Tasmania has a thrilling and at times dark history, including infamous penal settlements at Port Arthur and Sarah Island. Known as Van Diemen’s Land until 1856, Tasmania became a state when it joined Federation with the other Australian colonies in 1901. It takes its name from Dutch maritime explorer Abel Tasman, who made the first European sighting in 1642. Archaeological and other scientific evidence indicates the presence of Indigenous people on the island at least 42,000 years ago. The state features a range of rugged, beautiful, and abundant natural environments. In addition, proximity to Antarctica and relative isolation have helped to create the island’s unique role and character.  

Tasmanian Leaders and Public Figures

Tasmania has produced many leaders and public figures of note (Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, Senator Bob Brown, Dame Enid Lyons, Princess Mary of Denmark, Grace Tame – and Truganini, one of the last native speakers of the Tasmanian languages and one of the last individuals solely of Aboriginal Tasmanian descent.  

The world’s 26th largest island has also produced a surprisingly large number of contributors to science (Elizabeth Blackburn, first woman from Australia to win a Nobel Prize), drama (actors Errol Flynn, Simon Baker, Essie Davis), comedy (Hannah Gadsby, Luke McGregor) and sport. In this last area, Tasmania certainly punches above its weight (cricketers Ricky Ponting, Max Walker and David Boon; football legends Darrell Baldock, Peter Hudson, Ian Stewart, Roy Cazaly, Royce Hart, Rodney Eade, Matthew Richardson, Alistair Lynch, Nick Riewoldt). 

Considering that the apple isle is Australia’s smallest state by area as well as population, it has a remarkably fertile literary culture, home to prize-winning luminaries such as Amanda Lohrey, Richard Flanagan, Martin Flanagan, Robert Dessaix, Margaret Scott, Marcus Clarke, and Christopher Koch. 

Books about Tasmania From Our Catalogue

In our CAE book catalogue, we have a number of titles set in Tasmania: 

A Child’s Book of True Crime by Chloe Hooper B1670 

Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan B1473 

Ghost Species by James Bradley B2342 

Gould’s Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan B1675 

The Many-Coloured Land by Christopher Koch B1790 

Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett B2127 

The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan B1586 

The World Beneath by Cate Kennedy B2071 

But there are many other Tasmania-themed titles available, including classics and recent releases, all worthy of our attention, including the following: