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Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

Tasmania's Black War—the Aboriginal inhabitants of Tasmania, who probably went there by crossing an ancient land bridge that connected Tasmania to the continent of Australia. They were the indigenous people of Tasmania and their arrival there began at least 35,000 years ago. With the passage of time, the gradual rising of the sea level submerged the Australian-Tasmanian land bridge and the Aborigines of Tasmania experienced more than 10,000 years of solitude and physical isolation from the rest of the world—the longest period of isolation in human history. We do not know what they called themselves or what they named their land. All we really have are minute fragments, bits of evidence, and the records and documents of Europeans who began coming to the island in 1642. The Aborigines of Tasmania were marked by tightly curled hair with skin complexions ranging from black to reddish-brown. They were relatively short in stature with little body fat. Thet were hunter-gatherers with an exceptionally basic technology. The Tasmanians made only a few types of simple stone and wooden tools. They lacked agriculture, livestock, pottery, and bows and arrows. The family in Tasmania was a highly organized one, its form and substance directed by custom. A man joined with a woman in marriage and formed a social partnership with her. It would appear that such marriages were usually designed by the parents but this is something about which very little is actually known. The married couple seems to have remained together throughout the course of their lives, and only in rare cases did a man have more than one wife at the same time. Their children were not only well cared for, but were treated with great affection. Elders were cared for by the the family, and children were kept at the breast for longer than is usual in child care among Europeans. The isolation of Tasmania's Black aborigines ended in 1642 with the arrival and intrusion of the first Europeans. Abel Jansen Tasman, the Dutch navigator after whom the island is named, anchored off the Tasmanian coast in early December, 1642. On March 5, 1772, a French expedition led by Nicholas Marion du Fresne landed on the island. Within a few hours his sailors had shot several Aborigines. On January 28, 1777, the British landed on the island. Following coastal New South Wales in Australia, Tasmania was established as a British convict settlement in 1803. These convicts had been harshly traumatized and were exceptionally brutal. In addition to soldiers, administrators, and missionaries, eventually more than 65,000 men and women convicts were settled in Tasmania. A glaringly inefficient penal system allowed such convicts to escape into the Tasmanian hinterland where they exercised the full measure of their blood-lust and brutality upon the island's Aboriginal occupants. According to social historian Clive Turnbull, the activities of these criminals would soon include the "shooting, bashing out brains, burning alive, and slaughter of Aborigines for dogs' meat." As early as 1804 the British began to slaughter, kidnap and enslave the people of Tasmania. The colonial government itself was not even inclined to consider the Aboriginal Tasmanians as full human beings, and scholars began to discuss civilization as a unilinear process, with White people at the top and Black people at the bottom. To the Europeans of Tasmania the Aborigines were an entity fit only to be exploited in the most sadistic of manners. As UCLA professor, Jared Diamond, recorded: "Tactics for hunting down Tasmanians included riding out on horseback to shoot them, setting out steel traps to catch them, and putting out poison flour where they might find and eat it. Sheperds cut off the penis and testicles of Aboriginal men, to watch the men run a few yards before dying. At a hill christened Mount Victory, settlers slaughtered 30 Tasmanians and threw their bodies over a cliff. One party of police killed 70 Tasmanians and dashed out the children's brains." Such behavior on the part of the White settlers of Tasmania was the rule rather than the exception. In spite of their wanton cruelty, however, punishment in Tasmania was exceedingly rare for the Whites, although occasionally Whites were sentenced for crimes against Aborigines. For example, there is an account of a man who was flogged for exhibiting the ears and other body parts of an Aboriginal boy that he had mutilated alive. We hear of another European punished for cutting off the little finger of an Aborigine and using it as a tobacco stopper. Twenty-five lashes were stipulated for Europeans convicted of tying Aboriginal "Tasmanian women to logs and burning them with firebrands, or forcing a woman to wear the head of her freshly murdered husband on a string around her neck." Not a single European, however, was ever punished for the murder of Tasmanian Aborigines. Europeans thought nothing of tying Black men to trees and using them for target practice. Black women were kidnapped, chained and exploited as sexual slaves. White convicts regularly hunted Aboriginal people for sport, casually shooting, spearing or clubbing the men to death, torturing and raping the women, and roasting infants alive. As historian, James Morris, graphically noted: "We hear of children kidnapped as pets or servants, of a woman chained up like an animal in a sheperd's hut, of men castrated to keep them off their own women. In one foray seventy aborigines were killed, the men shot, the women and children dragged from crevices in the rocks to have their brains dashed out. A man called Carrotts, desiring a native woman, decapitated her husband, hung his head around her neck and drove her home to his shack." The Black War of Van Diemen's Land was the name of the official campaign of terror directed against the Aboriginal people of Tasmania. Between 1803 and 1830 the Aborigines were reduced from an estimated 5000 people to less than 75. An article published December 1, 1826 in the Tasmanian Colonial Times declared that: "We make no pompous display of Philanthropy. The Government must remove the natives—if not, they will be hunted down like wild beasts and destroyed!" With the declaration of martial law in November 1828, Whites were authorized to kill Aborigines on sight. Although they offered a heroic resistance, the wooden clubs and sharpened sticks of the Aborigines were no match against the firepower, ruthlessness, and savagery exercised by the Europeans against them. In time, a bounty was declared on Aborigines, and 'Black catching', as it was called, soon became a big business; five pounds for each adult Aborigine, two pounds for each child. After considering proposals to capture them for sale as slaves, poison or trap them, or hunt them with dogs, the government settled on continued bounties and the use of mounted police. After the Black War, for political expediency, the status of the Aborigines, who were no longer regarded as a physical threat, was reduced to that of a nuisance and a bother, and with loud and pious exclamations that it was for the benefit of the Aborigines themselves, the remainder of the Aborigines were rounded up and placed in concentration camps. In 1830 George Augustus Robinson, a Christian missionary, was hired to round up the remaining Tasmanian Aborigines and take them to Flinders Island, thirty miles away. Many of Robinson's captives died along the way. By 1843 only fifty survived. Jared Diamond recorded that: "On Flinders Island Robinson was determined to civilize and Christianize the survivors. His settlement—at a windy site with little fresh water—was run like a jail. Children were separated from parents to facilitate the work of 'civilizing' them. However, the jail diet caused, which combined with illness to make the natives die. Few infants survived more than a few weeks. The government reduced expenditures in the hope that the natives would die out. By 1869 only Truganini, one other woman, and one man remained alive. With the steady decrease in the number of Aborigines, White people began to take a bizarre interest in them, whom Whites believed "to be a missing link between humans and apes." The Aborigines were portrayed as a group of people "doomed to die out according to a natural law, like the dodo, and the dinosaur." William Lanney, facetiously known as King Billy, was the last full-blood male Tasmanian. He was born in 1835 and grew up on Flinders Island. At the age of thirteen Lanney was removed with the remnant of his people to a concentration camp called Oyster Cove. Ultimately he became a sailor and for some years he went whaling. As the last male Tasmanian, Lanney was regarded as a human relic. In January 1860 he was introduced to Prince Albert. He returned ill from a whaling voyage in February 1868, and on March 2, 1868 he died in his room at the Dog and Partridge public-house in Hobart. "Not, perhaps, before, has a race of men been utterly destroyed within seventy-five years," wrote Clive Turnbull. "This is the story of a race which was so destroyed, that of the Aborigines of Tasmania—destroyed not only by a different manner of life but by the ill-will of the usurpers of the race's land.... With no defences but cunning and the most primitive weapons, the natives were no match for the sophisticated individualists of knife and gun. By 1876 the last of them was dead. So perished a whole people." On May 7, 1876, Truganini, the last full-blood Aboriginal person in Tasmania, died at seventy-three years of age. Her mother had been stabbed to death by a European. Her sister was kidnapped by Europeans. Her intended husband was drowned by two Europeans in her presence, while his murderers raped her. It might be accurately said that Truganini's numerous personal sufferings typify the tragedy of the Aboriginal people of Tasmania as a whole. She was the very last.

