Tasmania is sometimes called " The Apple Isle", as the climate is much cooler and milder than the rest of Australia , and excellent apples are grown there. The difference in climate is because Tasmania is the most southern state of Australia and, therefore, furthest from the Equator, and it is an island. It is separated from the mainland by Bass Strait., a narrow shallow channel of water that is very dangerous when there are storms. It is about 68.000 square kilometres in area , about 300 kilometres from north to south and east to west. This makes it the smallest state. There is thick rain forest on the west coast, and this area is still an area not farmed by a man. There are many fast rivers where people now raft although it's very dangerous and a trip takes many days. Walking in the area is also popular, but there is more than 2.000 ml of rain each year. The mountains here are steep and rugged and there are many lakes. The landscape was partly made by glaciers. The central area has less rain because the "Roaring Forties", the westerly winds coming across thousands of kilometres of open ocean, leave much of their water on the west coast.
In the centre there is a very famous walking track of about 90 kilometres , the Cradle Mountain-Lake St.Clair track. Native Australian beech tress with leaves much smaller than the European beech grow in forest here. Some of the area is wet and boogy with grass. Other parts have health and low plants typical of areas which have snow , and boronia , a native plant with dull flowers but beautiful perfume grows there. There are many steep mountains rising sharply from the land with waterfalls and deep valleys below, as well as the many glacial lakes. There is a lot of snow in winter and at the northern end of the walk is Cradle Mountain. This has its name because of its shape.it looks like a cradle with a man sleeping with his hands folded on his chest.
In general, Tasmania is very poular for holidays as it is always green, has good snow in winter , and is cooler than the mainland in summer. There are almost half a million people living there, only 3% of the total population. Historically it is known to australians as having had several very strict and terrible convict settlements, for example , in the south-east at Port Arthur.
A country becomes a nation:
By 1901 there were 3.5 million people living in asutralia until that time England had governed " the great southern land" from the other side of the world, but in 1901 Australia became an independent nation and the first national government was elected.
There were big celebrations in Sydney on this important day. Happy and proud australians crowded into the streets of the city to celebrate. Because so many Australians still had strong family and economic ties with britain, Australia became a part of the British Commonwealth and , to this day, still is.
After the British arrived in Australia there were continous waves of immigration. By far the largest group of immigrants has come from Britain. The second largest group of immigrants was from Italy , followd by yogoslavia, Greece and Germany. Since 1945 the population has increased from 7.5 million to 16 million. What were the resons for this?
During the Second World War the Japanese bombed the northern parts of the country. The gouvernment realized that the population had to increase if australia wanted to defend its long, uninhabitated coastline and if it wanted to become richer. Thousands of Europeans took the chance to start a new life on the other side of the world. More recently , Asians and people from the Middle East have immigrated. So Australian society has changed too. It is not as "English" as it used to be.
Today there are controls on immigration, but Australia still nedd skilled workers and technicians in certain fields.