Tasmanian History: making teaching (and learning) easier! Anyone with school-aged kids will know this: you have to offer them something exceptional to spark an interest in history.

Elizabeth River: Bridge, Campbell Town Tasmania

Tasmanian History: Campbell Town (photo by Carol Haberle)

Tasmanian History is Monumental

Here’s the thing with Tasmanian history; the whole state is a monument. Every which way you turn, there’s bridges and buildings built by convict hand. There’s a whole attraction at Port Arthur dedicated to transportation, focused on the colonisation of Australia. And what about the naming of the towns and features?

When crossing from Melbourne to Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania, the stretch of water dividing the two (Bass Strait) refers to George Bass. Explorer Bass has been granted multiple naming rights, if George Town in the north of Tasmania can also be credited to him. And with good reason, too. With Matthew Flinders (as in Flinders Island) history records George Bass circumnavigating the state, proving that Tasmania was actually an island. Probably saved the next batch of explorers a great deal of travel time!

George Bass: Tasmanian History

George Town: naming features, Tasmanian history

Local Indigenous Tasmanian History

Aboriginal heritage also plays a part in naming. It is believed Bay of Fires was named by explorer Furneaux after seeing the  flames of the natives’ fires along the coastline as he sailed by in 1773. That sounds reasonable. Others suggest the name was inspired by the orange, lichen-covered rocks. Also a feasible option.

Bay of Fires Rocks

Orange lichen: Bay of Fires rocks (photo by Dan Fellow)

Get Into History in Tasmania

It’s also reasonable to assume that history as a subject is enhanced by practical excursions. My children enjoyed exploring the remains of the Coal Mines on the Tasman Peninsula and have retained that information more than anything else they have read about convicts. Amazing, considering this site is free to visit and easily accessed in a day-trip from Hobart.

Coal Mines: Tasmanian History of Convicts, Tasman Peninsula

Coal Mine Historical Site: Tasman Peninsula

Tasmanian history is naturally woven into the visitor itinerary: the expeditions of Bass and Flinders, the heritage of convicts and the study of the indigenous inhabitants. Great when you want your kids to just absorb some extra learning, without even knowing it.

Heritage Buildings, Oatlands Tasmania

Tasmanian History: Oatlands, Heritage Highway Tasmania

So there’s a good excuse for a holiday in Tasmania. As if anyone needed an excuse! Tasmanian history offers extra curricular activities for the kids. It’s got nothing to do with the wine tour, or the chocolate-making, or the market day, or… shall we continue?