Tasmania's cool temperate rainforest—Tasmania contains Australia's largest tracts of cool temperate rainforest, covering around 10% of the state. Cool temperate rainforest is very different from rainforest found in warmer climates. Unlike tropical and warm temperate rainforests, there are no root buttresses or palms, and climbing plants are rare. Cool temperate rainforest is characterised by an open and verdant, cathedral-like quality; a silent, cool, dark and damp place where both the trunks of trees and the forest floor are festooned with a luxuriant carpet of mosses and lichens. In autumn and early winter in particular, the rainforest floor is dappled with an array of brightly coloured fungi. Defining Tasmania's cool temperate rainforest is difficult, partly because it can grow in so many different habitats. However, most rainforest grows in areas receiving over 1200mm of rain a year, but some isolated patches occur in much drier areas; It is dominated by particular trees, such as myrtle, leatherwood, celery-top pine, sassafras, Huon pine, pencil pine, King Billy pine; or deciduous beech may be important in some areas. Tasmanian rainforest contains some of the most ancient species of Australia's flora. Many of their ancestors once grew in Antarctica, Africa, South America and New Zealand, when these continents were joined together as a landmass called Gondwana. So our rainforest dates back over 60 million years, well before what we now call "sclerophyll vegetation" evolved. Tasmanian rainforest grows in many different places and in many different ways. There are four main types: callidendrous (tall trees); thamnic (shrubby); implicate (tangled); and, montane (mountainous). The definition of rainforest is arbitrary, and is taken as rainforest species with no greater than a 5% cover of eucalypts. More eucalypts than this means it is defined as mixed forest. Tasmanian rainforest is such a quiet place that sometimes it seems that there are no animals. Of course there are many, but generally there is a smaller variety of vertebrate animals and they are fewer in number, as compared with other forests. Tasmanian rainforest contains some of the most ancient and primitive representatives of invertebrates, including the large land snail, Macleay's swallowtail butterfly, freshwater crayfish and the peripatus, or velvet worm.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Lands Council—(TALC) is committed to the preservation of Aboriginal culture and heritage. It is also responsible for dealing with a variety of land management issues within Tasmania. TALC, in conjunction with the Aboriginal Heritage Section at the Parks and Wildlife Service, helps preserve and manage Aboriginal sites around Tasmania.

