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Tasmania’s Stories

Tassie Kangaroos bounce into history

Edition 201_TasKanga

No Christmas rest for the stars of Tasmania’s first AFL team – The North Melbourne Tassie Kangaroos – with training in full swing as they get ready to create history in the New Year.

When the ‘Tassie Kangaroos’ run out onto North Hobart Oval, widely regarded as the state’s spiritual home of football, for the curtain-raiser next February, it will be a landmark event.

And the Tasmanian team that is joining the booming women’s football league in the 2019 season is very much aware of the significance of the occasion.

“I have been dreaming about this moment ever since I was five years old,” Tassie Kangaroos Hobart recruit, Maddy Smith, says.

“I am so excited about the team, this is a pathway and future that the younger generation get to look forward to, and they can aspire to be young female footballers just like us.”

When the team plays its first match before a home crowd, it will be in a special Tassie guernsey – an honour that Maddy doesn’t take lightly.

“I can’t wait; it’s about having a bit of home pride. There’s nothing more special than that,” she adds.

View the video to meet some of our Tassie Kangaroos

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Watch video on YouTube

The explosion in women’s football has been phenomenal, especially over the past three years with the introduction of AFLW.

It is the fastest growing sport in Australia. A juggernaut that shows no sign of slowing down, especially here in Tasmania with an elite team now in the offing.

“It’s great to show that there is a pathway for women’s football in our state,” another Tassie Kangaroos Hobart recruit, Nicole Bresnehan, says.

“Everything is quite daunting, but at the same time it’s great that we are going to be the role model for a lot of the younger generation coming up. We are just really excited to get all this going.”

The Tassie Kangaroos is a joint venture between the State Government and the North Melbourne Football Club, and its arrival heralds an exciting new era for a football-mad island.

Or, as Premier Will Hodgman enthused as he unveiled the new team: “We are a proud footy state, we love our AFL, and the Tassie Kangaroos is another team Tasmanians can get behind and support.”

Eight of the team are from Tasmania.

They will come together with their Melbourne teammates for matches, and other special events. Football practice, however, will be at home, with permanent training squads based in both Hobart and Launceston.

Two games of the seven-match, nine-week roster, will also be played in Tasmania.

The State Government has committed $500,000 a year for five seasons, ensuring that this island state gets a bigger dose of the top-flight game it is so passionate about.

Brand Tasmania recently visited the North Melbourne Club headquarters and found enthusiasm for this new venture was just as great on the other side of Bass Strait.

“This is massive,” North Melbourne CEO, Carl Dilena, told us.

As well as giving his club a place in the AFLW, Dilena is passionate about player development, and pathways, that this new team will offer for young Tasmanian players.

“Apart from the team itself – where the girls in Tasmania can see some role models who have grown up in Tasmania playing – we are also putting a lot of effort into developing talent in the state through academy programs, and talent identification programs that we have got going,” Dilena explains.

The timing, it seems, could not be better.

“Three years ago, there were seven women’s football teams in Tasmania. There are now 93,” Dilena says.

“That is the extent of growth in Tasmanian football. It just keeps growing, so participation is huge, and there is no end in sight at the moment.”

There is no doubt that women’s football is a powerhouse that has taken off with a vengeance.

And, for the rapidly growing ranks of promising young Tasmanian players – who can now aspire to join an elite team in their home state – there could not be a better Christmas present.

“It’s surreal, I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Jessie Williams, another Tassie Kangaroos recruit, says with amazement.

“But I am super excited, and I think it’s going to be a pretty busy Christmas.”

Image courtesy of Robert Heazlewood
(included in the picture are Tassie Kangaroos recruits: Maddy Smith, Nicole Bresnehan and Jessie Williams)

10 December 2018, Edition 201

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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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