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Australia
Tasmania

What are Tasmania's biggest moments in history?

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July 14, 2009 10:18AM

* Tasmania was first discovered by Abel Tasman on 24 November 1642. Tasman named it "Antony Van Diemen's Land" in honour of the High Magistrate, or Governor-General of Batavia. * In January 1799 Bass and Flinders completed their circumnavigation of Van Diemen's Land, proving it to be an island. * Van Diemen's Land was settled as a separate colony in 1803, but continued to be administered by the Governor of New South Wales. * In 1815-16, Captain James Kelly circumnavigated Tasmania in a whaleboat, with the view to exploring the commercial potential along the Tasmanian coast. * In 1825, Van Diemen's Land was separated administratively from New South Wales, and Hobart Town was declared the capital of the colony. * Van Diemen's Land remained the name of the island until 1 January 1856, when Queen Victoria approved a petition to rename the island Tasmania, in honour of its discoverer. * In 1829, George Augustus Robinson requested permission from Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur to travel around Tasmania, persuading the Aborigines to accept the government's policy of the Black Line, a military plan to round up Aborigines in Tasmania, relocate them and "civilise" them. Robinson's journey took him almost four years, and he succeeded in assisting the relocation of many tribes. However, the government did not live up to their end of the bargain in providing suitable food, clothing and shelter. Because of this, Robinson's role in Tasmanian Aboriginal history tends to be viewed negatively. * The last known specimen of the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) died in the Hobart Zoo on 7 September 1936. * During World War II, Tasmania almost became a new Zionist haven for persecuted Jews. On 28 March 1942, Critchley Parker, a young Tasmanian Zionist who set out to explore the area around Port Davey in the state's southwest to locate an appropriate site for the new Jewish homeland in Tasmania. Parker struck difficulties due to rain and gales and when he signalled for help, his pre-arranged signal went unseen. After about three weeks of subsisting on water and aspirin, he died in the wilderness, an Australian martyr for a Jewish cause. * On 28 April 1996, Port Arthur in Tasmania became the scene of Australia's worst massacre, to date. 35 men, women and children were killed when a lone gunman opened fire. The Port Arthur community prefers that the gunman's name not be published so he does not receive the notoriety he sought.