Tasmanian Aborigines—the Nuenonne of Bruny Island, the Lylequonny of Recherche Bay, the Tyreddene of Maria Island and the Pydairrerme of the Tasman Peninsula.

Tasmanian bettongBettongia gaimardi, a small marsupial found only in the eastern half of Tasmania. Its extinction on the Australian mainland is presumed to have been due to the introduction of feral cats and foxes. The bettong used to live in open grassy plains, but with the coming of agriculture it now inhabits open, dry sclerophyll forest. Strictly nocturnal, it comes out only at night to feed on fungi, seeds, roots and bulbs. It spends the day in a densely woven nest made of dry grasses and bark under fallen tree limbs or under bushes and tussocks. The nest is oval-shaped, about 300mm x 200mm, with a small hole at one end. Breeding is continuous, and the female can produce 2 -3 young each year. The Tasmanian bettong is the most secure species of the threatened bettong genus.

Tasmanian blackwood—(see: blackwood).

Tasmanian blue gumEucalyptus globulus of Tasmania is the floral emblem of the state. It is a tall, straight tree growing to 70m in height and 2m in trunk diameter under favourable conditions. The rough, deeply furrowed, grey bark is persistent at the base of the trunk but above this level it is shed in strips leaving the branches and the greater length of the trunk smooth-barked. The broad juvenile leaves are covered with a blue-grey, waxy bloom, the origin of the common name, 'blue gum'. The cream flowers produce copious nectar, which tends to yield a strongly flavoured honey. It occurs in tall open forest in south-eastern Tasmania and to a lesser extent along the eastern coast of the State. It also occurs on King and Flinders Islands in Bass Strait. Outside Tasmania it is confined to Wilson's Promontory and the Cape Otway district in southern Victoria. The climate throughout its range is cool to mild, with wet winters and reliable summer rainfall. Within parts of its range, light frosts and snowfalls occur. Tasmanian blue gum yields pale, hard and durable timber which is used in Australia for poles, piles and sleepers. Before the role of the malarial mosquito in spreading the disease was understood, there was a superstitious belief that the leaves of the blue gum released a magical essence which purified the air of fever germs. In reality the benefit is derived from the loss of suitable breeding sites for mosquitoes, brought about by the capacity of the trees to evaporate water from the swampy ground.

Tasmanian bluey—(see: bluey).

Tasmanian Central Highlands—perhumid cool to cold high plateau surface and rugged mountain ranges to the west formed by Jurassic dolerite and Tertiary basalts, with skeletal soils to alluvium in valleys, and humid cool to cold lower plateau surface underlain by Jurassic dolerite, Permo-Triassic sediments and Tertiary basalts, with sandy to clay loam soils. Vegetation ranging from dry sclerophyll woodlands and wet sclerophyll forest on the lower plateau to alpine complexes and coniferous forest patches in fertile, fire protected situations on the higher plateau. Land use is a combination of conservation, forestry, agriculture (grazing) and water catchment.

Tasmanian devilSarcophilus harrisii, the world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial. The devil has a thick-set, squat build, with a relatively large, broad head and short, thick tail. The fur is mostly or wholly black, but white markings often occur on the rump and chest. Body size also varies greatly, depending on the diet and habitat. Large males weigh up to 12kg, and stand about 30cm high at the shoulder. Devils once occurred on mainland Australia, with fossils having been found widely; it is believed to have become extinct on the mainland some 600 years ago. The dingo, which was brought into Australia by Aboriginal people, is believed to have ousted the devil from the mainland. Devils are today widespread in Tasmania from the coast to the mountains. They live in coastal heath, open dry sclerophyll forest, and mixed sclerophyll-rainforest—in fact, almost anywhere they can hide and find shelter by day and food by night. Devils usually mate in March, and the young are born in April. More young are born than can be accommodated in the mother's backward-opening pouch, which has 4 teats. Although 4 pouch young sometimes survive, the average number is 2 or 3. Young are weaned at 5 or 6 months of age, and are thought to have left the mother and be living alone in the bush by late December. The devil is mainly a scavenger and feeds on whatever is available. Powerful jaws and teeth enable it to completely devour its prey—bones, fur and all. Devils maintain bush and farm hygiene by cleaning up carcasses, and are renowned for their rowdy communal feeding, the noise and displays being used to establish dominance amongst the pack. It roams considerable distances—up to 16km—along well-defined trails in search of food. It usually ambles slowly with a characteristic gait but can gallop quickly with both hind feet together. Devils produce a strong odour when under stress, but when calm and relaxed they are not smelly. The famous gape or yawn of the devil that looks so threatening can be misleading. This display is performed more from fear and uncertainty than from aggression. It makes a variety of fierce noises, from harsh coughs and snarls to high-pitched screeches. A sharp sneeze is used as a challenge to other devils, and frequently comes before a fight. Many of these spectacular behaviours are bluff and part of a ritual to minimise harmful fighting when feeding communally at a large carcass. Fittingly, the Tasmanian devil was chosen as the symbol of the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Tasmanian laurelAnopterus Glandulosa, a vigorous evergreen shrub with dark, shining green leaves, bearing long, erect, terminal racemes of white, cup-shaped flowers. Endemic to Tasmania.

