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Tasmania

miles, australia, island and hobart

TASMANIA, taz-ma'n'l-a, Australia, the smallest state of the commonwealth, consisting of the island of Tasmania and its adjacent islets, and situated 140 miles south of the south eastern extremity of the Australian continent, from which it is separated by Bass Strait. The area of the state is 26,385 square miles, and of the main island 24,339 square miles. The main island is heart-shaped, about 180 miles long from north to south, and 175 miles at the wid est. The coasts are bold and much indented, forming a number of excellent harbors. The interior is a plateau intersected in various di rections by a number of rough and precipitous mountain ranges, rising in Cradle Mountain to a height of 5,069 feet. Some of the interven ing basins contain large and beautiful lakes, and rivers are numerous. The geology is characterized by considerable outcrops of palm ozoic rocks and extensive flows of tertiary ba salt. The mineral wealth is great and mining is the principal industry. The annual value of mineral products is about $4,000,000, mostly gold, silver, copper and tin. The imports in 1916 totaled nearly $5,000,000 and the exports less than $4,000,000. The largest farm crop is oats, 2,000,000 bushels annually, wheat follow ing with 1,000,000 bushels. The climate is tem perate, and the rainfall in general sufficient. The flora and fauna are similar to those of southern Australia. There are two remarkable animals peculiar to the island, the Tasmanian wolf and the "Tasmanian devil' and Dasyurus), sometimes called the native 'tiger. The soil is very fertile, especially in the

basaltic regions, and well adapted for wheat, which is the principal crop. Grazing has de clined, and the manufactures are inconsider able. The volume of trade amounts to over $20,000,000 annually. The chief exports are copper, fruits, silver, wool, tin, gold, timber, hides and grain. Hobart, the chief port on the southeastern coast, has regular steamship con nection with Europe, Australia and New Zea land. There are about 600 miles of railroads. Education is compulsory. There are 16 col leges, and at the head of the educational system is the University of Tasmania. The capital of the state is Hobart with 38,000 population.

Tasmania was discovered in 1642 by the Dutch navigator, Tasman, who named it Van Diemen's Land, after his patron. In 1804 Eng land established a penal colony on the island. This was maintained until 1853, when Tasmania was declared a British colony. In 1900 it be came a state of the commonwealth of Aus tralia. The aboriginal inhabitants are almost extinct. There is a remarkable regular shifting of the population between Tasmania arid Southern Australia, more than 40,000 emi grants and over 40,000 immigrants being offi cially recorded every year. Consult 'Statistics of Tasmania' (Hobart, Australia). See Aus TRALIA.