent. The island is triangular in shape, the base forming a concave curve between Cape Portland and Cape Grim. The two sides of the triangle are washed by the South Pacific, and the apex is South Cape. The average length of Tasmania, from north to south, is about 1G0 miles, the mean breadth is about the same, and the total area is 2G,215 square miles.


The shores are generally bold, rocky, and picturesque, except in the neighbourhood of Cape Portland, and to the south of Cape Grim, and there are many excellent harbours, and almost everywhere good anchorage. A striking feature on the south-east coast is the rugged islands and curiously-shaped peninsulas. The peninsulas are generally very lofty, but are connected to the mainland by low isthmuses of drifted sand, and at a former period were probably islands; but these former islands, as well as those now existing, doubtless at a still earlier period formed part of the mainland, from which they have been separated by the action of the sea. Thus the force of the waves on the one hand, and the action of winds and oceanic currents on the other, act in opposition, the sea tending to sever the land masses, the currents and winds to unite them.


King Island, at the western entrance of Bass Strait.

Hunter, Three Hummock, Bobbin's Isis., all in the neighbourhood of C. Grim.

Furneaux Group, at the eastern extremity of Bass Str., includes Flinders, Barren, Clark, and Chapelle Isis,

Schouten and Maria Isis., off the east coast.

Bruno Isl., on the south-east.


Freycinet, on the east side of Oyster Bay.

Forrestier, south of Maria Isl.

Tasman Peninsula, south of Forrestier.

Ralph Bay Pen., south of the county of Monmouth, in Storm B.


East Bay Neck, joining Forrestier to the mainland.

Eagle-Hawk Neck, joining Tasman Pen. to Forrestier.

Ralph's Bay Neck, joining the peninsula to the mainland.

Bruno, joining Korth and South Brune.


Cape Grim, Circular Head, Rocky C., Table C., Port Sorell Point, Waterhouse Pt., and C. Portland, in the north.

Eddystone Pt., St. Helens Pt., Long Pt., C. Tourville and C. Bernier,

in the east.

C. Pillar, C. Raoul, Tasman Head, C. Bruno, South-east C., South C., South-west C., in the south.

Rocky C., Hibbs Pt., C. Sorell, Sandy C., and West Pt., in the west.


Duck Bay, Emu B., Port Frederick, Port Sorell, Port Dalrymple, Tam o’ Shanter B., Anderson B., and Ringarooma B., on the north coast.

George's B., Oyster B., Prosser B., and Marion B., on the east coast.

Adventure B., Cloudy B., Storm B., Frederick Henry B., Pitt Water, Norfolk B., Port Arthur, Port Cygnet, Port Esperance, South Port, and Recherche B., on the south.

Port Davy and Macquarie Harbour, on the west coast.


Bass Strait, between Australia and Tasmania.

Banks Str., between the Furneaux group and Tasmania.

D’ Entrecasteaux Channel, between Brune Is. and the mainland.




The surface of Tasmania is diversified with hills and lofty mountains. Level ground is rarely met with, but the hill slopes are for the most part gentle and the country undulating. In some parts, however, crags, glens, and dark ravines are met with, and in Wyld’s Crag there is said to be a precipice more than 2000 feet in height. The most striking feature in the surface of the island is the Central Plateau, which has an average elevation of about 3000 ft. This table-land is adorned with numerous lakes, and contains the sources of the principal streams in the island. It produces abundant pasture, and was one of the earliest parts of Tasmania that were settled. On the north it is bounded by a well-defined ridge of mountains, but it decreases in elevation towards the south, and terminates in the hills which bound the left bank of the Derwent. On the north-east of the plateau is a range known as the Western Tiers, so called to distinguish it from a parallel ridge on the right bank of the South Esk, which is named the Eastern Tiers. On the western side of the plateau rises Cradle Mountain (5069 ft.), which is the culminating point in the island.

