The World Around Us

Tasmania: rough and untamed?

Country: Australia by Lisette


Port Arthur Penal Settlement.

Loved it, loved it and loved it! That’s my introduction to everyone who asks me about Tasmania. Except the fact that after the desert and all the gorgeous beaches 15 degrees in January feels a little cold, Tasmania is a great place to discover.

A quick history lesson about Tasmania, Australia’s tiny island, tells that Dutchman Avel Tasman discovered the island in 18th century. He worked for the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and named the place Van Diemen’s Land after the VOC’s governor. If you’re interested to learn more about VOC, visit the amazing website After a while, the island got a bad reputation with its wars against Aborigines and the penal settlements and so they changed the name in 1856 to its discoverer.

The Parlevar were the indigenous people of Tasmania. It’s uncertain how many lived there before colonization as estimates range between 3000 and 15000 people. What is known is that disease, war and “private violence” killed them all. According to the current UN definition, evidence exists that genocide took place in Tasmania, but officially no consensus has been reached on this debate. Nothing has been saved, not language, culture but for some archaeological and historical records.

Port Arthur housed a large penal settlement that was pretty safe; because of the location between the sea and the mountains not many escapes took place. The prisoners certainly helped the local economy with its cheap labour in timber, coalmines, shipbuilding, shoe making, and brick making. The settlement started in 1830 and ended 47 years later when convicts were old, and the area stripped of useful timber.

Back to the current century. Tasmania is still considered rough and untamed green territory. I beg to slightly differ. ‘Tassie’ is a little rough and certainly green (and wet!) but tamed for sure in which village life and Hobart’s night life stands central. The island is called a hiking paradise and from the little I have seen, I concur. As I had chosen to take a bus trip for a week, not much hiking was involved. I had fun, after all we did visit Cadbury’s chocolate factory, but next time I’d chose to go by myself or take a specific hiking trip and discover the island’s beautiful forests. And make sure to take those snap shots of Tasmanian Devils!


A real Tasmanian devil!


Greener than green!