Tasmanian native henGallinula mortierii, a plump, brown bird, it is a distant relative of the domestic hen. It is found only in Tasmania, being distributed throughout the state except for the west and south-west. It ranges from the coast to areas 1000m above sea level. Like the thylacine and Tasmanian devil, native hens became extinct on the mainland around the time the dingo arrived in Australia. Tasmanian native hens are most common on marshes, river flats and near fresh water streams and rivers. Their ideal habitat is short, grazed pasture and damp pasture near streams with grassy vegetation for nesting. Although they cannot fly, they are good swimmers and very fast runners. Using their short wings for balance, they are capable of running at 50 km per hour. A native hen stands about 45cm tall, has a pale yellow bill and a bright red eye. They are coloured green-brown above and slate-grey on the flanks, with white flashes. Native hens are very social and make a number of calls, including a loud, distinctive rasping see-saw. This call is often carried out in unison, with several birds joining in to produce a cacophony of noise. They usually feed at dawn and dusk on grasses and seeds. Insects are eaten by young native hens. They breed from July to December and typically lay around 5 eggs, although 9—10 is not uncommon. They are also capable of producing more than one clutch per year. The social structure of native hens is unique. Research has shown that within a population of native hens, roughly half are monogamous and half polygamous. Polygamy in native hens most often occurs in groups of 3—5 individuals of which only one is female. In addition, juvenile native hens assist with the raising and protection of their brothers and sisters.

Tasmanian Northern Midlands—dry sub-humid cool inland lowland plain underlain by Tertiary basalts, Jurassic dolerite, Permo-Triassic sandstones, and recent alluvium lying in the Tamar. Vegetation comprises grasslands and grassy woodlands on deep loams and alluvium and dry sclerophyll forest and woodland on Tertiary. Grasslands and woodlands have been reduced to remnants. Land use is primarily agriculture (grazing) with some forestry. Extensively cleared for agriculture.

Tasmanian Northern Slopes—humid warm coastal plains and deeply dissected lowland hills rising from Tasmania's central north coast to the foot of the Tasmanian Central Highlands in a rolling hilly plateau. This is a geologically diverse bioregion comprising complexes of Cambrian and Pre Cambrian metasediments, basic-intermediate volcanics, and post-Carboniferous sediments with soils ranging from deep basaltic loams to acid sandy coastal soils. Vegetation is wet and dry sclerophyll forest with coastal heaths and some rainforest, which progressively replaces the sclerophyll forest in the west. Native vegetation has been replaced by improved pasture and cropland throughout the lowlands. Land use is primarily forestry and agriculture (cropping).

Tasmanian pademelon—extinct in mainland Australia because of predation by foxes and large scale land clearance (although two other species do occur along the mainland east coast). Pademelon are widespread and abundant in Tasmania and can commonly be seen around many of the national parks. Narawntapu National Park offers the most reliable viewing, although they are easily seen in many parks. The Tasmanian pademelon is a stocky animal with a relatively short tail and legs to aid its movement through dense vegetation. Pademelons are solitary and nocturnal, spending daylight in thick vegetation, mostly in rainforest and wet forest. Habitats next to cleared areas where the animals can feed are especially favoured. After dusk, the animals move into open areas to feed, but rarely stray more than 100m from the security of the forest edge.

Tasmanian scallop—a variety of scallop.

Tasmanian Seamounts Marine Reserve—a protected area of about 370sq km, declared in 1999, with approximately 70 seamounts. They are the cone-shaped remnants of extinct volcanoes, 200-500 metres high, several kilometres across at the base. They rise sharply from the ocean floor at depths of 1000-2000 metres beneath the sea surface, and peak at depths of 660-1940 metres. Seamounts have an influence on the movement of ocean currents. The normally slow deepwater currents increase in speed as they move around the peaks of the seamounts, providing plankton and other organic organisms for corals and other suspension feeders. The Tasmanian seamounts are located 170km south of Hobart in Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Tasmanian South East bioregion—subhumid cool to subhumid warm coastal plains on a highly indented coastline, bordered inland by low mountain ranges formed from Jurassic dolerite and Permo-Triassic sediments. Soils predominantly clay to sandy loams. Vegetation is predominantly dry sclerophyll forest, with patches of wet sclerophyll forest, relict rainforest, coastal heath and dry coniferous forest. Extensive areas have been converted to improved pasture and cropland. Land is use primarily agriculture (grazing) and forestry.

