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Tasmania History Timeline

BC - 1700s
  • (35,000 BC) Mouheneener band of Tasmanian Aboriginals settled in what is now Hobart area
  • (1642) Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted Tasmanian mainland
  • (1793) French explorer Bruni d'Entrecasteaux surveyed Derwent area, named it Riviere du Nord
  • (1793) John Hayes, unaware of French visit, sailed up the river, which he named Derwent
  • (1803) First European settlement of Tasmania at Risdon Cove established, named Hobart
  • (1804) Soldiers refused guard duties at Risdon due to fear of convict rebellion; Aborigines mistakenly killed by soldiers in Risdon, settlement abandoned
  • (1804) Colonel William Paterson established Port Dalrymple (Tamar River) settlement, first at George Town, then at York Town
  • (1805) Supply ships failed to arrive on time, resulting famine forced rationing
  • (1806) Colonel William Paterson transferred York Town settlement to site of modern Launceston
  • (1807) Thomas Laycock led five-man party on first overland journey from Launceston to Hobart
  • (1809) Deposed New South Wales Governor William Bligh arrived in Hobart, temporarily disrupted David Collins' authority as lieutenant-governor
  • (1811) Governor Lachlan Macquarie designed plan for Hobart streets, ordered construction of public buildings and Mount Nelson signal station
  • (1812) First convicts arrived from England
  • (1814) Argo Ship disappeared after being seized by convicts in Derwent
  • (1815) Lieutenant-Governor Thomas Davey declared martial law against all bushrangers
  • (1816) First emigrant ship arrived with free settlers from England
  • (1824) Australia's longest continuously operating brewery, Cascade Brewery, opened
  • (1825) Tasmania separated from New South Wales as an independent colony
  • (1825) Richmond Bridge, Australia's oldest existing bridge, opened
  • (1828) Cape Grim massacre occurred when four shepherds ambushed 30 Aborigines
  • (1830) Port Arthur penal settlement established
  • (1832) End of martial law against Aborigines
  • (1836) Charles Darwin visited Hobart during round-the-world voyage
  • (1836) Eleven counties, and some parishes proclaimed
  • (1838) Bruny Island lighthouse completed
  • (1840) Economic depression began
  • (1842) Hobart proclaimed a city
  • (1851) Influenza epidemic swept through Tasmania
  • (1851) Hobart Chamber of Commerce established
1800s continued
  • (1852) Gold discovered near Fingal
  • (1854) Severe floods, fires ravaged Tasmania
  • (1874) Launceston rioters protested against rates levy for Deloraine railway
  • (1876) Hobart-Launceston railway opened
  • (1878) Mount Heemskirk tin mining began
  • (1882) Silver lead ore discovered at Zeehan
  • (1882) Hobart Stock Exchange opened
  • (1883) Typhoid and diphtheria epidemic prompted public health legislation
  • (1886) Copper found at Mount Lyell
  • (1888) Launceston proclaimed a city
  • (1894) Government introduced flat-rate income tax system
  • (1895) Tasmanian districts moved to Australian Eastern Standard Time
  • (1897) Bushfires started on New Year's Eve, six killed
  • (1900) Macquarie Island became Tasmanian dependency
  • (1901) Tasmania became State of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • (1901) First elections for Federal Parliament held
  • (1903) Women granted voting rights
  • (1912) Mount Lyell fire trapped miners underground, 42 killed
  • (1914-1918) World War I
  • (1916) Worst rail disaster in Tasmania occurred after Launceston-Hobart express crashed near Campania, driver and six passengers killed
  • (1916) State's first national parks declared at Mount Field and Freycinet

About the Author

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.