The various mountain ranges of Tasmania may be divided into three groups : (1) the north-eastern group in the counties of Dorset, Cornwall, and Glamorgan; (2) the central group which encircles the Central Plateau; (3) the Western Mountains, extending from the counties of Wellington and Devon, on the north, through Russell, Montagu, Lincoln, Franklin, Arthur, and Buckingham, to Kent on the south. In the following Table we give the chief summits in each group, with their heights, and the counties in which they are situated:—

North-Eastern Groui\

Ben Lomond, 5010 ft.; St. Paul’s Dome, 3360 ft.; and Mount Nicholas, 2812 ft.; in the county of Cornwall.

Mt. Barrow, 4644 ft.; and Mt. Arthur, 3393 ft., in Dorset.

Mt.Victoria, 3964 ft.; and Ben Nevis, 3910 ft., on the borders of Dorset and Cornwall.

Central Group.

Wood’s Quoin, 3033 ft.; Table Mt., 3596 ft.; Mt. Franklin, 35S7 ft.; and Miller’s Bluff, 3977 ft., in Somerset.

Mt. Penny. 3780 ft.; Brady’s Lookout, 4497 ft.; Dry’s Bluff, 4257 ft.; Ironstone Mt., 4736 ft.; and Quamby’s Bluff, 4000 ft., in Westmoreland.

Mt. Manfred, Mt. Olympus, Mt. Hugel, 4700 ft., in Lincoln.

King William Mt., 4360 ft.; Mt. Hobhouse, 4031 ft., in Franklin.

Western Mountains.

Cradle Mt., 5069 ft. ; and Barn Bluff, in Lincoln.

Black Bluff, 4381 ft.; and Mt. Rolland, 4047 ft., in Devon.

Valentine’s Peak, 3637 ft. ; and Campbell Range, in Wellington.

Mt. Bischoflf, Mt. Balfour, and Mt. Norfolk, in Russell.

Eldon Ra., 4739 ft.; Mt. Hiemskirk andMt. Zechaam, in Montagu.

Wyld’s Crag, 4390 ft. ; and Frenchman's Cap, 4756 ft., in Frank -land.

Wilmot Ra., 3468 ft.; Arthur Ra., 3633 ft.; and Mt. Picton, 4340 ft., in Arthur County.

Mt. Adamson, 4017 ft.; and La Perouse, 3S06 ft., in Kent. •

Mt. Field West, 4721 ft.; Mt. Field East, 4167 ft.; Colin’s Bonnet, 4131 ft.; Mt. Wellington, *1166 ft.; and Mt. Anne, in Buckingham.

Other mountains of less elevation are :—

Mt. Dromedary, 3245 ft.; Black Tier, 2544 ft., in Monmouth.

Prosser’s Sugar Loaf, 2195 ft.; Brown Mt., 2598 ft., in Pembroke.

Mt. CampbeH, 3353 ft.; Snow Hill, 3179 ft.; Mt. Connection 2630 ft.; and Mt. Tooms, 2362 ft., in Glamorgan.


The chief rivers of Tasmania are the Derwent, Tamar, Gordon, and Huon.

The Derwent drains most of the lakes which adorn the central plateau. It rises in Lake St. Clair, which is about 10 miles in length by 2 in breadth, and lies at an elevation of 3500 ft. Flowing to the south-east the river is joined on the left by the Nive, Dee, Ouse, and Clyde, and on the right by the Florentine and other streams. The Nive and Ouse have their sources in a number of small lakes called the Ninety Lagoons, which lie to the east ot St. Clair. The Dee issues from Lake Echo. The

largest lake in this region, and indeed in the whole island, is Great Lake, from which flows the Shannon, an affluent of the Ouse. To the south-east of Great Lake are the beautiful lakes Sorel and Crescent, which form the source of the Clyde. The Derwent now continues its course to the south-east, and after passing New Norfolk expands into a fine estuary, upon which stands Hobart Town. Into this estuary flows the River Jordan, which has its source in Lake Tiberias: this lake does not belong to the central region. The total length of the Derwent is about 130 miles.