Tasmanian Southern Ranges bioregion—humid cool mountainous tract of central southern Tasmania. Permo-Triassic sediments and Jurassic dolerite, mantled with sandy to clay loams. Heavily forested, grading from mixed forest, wet sclerophyll forest and patches of rainforest in the uplands to dry sclerophyll forest on the coastal lowlands. Land use primarily forestry and agriculture (grazing and cropping).

Tasmanian tiger—(also: thylacine, Tasmanian wolf) the carnivorous marsupial Thylacinus cynocephalus, native to Tasmania. The jaws of a Tasmanian tiger are believed to pen wider than any other mammal. Most scientists believe it to be extinct; however each year there are about a dozen unconfirmed sightings in remote areas of the state, and several reported sets of tiger tracks. The tiger was about 5 feet (1.5 m) long, and had light brown fur with dark stripes across its lower back. The last Tasmanian tiger in captivity was at the Hobart Zoo in 1933. Tigers were common toward the start of the century but were hunted extensively because they threatened sheep.

Tasmanian tribes—Aboriginal people of Tasmania, now extinct. Tasmanian Aboriginal society came under attack from two separate groups of Europeans: sealers and settlers. European sealers began working in Bass Strait in 1798, and they soon began to trade with the tribes of the north coast. Some gangs simply raided the tribes for women and killed the men who protected them. Around Hobart Town the colonists fully expected the Aboriginal people to 'move over'. Settlers, ex-convicts, run-a-ways and bush-rangers moved into Aboriginal land, abducting children for forced labour, raping and torturing the women and shooting whole parties of Aboriginal people. In 1834 the remaining 135 Tasmanian Aboriginals from the mainland were settled on Flinders Island, where they were to be 'civilised and Christianised'. The settlement was called Wybalenna ('black men’s houses'). In October 1847 the 47 survivors of this group were transferred to Oyster Cove, near Hobart, which was to prove to be the last home of that last known group of 'tribal' Tasmanians.

Tasmanian trumpeter—the fish Latris lineata.

Tasmanian waratahTelopea truncata, a small, many-branched tree endemic to Tasmania, found growing in mountain forests at altitudes of 600m to 1200m in moist, acidic soils, in sub-alpine shrublands and wet sclerophyll forests. Each flower produces a secreted nectar, which drips from the flower. of Tasmania. Flowers are usually red, although there are cream and pink forms, and there is a rare, yellow form. The meaning of both its botanical and Aboriginal names is 'seen from afar', as this spectacular flower can be seen from great distances.

Tasmanian West bioregion—perhumid cold lowlands, low hills and low ranges, comprising most of coastal and inland western Tasmania. Folding and subsequent erosion has resulted in rugged dissected inland ranges dominated by Precambrian and Cambrian rocks supporting oligotrophic acid peat soils or shallow organic horizons over deep mineral profiles. From 300m elevation a discontinuous coastal plain slopes westward to the ocean. Vegetation is a complex mosaic of rainforest (Nothofagus), buttongrass moorlands and Smithton peppermint scrub. Principal land uses are conservation, mining and forestry.

Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area—inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982 for both its outstanding natural and cultural universal values. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is one of the largest conservation reserves in Australia. At 1.38 million hectares, it covers approximately 20 per cent of the land area of the island of Tasmania. It is one of only three temperate wilderness areas remaining in the Southern Hemisphere. Rocks from every geological period are represented in the area, the oldest having been formed about 1100 million years ago during the Precambrian period. Some of the rock types, such as limestone and dolomite, are soluble in water, which has resulted in the development of various karst features such as sinkholes and caves—these are some of the deepest and longest caves in Australia. Exit Cave, near Lune River has spectacular cave formations in over 20km of passageways. The area contains a wide variety of vegetation, including closed forest (temperate rainforest), open forest (eucalypt forest), buttongrass moorland and alpine communities. The flora occur in a unique mosaic of Antarctic and Australian elements, with the Antarctic element consisting of species descended from the supercontinent of Gondwana. The fauna is of world importance because it includes an unusually high proportion of endemic species and relict groups of ancient lineage. Two main faunal groups can be recognised: one group, including the marsupials and burrowing freshwater crayfish, has survived as relicts of the Gondwana fauna; the other group, including rodents and bats, invaded Australia from Asia millions of years after the break up of Gondwanaland. The region's cultural World Heritage values relate both to Aboriginal occupation and European settlement. More than 40 sites have been located in the south-west inland river valleys, with human occupation dating to at least 30,000 years ago. This group of places, which also includes rock art sites, forms one of the richest and best-preserved collection of Ice Age sites found anywhere in the world. The sites show how the Tasmanian Aboriginal people developed a distinctive way of life in a harsh land. The World Heritage values of the Tasmanian Wilderness relating to European settlement are those of the area's convict past. The colonisation of parts of the globe by means of the forced transportation of convicts from Europe was a significant feature of world population movement in the 18th and 19th centuries. Australia was unique in that it was the only British colony founded as a convict settlement. The Macquarie Harbour penal station was based on Sarah Island and in use from 1821 to 1833. A management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness has been in operation since 1992, and Commonwealth and State administrative arrangements are in place, including a Consultative Committee and Ministerial Council.

