Friday, May 18, 2007

Tasmania – The Apple Isle

Known, locally (Australia-wide) as the Apple Isle as the island is in the shape of the fruit, Tasmania is the smallest of all the six states of Australia.

Located at the south, the island is separated from the mainland by a wide channel called Bass Strait. Tasmania is mostly composed of unspoilt natural beauty, and hence, the locals and the Government (the state Government) promoted the isle as the “Natural State”. About 36 percent of the land is under parks and reserves.

The state consists of the main island of Tasmania and some 10 surrounding islands. Among other native wildlife, one of its most famous residents is the Tasmania Devil. The ‘Devil’ is a carnivorous marsupial found exclusively on this island. It is equal in size to a small dog but quite muscular. The name devil is given due to its vicious temperament and its growl, which at times, sounds like a high pitch screech.

Abel Tasman, an explorer, whose exploration in the region was financed by the Governor of Dutch East Indies, initially discovered the island in 1642. Hence, on discovering it, he named it Van Diemen Land after his sponsor. It was only in the nineteenth century that the British renamed it Tasmania.

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