The Tamar is an estuary formed by the junction of tho North Esk and South Esk. The former rises to tho north of Ben Lomond, and its chief feeder is the St. Patrick. The South Esk is a much larger stream, which, after being augmented byr the Break o’ Day River and St. Paul’s River, drains the wide valley between the Eastern and Western Tiers. One of its chief feeders is the Macquarie, which rises not far from the source of the Jordan, and flowing to the north-west is joined on the left bank by the Lake River. This stream has its source in Arthur Ijakes, which lie in the central plateau between Great Lake and Lake Sorel. Issuing from these lakes the Lake River bursts through the Western Tiers, and flowing due north, joins the Macquarie, which flows into the South Esk below Longford. The South Esk is next joined by the Meander, on which stands Deloraine, and then bursting through the Eastern Tiers it joins the North Esk at Launceston. The estuary of the Tamar is about 40 miles in length, and the channel is in many parts narrow and obstructed by shoals.

The Gordon has its source in Lake Richmond, to the north of Wyld’s Crag. It flows to the north-west through fine grassy plains, and empties its waters into Macquarie Harbour. One of its feeders issues from Lake Redder, in Arthur County.

The Huon issues from iAike Edgar, to the east of Lake Pedder, and flows in an easterly direction through a densely wooded country. Just above Franklin it turns

sharply to the south, and its estuary opens into D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

We now give a list of the principal rivers of Tasmania, with the chief feeders in each case.

Rivers Flowing to the North.

The Tamar, formed by the junction of the North and South Esks.

The North Esk, with its tributary the St. Patrick River.

The South Esk, with the Break o’ Day, St. Paul’s, Nile, Blackman, Elizabeth, Macquarie, Lake, Liffey, and Meander Rivs.

The Rubicon, Mersey, with its tributary the Dasher; the Don, Forth, Gawler, Leven, Blythe, Emu, Cam, inglis, Detention, Black, Duck, Montagu, Harcus, Welcome Rivs., all to the west of the Tamar R.

The Piper, Little Forester’s, Bird, Great Forester’s, Boohyalla, and Ringarooma Rivs., to the east of the Tamar R.

Rivers Flowing to the East.

The Anson, George, Scamander, Swan, Little Swanpat, and Prosser Rivs.

Rivers Flowing to the South.

The Derwent, with the Guelph, Florentine, Broad, Russell, Styx, and Plenty Rivs. on the right bank ; and the Traveller's' Nive, Dee, Fuse, Shannon, Clyde, and Jordan Rivs. on the left bank.

The N.W. Bay, Brown’s, Huon, with the Cracroft, Picton, Arve, and Kermandee; the Esperance, Lune, D’Entrecasteaux’ Spring, Davey, and De Witt Rivs.

Rivers Flowing to the West.

The Gordon, with the Franklin, Denison, Wedge, and Serpentine ; the King, with the Eldon, and Surprise ; the Pieman, with the Donaldson, Coldstream, Huskisson, and Mackintosh- and the Arthur, with the Hellyer and Waratah Rivs.


Tasmania lies between the parallels of 40° 33' and 43° 33' S. lat. It is therefore at least 10° nearer the equator than England, and we should therefore expect it to lia\ c a higher temperature. The temperature, however, is reduced by the general elevation of the surface, and the influence of the surrounding ocean. Its



average may be taken at 543, which is 4 higher than that of London. At Hobart Town snow rarely falls; and though in summer the heat is sometimes oppressive, especially in the northern part of the island, the nights are generally cool and refreshing. The hot north-west winds of Australia occasionally reach Tasmania, but they are reduced in temperature by crossing Bass Strait. The atmosphere is remarkable for its purity, and the climate is very healthy. It is not so humid as might be expected from its situation, and the average annual rainfall is less than that of England, but exceeds that of Australia.