Tasmanian wolf—is believed to have been extinct for nearly sixty-five years. Despite its appearance and its popular name, this animal was not in fact a species of wolf, nor was it a dog, which it also resembled. It was actually a marsupial—the largest carnivorous marsupial in recent times—and was closely related to the kangaroo and the wombat. Thus the Tasmanian wolf's Latin name, Thylacinus cynocephalus, meaning "pouched dog with wolf head," reflects the animal's true nature as well as its similarity to the dog and the wolf. The Tasmanian wolf's resemblance to unrelated species is a result of what scientists call convergent evolution, in which similar features develop separately in different species. The Tasmanian wolf evolved into a form comparable to members of the dog family because it filled much the same ecological niche in Australia as true dogs do in their environments. The extinction of the Tasmanian wolf is attributable solely to activities of human beings. In the nineteenth century, when Tasmania encouraged agriculture, the Tasmanian wolf was considered a threat to livestock, and bounty hunters were paid twenty-five cents per scalp as part of a concerted, and successful, effort to eliminate the animal. It was soon hunted to extinction. Today, in the hopes that the Tasmanian wolf is not truly extinct, the Australian Conservation Foundation offers $100 just for a sighting of the animal's tracks. So far, there has been none. Also known as Tasmanian tiger.

Tasmanoid group—Australian Indigenous peoples can be placed into three mains groups. Of these the Tasmanians represent the oldest and most primitive, and that which presumably once spread over the whole Australian continent. However, the fact that they have been extinct for many years renders our information in regard to them so fragmentary that definiteness on this point is almost impossible.

tassel flower—tropical Asiatic annual cultivated for its small, tassel-shaped heads of scarlet flowers. A tender annual that grows to two or three feet in height. Flame-colored, button-like flowers appear on slender stems in summer.

tasselled wobbegongEucrossorhinus dasypogon is found only in tropical waters. It has a distinctive mass of lobes and tendrils around the jaws, more so than any other wobbegong species. The scientific name for the tasselled wobbegong roughly translates into 'well fringed nose with shaggy beard'. It has a very broad head, large spiracles set behind small eyes, large rounded pectoral fins and a beautiful mosaic pattern of spots and lines all over a yellowish brown body. Like all wobbegongs the tasselled wobbegong relies on camouflage and quick reflexes to snatch prey that strays too close to its head. Of course the lush beard adds another dimension to its hunting, with the frilly tassels appearing to be succulent morsels which attracts fish, squid, cuttlefish and crabs. It has a very flexible, flattened body shape that allows it to squirm into enclosed spaces or manoeuvre in caves for the best hunting spot.


tat—tattoo: e.g., He's got tats all over his back.

Tatts—Tattersall's Sweep, a lottery.

tatty—shabby; ragged; inferior.

Taungerong—one of the five language groups of the Kulin nation. The Taungerong people traditionally occupied the lands north of the Great Dividing Range to south-east of Mansfield, northwards past Benalla and across to Wangaratta in the west. The western boundary was provided by the Great Dividing Range then proceeded south to Kyneton, embracing the catchment areas for the Campaspe and Goulburn River, as well as Broken River and Broken Creek. The Taungerong were moved to the Acheron Mission and when this mission station was closed down, were relocated to Coranderrk Aboriginal Mission at Healesville, in the land of the Wurundjeri. Today, the Victorian cities and towns of Yea, Eildon, Kilmore, Seymour, Wangaratta, Benalla and Mansfield are on the recognised lands of the Taungerong.

tawny dragon—Ctenophorus decresii, females and juveniles: ground-colour brown, greyish brown to grey, dotted with dark brown to black over head, body, limbs and tail. Dark pigment tends to concentrate on flanks, forming broad wavy-edged stripe or series of blotches. Upper lips paler shade of ground colour. Ventral surfaces white to grey, mottled with dark grey on chin and throat. Males: Dorsal ground colour grey, bluish grey to brown. Broad dark grey to black lateral zone (margined irregularly above, and usually below, with white, yellow, orange to red stripes or elongate blotches) extends from ear to side of neck to midbody or hindlimb. Lower flanks blue to bluish grey. Males of southern populations (Kangaroo Island and southern Mount Lofty Ranges) bear prominent blue flush over lips, chin and gular area. Those from further north (northern Mount Lofty Ranges, Flinders Ranges, Olary Spur and western NSW) bear yellow, pink to red flush. Remaining ventral surfaces white, with yellow to orange flush over anterior chest and gular fold. Throat marbled with grey or (in NSW) marked with a blackish longitudinal streak. Preferred habitat is subhumid to arid rocky ranges and outcrops of eastern SA, from Kangaroo Island, through Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges and Olary Spur to Noonthorangee Range, NSW. Though adults are restricted to rocky substrates, juveniles are often encountered foraging on surrounding soils. Elevated perches are favoured as basking sites, while crevices or exfoliations are used for shelter.

