[AUSTRALIA] - [ACT] - [NSW] - [NT] - [QLD] - [SA] - [TAS] - [VIC] - [WA]
68,329 sq km
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Tasmania has reserved more land area for recreation and conservation purposes than any other State.
Tasmania is bordered by Bass Straight in the north (which separates it from the Australian mainland), the Tasman Sea in the east and the Indian Ocean in the south and west.
From a narrow fringe of coastal plain, the main island rises to a central plateau with a general elevation of 600 to 1,000 meters. Mountainous, with peaks in the west exceeding 1,500 m, and its highest point being Mt. Ossa (1617m). Tasmania is an extension of the continent's Eastern Highlands. Lakes are abundant, especially in the wetter western areas. Natural vegetation is dense forest, often composed of eucalyptus.
Tasmania has the highest average rainfall of any Australian State. The rainfall tends to be heavier in the west and north-west, with about 2388 mm annually. Rainfall is more evenly distributed throughout the year in the eastern and south-eastern area.
The island's original population, now extinct, was a Negrito people numbering about 2,000 at the time of European settlement early in the 19th century.
Permanent European settlement consisting of free persons and convicts dates from 1803 at Risdon. Port Arthur, the site of the tragic massacre in 1995, was one of the first convict prison built in Australia.
The island had been a part of the New South Wales colony from 1803 to 1825, but then became a separate colony. The island's name was changed from Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania 1856, the year of its first elected Parliament.
In 1901, like many of the other states, Tasmania became a state in the Australian Commonwealth.