Minerals. — The igneous rocks are largely developed in Tasmania. The central table-land is formed chiefly of masses of basalt and greenstone, which in their upheaval have burst through the sedimentary rocks that once overlaid them. Granite occupies a large area to the north-east, and occurs also in many parts of the north and west. The mineral products of the country are of great value. Rich mines of tin are now being worked in the north-western and north-eastern portions of the colony. Iron ore is very abundant, and smelting works are now in operation both on the banks of the Tamar and in the neighbourhood of Hobart Town. Coal of good quality is very generally distributed, and gold has been met with in the Fingal district (South Esk) and in other ¡daces. In 1875 the quantity of gold produced was 3010 oz. Good building stone is worked in some parts and largely exported to Melbourne.

Vegetation.—There is a great variety in the nature of the soil in different parts of the island: in some places it is poor, in others remarkably rich. The central plateau affords a great extent of excellent pasture, and the alluvial soil of the lower plains and valleys, being derived in a great measure from the disintegration of the trap, is exceedingly fertile. The vegetation, especially that which clothes the lower grounds, is almost identical with that

of Australia, and consists chiefly of acacias, gum trees, and arborescent ferns. Most of the trees are evergreens: a species of beech, found in the central lake region, is said to be the only native tree with deciduous foliage. Timber, however, is far more abundant than in the neighbouring continent, the supply being practically inexhaustible. The pines and myrtles form beautiful cabinet woods, while the gum trees are of great value for shipbuilding purposes, railway sleepers, and for all uses where strength and endurance are required. The blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) is a magnificent tree. It grows from 300 to 350 feet in height, and has a circumference at its base varying from 30 to 100 ft. The Huon pine, which is peculiar to the island, grows abundantly in the south-west, and is remarkable both for its durability and the beauty of its grain. The musk-wood and the pepper tree supply fragrant aromatics, while the barks of some of the acacias are valuable for the purpose of tanning.

The grains and fruits of Europe have been introduced, and thrive abundantly, and the wheat ranks high for its yield and quality.

Animals.—The animals, like those of Australia, are for the most part marsupials. The dingo, the only representative of the carnivora native to Australia, is not met with, but there are two species of marsupials, the native hyaena and the native devil, peculiar to Tasmania. Among the native birds may be mentioned emus, black swans, pelicans, cormorants, gulls, and penguins. Fish, including the flounder, gurnet, plaice, perch, eels, and oysters, abound; and the salmon, trout, and perch, have been introduced from England. Almost all the domestic animals of Europe have been introduced, and thrive admirably, and wool is a staple product of the colony.


Tasmania was discovered in 1642 by Tasman, a celebrated Dutch navigator, who named the country after Anthony Van Dieman, the governor-general of the Dutch

possessions in the East. In the following century Captain Cook and other navigators touched upon various parts of the coast, but it was not until 1798 that Mr. Bass, a surgeon in the Royal Navy, by discovering the channel which bears his name, proved that Tasmania was an island. In 1803 Lieutenant Bowen was despatched from Sydney with a few soldiers and convicts to form a penal settlement. He sailed up the estuary of the Derwent and selected Bisdon as the site of the future convict establishment; but in the following year another site, on the opposite side of the river, was deemed more suitable, and it was named Hobart Town, after Lord Hobart, at that period Secretary of State for the Colonies. Van Dieman’s Land, as the island was then called, continued to be a dependency of New South Wales until 1825, when it was erected into an independent colony. Transportation of criminals to the island was abolished in 1853, and three years later the name of the colony was officially changed to Tasmania.

In 1815 the number of natives belonging to the island was estimated at 5000; they have now become quite extinct, the last, a female, having died in 1876. The population in December, 1875, amounted to 103,663. The administration of the colony is vested in a governor, a Legislative Council, and a House of Assembly; both the Council and the Assembly are elected by ballot.