tawny frogmouthPodargus strigoides, often mistaken for an owl, although closely related to the nightjar and more nearly resembling a piece of dead wood than any bird. Camouflaging renders this bird virtually invisible by day, as it blends with the tree bark. Its odd name is in reference to an unusually wide beak. The general plumage of the tawny frogmouth is silver-grey, streaked and mottled with black and rufous. The eye is yellow, and the wide, heavy bill is olive-grey to blackish. Their feet are weak and lack the curved talons of owls. During the day, the tawny frogmouth perches on a tree branch, often low down, camouflaged as part of the tree. It is found throughout Australia, and can be seen in almost any habitat type except the denser rainforests and treeless deserts. The bulk of the tawny frogmouth's diet is made up of nocturnal insects, worms, slugs and snails. Small mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds are also eaten. Most food is obtained by pouncing to the ground from a tree or other elevated perch. Some prey items, such as moths, are caught in flight, which has led to many unfortunate instances of birds being hit by cars while chasing insects illuminated in the beam of the headlights.

tawny-crowned honeyeaterPhylidonyris melanops prefers native scrub and heathlands, enriched with myrtle and bottlebrush, and with scattered trees. Their call is flute-like and brassy. Breeds June—Jan. Nest: cup of grass, bark and spiderweb. Eggs: 1-4 usually 2, white blotched red. Distribution: south-west Western Australia, south-east South Australia, Victoria, coastal New South Wales and Tasmania.

tax (someone)—borrow, cadge from (someone) with no real intention of paying back: e.g., Can I tax you for a cigarette?

tax lurk—a scheme of tax avoidance.

taxi doors—pertaining to unattractive, large ears.

taxi rank—a place where taxis wait to be hired.

Taylor Range—for a time this spur from the D'Aguilar Range carried two names. Maps of the 1820s show both the names of Glenmoriston and Taylor associated with it, but it was the name of Sir Herbert Taylor which came to be permanently commemorated by it. Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is built on its southern slopes.

tea—the evening meal, and usually the main meal of the day.

tea and sugar burglar—a swagman.

tea lady—a woman employed to make tea in offices etc.

tea towel—dish towel.

tea tree—Family: Myrtaceae, genus: Leptospermum, evergreen, perennial shrubs/ trees, 6 ft—10ft tall. Prefers full sun or sun/partial shade. Repeatedly blooms in mid-spring, late spring/early summer, mid-summer, late summer/early autumn. Flowers are mostly large, up to 3cm in diameter, and vary from pink through scarlet (dark red), to white/near white This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. Leptospermum is a genus of about 86 species, distributed throughout Australia and extending to Malaysia and New Zealand. About 83 species occur in Australia, all but two endemic. The common name, tea tree, derives from the practice of early settlers soaking the leaves of several species in boiling water to make a tea substitute. Aborigines used the long, hard, straight stems for making heavy spears and digging sticks.

tea tree and paperbark wet scrub and forest—forests dominated by mana, soft-fruited tea tree, shiny tea tree, woolly tea tree, swamp paperbark and scented paperbark; and usually has an understorey of rainforest species. In northern Tasmania and on the Bass Strait islands, dense forests dominated by swamp paperbark are widespread. There are large areas of tea-tree and paperbark wet scrub and forest on the west coast of Tasmania, particularly where mining settlements have been associated with the burning of rainforest. This type of forest is extremely well reserved, the main management issue being the exclusion of fire. Though they may, in some situations, require an occasional fire to maintain their dominance, unplanned frequent fires are likely to prevent them becoming an extensive feature of the landscape. While tea-tree and paperbark wet scrub and forest often appear over-mature or in need of a good 'clean out', their dense nature is just a stage in their development. Over time, these forests will thin out, the eucalypts will become more dominant, and the understorey will become more diverse. Burning or clearing to encourage regeneration will merely start the developmental cycle all over again.

tea tree oil—the essential oil from Melaleuca alternifolia. The steam-distilled oil has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. The trees do not need to be harvested in order for their oil to be extracted; in fact, some trees have provided their oil for over 60 years. Arthur Penfold, an Australian scientist, is credited with discovering the tea tree’s beneficial properties. Those properties make it a popular ingredient in shampoos, creams, skin cleansers and other external cosmetic applications. The oil contains several important compounds, including terpines, cymones, pinines, terpineols, cineol, sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpene alcohols, which benefit the skin and are non-irritating. Recent medical research has demonstrated the oil to be of particular benefit in the treatment of staphylococcus infections. The oil is applied topically to open staph wounds; inhaled or applied as a cream for lung infections; and inhaled for nasal infections. The species from which this oil is derived is endemic to the northern part of New South Wales.

tea-break—short rest from work to have tea, coffee etc, usually taken mid morning and afternoon.

tea-leaf—(rhyming slang) thief.

teacake—a light yeast-based usually sweet bun eaten at tea, often toasted.

