The Long Shadow
Tasmania was first sighted by Europeans when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman landed in 1642 and named it “Anthony van Diemen’s Land” after his sponsor, the Governor of the Dutch East Indies.
This island is a real beauty. We visited some unique places like The Nut, a 140 m high rock that rises from the Bass Strait on the North coast. Like every tourist we wanted to see the famous Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park on the East coast, and we just hiked on to Hazard Bay to have a swim in the stunning clear water. And as we like to hike on top of high cliffs plummeting into swirling waters, we loved the area around Eagle Hawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula.
Beside this, we sucked in the smell of lavender fields and we ate flavourful cherries right from the farm and tomatoes that really deserved this name.
The first European settling was by the British; and what did they do to this beauty? They used it as a colony for convicts! And to become a convict was easy in those days: steel a handkerchief from a wealthy man in London and off you go for a several months sailing trip, chained under deck on a convicts ship with no flush toilets and no captain’s dinner.
Tasmanian Aboriginals came to this island at least 35’000 years before. 10’000 years ago the rising sea level cut Tasmania off from the mainland, isolating the Aboriginals until the baneful arrival of the Europeans. At the time of the British occupation the population might have been up to 10’000 Aboriginals.
A few decades later none where left.
Some Aboriginals died from new and unknown diseases, others were killed in the so-called Black War (1823-1834) and the last ones were relocated to Flinders Island.
Some call it genocide.
Other than the Australian government, till today the British never apologized for what they had done to the Aboriginal People.
A long shadow on a beautiful island.
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