Mining.—It is only within recent years that attention has been bestowed upon the mineral resources of the colony, but companies are new being formed for working the gold, tin, and iron, which are found in various parts. Works for smelting iron have been erected in the vicinity of Hobart Town, and there is a valuable slate quarry at Piper River in the north. Coal is abundant in various parts. Good bituminous coal is found at Mount Nicholas and on the Douglas River, in the north-east; at Hamilton, in the centre; and on the Mersey, in the north. There are also extensive deposits of anthracite coal at Port

Aitliin, as 'vsell as at Sorell and Richmond, in the neighbourhood of Hobart Town.

Agriculture at present forms the chief industry of the colony. The whole lake region of the centre is a pastoral distnet, and tlieic are extensive tracts in other parts suitable for sheep pasture. 1} ool, indeed, may be considered the chief produce of the colony, and it commands a high pi ice in the English market. Good breeds of cattle and horses ha\e been introduced, and butter, cheese, and cattle ai e exported to the neighbouring colonies. The principal crops raised are wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, peas, and beans. Hops and tobacco are also grown. Fruits of all kinds are very abundant, and fruit-preserv-mg foims an impoitant branch of industry. The export of jams and preserved fruits in 1873 was valued at £61,252. The wheat and other agricultural produce is sent for the most part to Victoria.

Manufactures.—In Tasmania there are several important breweries; the climate has been found well adapted to malting and brewing, as well as to the growth of hops. There are also extensive tanneries, soap and candle manufactories, jam-boiling establishments, sawmills and foundries. There are also manufactures of cloth and tweed.

#    1 he whale-fishery is another important branch of

industry. Formerly this fishery was confined to the shoies of the island, but the whales have now forsaken the coasts, and the fishery is now carried on by sea-goin*7* vessels. In winter the ships are stationed off the Chatham Islands, beyond New Zealand, and in summer near the south coast of Tasmania. Port Davcy, on tho south-west coast, has long been the rendezvous for the whalers, as they can there find a good harbour with abundance* of wood and water. Another rendezvous is Recherche Bay.

3.he chief exports from the colony are wool, timber, butter, cheese, wheat, and other agricultural produce; iruits and jams, ale, hops, hides, horses, sperm and black °;!‘ J1!“ value of the exports in 1875 exceeded

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Internal Communication.—There are in all about 116 miles of railway open, the main line running from Hobart Town to Launceston. There are at present thirty-two telegraph stations connected together by 400 miles of wire. There is also a submarine cable communicating with the Australian colonies and New’ Zealand.


Tasmania is divided into eighteen counties. We give below a list of these with the chief towns in each. Many of the towns, however, are as yet mere villages, and in some of the western counties settlements of any kind are very sparsely scattered—


Buckingham, . Cumberland, .

Monmouth, .

Pembroke, . . Glamorgan, . Somerset, . . Westmoreland, Cornwall, . . Dorset, . . . Devon, . . . Wellington, . Russell, Montagu. Lincoln,. . . Franklin. Montgomery, . Arthur, . I . Kent-,. . . .


. Hobart Town, New Norfolk, Bridgewater.

. Osterly.

f Pontville, Kempton, Richmond, Jerusalem, Both* * ( well, Hamilton.

. Port Arthur, Sorell, Triabunna.

. Swansea.

. Oatlands, Campbell to wm, Cleveland.

. Westbury, Chudleigh, Longford.

. Lauceston, Perth, Evandale, Fingal, St. Helens*

. George Town, Nine Miles Springs, Bridgeport.

. Deloraine, Torquay.

. Wynyard, Stanley.

. Marlborough.

. Montgomery.

. Graycroft.

. Franklin, Bathurst.

Hobart Town, the capital of the colony, is pleasantly situated at the foot of Mount Wellington, on the river Derwent, about 12 miles from its mouth. The harbour is easy of access, well sheltered, and of considerable depth. The streets are wride, well laid out, and intersect each other at right angles. The town possesses several breweries, Hour mills, tanneries, and jam manufactories, and there are cotton works and iron foundries. The population is 20,000. New Norfolk, about 20 miles further up the river and at the limit of its navigation, stands in a great hop-growing district. Bridgewater stands about 12 miles north of Hobart Town, where the Main Line Railway crosses the

Derwent by a causeway ami bridge nearly a mile in length. A drawbridge is maintained for convenience of navigation.


