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Tasmania’s Stories

30 Tasmanians share honours

Edition 191_Farquhar

Expatriate Tasmanian scientist, Graham Farquhar, AO, was named Senior Australian of the Year, while 29 other Tasmanians were honoured in the 2018 Australia Day Awards.

The highest awards, Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), went to the State's Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Alan Blow, and to eminent medical researcher and author, Dr Neville John King, who has Huntington's disease.

Six Tasmanians were awarded AMs and 10 received AOMs.

Dr Farquhar, 70, has dedicated his career to planning ways to feed the world's rapidly expanding population by developing more water-efficient and salt-resistant crops.

Last year, Dr Farquhar, who works from the Australian National University in Canberra, became the first Australian to win the Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement.

Quantum scientist at Sydney's University of NSW, Professor Michelle Simmons, was named 2018 Australian of the Year.

In her acceptance speech, Professor Simmons encouraged girls to pursue careers in science and technology.

Scott Rankin, a theatre director and co-founder of the Big hART charity, which promotes social justice, was Tasmania's Australian of the Year nomination.

Tasmania's 2018 award winners were:

Officer (AO) in the General Division (two Tasmanian recipients)

Alan Michael BLOW - For distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, to legal education and professional standards, and to the community.

Neville John KING - For distinguished service to medicine and medical education, particularly in the field of cognitive and behaviour therapy, as an academic, researcher and author, and to professional associations.

Members (AM) in the General Division (six Tasmanian recipients)

Gary Ian BAKER - For significant service to the energy-generation and supply market in Tasmania, to health and aged-care organisations, and to the community.

Colin Ross CHILVERS, Launceston - For significant service to medicine in the field of anaesthesia as a clinician, to medical education in Tasmania, and to professional societies.

Johannes Hendrik DRIELSMA - For significant service to the commercial forestry industry, to sustainable management practices and certification programs, and to professional bodies.

Jason J. GARRETT, London Lakes - For significant service to fly fishing through representational and business roles, to the tourism sector in Tasmania, and to professional associations.

Shane Elizabeth GOULD, Bicheno - For significant service to swimming at the elite level, as a gold medallist at the Munich Olympic Games, and to water safety programs in developing countries.

Marcus Welby SKINNER - For significant service to medicine in the field of anaesthesiology and perioperative medicine as a clinician, and to professional societies.

Order of Australia Medals (OAM) in the General division (10 Tasmanian recipients)

Sandra Adrienne ATKINS - For service to equestrian sports.

Margaret Josephine BIRD, Lindisfarne - For service to the aged, and to the community of Tasmania.

Sheryl Ann BURNIE, Youngtown - For service to softball in Tasmania.

Daniel Yuen-Lee CHAN, Sandy Bay - For service to the Chinese community of Tasmania.

Richard John CHUGG, Relbia - For service to the community through a range of organisations.

Mandy Caroline FORTEATH, Trevallyn - For service to people with breast cancer.

Percy Charles JACQUES, Otago - For service to children, and to youth, through social welfare organisations.

Ralph Leslie PETERS, New Norfolk - For service to medicine, and to the community of the Derwent Valley.

Merle Irene WELLS, Stanley - For service to social welfare organisations in Tasmania.

Glen Francis WOOLLEY, Cambridge - For service to the Crown, and to the community of Tasmania.

Public Service Medal (two Tasmanian recipients)

Geoffrey Ian ATKINSON, West Hobart - For outstanding public service in the role of State Manager of AusIndustry's Tasmanian Office.

Gail Heather WARD, West Moonah - For outstanding public service to breast cancer screening for women in Tasmania.

Australian Police Medal (two Tasmanian recipients)

Commander Glenn Andrew KEATING

Sergeant Sonja Louise WILSON

Australian Fire Service Medal (three Tasmanian recipients)

Ian Stuart BOUNDS

Dennyse May GROVES, Legana

Stephen John WEBSTER, Penguin

Emergency Service Medal (two Tasmanian recipients)

Christopher Carl DRAFFIN, St Helens

Nigel Winton KING, Kingston Beach

Australian Corrections Medal (one Tasmanian recipient)

John Frederick HAY

Image courtesy of The Canberra Times

8 February 2018, Edition 191

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

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