Pontville, or Brighton, stands on the Jordan, near its confluence with the Derwent, about 16 miles from the capital. It lies on the main road between Hobart Town and Launceston. Kempton, or Green Ponds, lies also on the road between Launceston and the capital. The population of the district is about 1500. Richmond, pleasantly situated on the Coal Liver, is about 15 miles from Hobart Town. Jerusalem, about 17 miles from Richmond, is a station on the Main Line Railway. Bothwell, on the Clyde, stands at a considerable elevation above the sea, and has a background of lofty mountains, densely wooded. There is daily coach communication with the metropolis. Hamilton, a smaller place, lies near the junction of the Clyde and Derwent.

Port Arthur, on the Tasman Peninsula, is a penal settlement. There are valuable coal mines in the neighbourhood. Sorell, or Pittwciter, as it was formerly called, stands near the coast 13 miles north-east of the capital. It has a fine causeway 3 miles in length, which was opened in 1874. The population of the district exceeds 4000. Triabunna, on the coast to the north-east of Richmond, stands in a district celebrated for its coal and good building stone. Swansea, on the shores of Oyster Bay, has a good pier and considerable trade.

Oatlands, on the main road, and almost midway between Launceston and the capital, lies at an elevation of 1340 ft. above the sea. There is a railway station 4 miles distant. Campbell-

town, prettily situated on the banks of the Elizabeth, a feeder of the Macquarie, lies on the high road between Launceston and the capital, and is a station on the railway. The surrounding country is very fertile, though at present chiefly devoted to sheep-farming. Cleveland, about 30 miles from Launceston, is another station on the Main Line Railway. Westbury, situated on Quamby’s Creek, is about 20 miles south-west of Launceston with which it is connected by rail.% The town lias a population of about 1600 persons, and the district nearly 6000. Chudleigh, to the west of Westbury, stands in the midst of a rich dairy and agricultural country. There are some remarkable caves in the vicinity. Longford, on the Macquarie, about 14 miles south of Launceston, is a station on the Launceston and Western Railway. The population of the district exceeds 5000.

Launceston, at the confluence of the North and South Esks, is the second town in Tasmania. The streets are well laid out, and there are fine public buildings, including the Town Hall, the Government offices, the Union Bank, and other edifices. The public gardens, which extend over an area of nine acres, are much frequented. It communicates by rail with the capital, and steamers run to Melbourne twice a week. The population is about 12,000. Perth, 11 miles to the south, stands on the South Esk, where the liver is crossed by a fine stone bridge of eight arches. It is a station on the Launceston and Western Railway. Evandale, a short distance to the east, stands near the junction of the Main Line and Western Railways. Fingal, in the eastern part of the country stands in a rich mineral district. In the neighbourhood are the Mangora and Black Bay gold-fields and the Mount Nicholas coal seams. St. Helens, on George’s Bay, is a great summer resort, as there is good accommodation for visitors, and plenty of boating, fishing, and shooting.

George Town, at the mouth of the Tamar, is a favourite watering place. Gold and iron are found in the neighbourhood, and smelting works have been erected. Nine Mile Springs, 25 miles from Launceston, stands in the midst of a rich gold field. Delo-raine, about 30 miles west of Launceston, is the terminus of the Western Railway. The surrounding country is fertile and well watered, and suitable alike for grazing and agricultural purposes. Torquay, at the mouth of the Mersey, has considerable trade. The surrounding country is fertile and heavily timbered. Wyn-yard stands at the mouth of the river Inglis, and is a small port. Stanley, a larger and more important place, stands on the peninsula called Circular Head. A large trade in agricultural produce is carried on with Victoria, The population of the town is about 600, and of the district 1500. Franklin stands on the Huon, 26 miles south-west of the capital. The surrounding country is thickly timbered, and fruit trees are abundant. Bathurst stands on the shores of Port Davey.


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