teach one's grandmother to suck eggs—presume to teach or explain something to one more experienced than oneself.

tear a tinnie—drink a beer.

tear into—1. attack verbally; reprimand. 2. make a vigorous start on (an activity).

tear strips off (someone)—scold, reprove, reprimand (someone) severely.

tear-arse—1. a wild, reckless, impulsive or delinquent person. 2. a fast driver.

tearaway—1. an impetuous or reckless young person. 2. a hooligan.

teat—nipple, including the rubber nipple for a baby bottle.

technicolour yawn—vomit; the act of vomiting.

teddy (bear)—1. extravagantly dressed man. 2. show-off.

tee up—organise; arrange.

teeth like a row of condemned houses—(to have...) to have bad, decaying, crooked or protruding teeth.

TEFL—teaching of English as a foreign language.

telegraph (one's) punches—give prior warning of (one's) intentions, especially to an opponent.

tell porkies—tell lies.

tell tales out of school—to discuss one's friend's or associate's confidences, secrets, etc indiscriminately, needlessly or maliciously with someone else

.tell us anotherie!—expression of scornful disbelief.


temperate grassland—(see: natural temperate grassland).

temperate rainforest—characterised by an open yet verdant, cool, dark and damp place where both the trunks of trees and the forest floor are festooned with a carpet of mosses and lichens. In autumn and early winter in particular, the rainforest floor is dappled with an array of brightly coloured fungi. Unlike tropical and subtropical rainforests, there are no root buttresses or palms, and climbing plants are rare.

ten cents short of the dollar—(to be...) to be dumb, slow-witted, lacking in intelligence, mentally retarded.

Ten Pound Pom—a colloquial term used in Australia to describe British subjects who migrated to Australia after the Second World War under an assisted passage scheme established and operated by the Government of Australia. Created in 1945 during the government of Ben Chifley as part of the "Populate or Perish" policy by the first Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, the scheme was designed to substantially increase the population of Australia and to supply workers for the country's booming industries. In return for subsidising the cost of travelling to Australia—adult migrants were charged only ten pound sterling for the fare (hence the name), and children were allowed to travel for free—the Government promised employment prospects, housing and a generally more optimistic lifestyle. However, on arrival migrants were placed in basic hostels and the expected job opportunities were not always readily available. It was a follow-on to the unofficial Big Brother Movement and attracted over one million migrants from the British Isles between 1945 and 1972, representing the last substantial scheme for preferential migration from the British Isles to Australia. In 1957, more migrants were encouraged to travel following a campaign called 'Bring out a Briton'. Coming to an end in 1982, the scheme reached its peak in 1969; during this year over 80,000 migrants took advantage of the scheme. The cost to migrants of the assisted passage was increased to £75 in 1973. While the term "Ten Pound Pom" is in common use, the scheme was not limited to just migrants from the United Kingdom. Persons born in the Irish Free State or in the southern counties of Ireland prior to the establishment of the Republic of Ireland in 1949 were also classified as British subjects. In fact most British subjects were eligible and, at the time, that included not only those from the British Isles but also residents of British colonies such as Malta and Cyprus. Australia also operated schemes to assist selected migrants from other countries, notably the Netherlands (1951), Italy (1951), Greece (1952), West Germany (1952) and Turkey (1967). Assisted migrants were generally obliged to remain in Australia for two years after arrival, or alternatively refund the cost of their assisted passage. If they chose to travel back to Britain, the cost of the journey was at least £120, a large sum in those days and one that most could not afford. It was also possible for many British persons to migrate to Australia on a non-assisted basis before the early 1970s, although most travelled as Ten Pounders. This was part of the wider White Australia Policy. A quarter of British migrants chose to return to the but half of these—the so-called 'Boomerang Poms'—returned to Australia. Prior to 1 December 1973, migrants to Australia from Commonwealth countries were eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after one year's residence in Australia. In 1973 the residence requirement was extended to three years, then reduced to two years in November 1984. However, relatively few British migrants—compared to other postwar arrivals, such as Italians, Greeks and Turks—took up Australian citizenship. Consequently, many lost their Australian resident status later on, usually through leaving Australia.

ten-ounce sandwich—(joc.) a glass of beer for lunch.

Tennant Creek—takes its name from the nearby watercourse named in 1860 by John McDouall Stuart in acknowledgment of the help received from John Tennant, a pastoralist from Port Lincoln, South Australia. Stuart became the first explorer to successfully cross the country from south to north. Tennant Creek has developed from the rough, tough droving and gold mining days into an exciting area where the history is so recent you can almost touch it. The region is centred around the junction of two great highways, the Barkly and the Stuart. Tennant Creek was in its time the third largest gold producer in Australia and still ranks as one of the most productive fields. The gold rush here in the 1930s contributed significantly to both the Northern Territory and the Australian economy.

tenner—a ten-dollar note; the sum of ten dollars.

tenosols—widespread in the western half of the continent where vast areas occur as red and yellow sand-plains. Large areas in Western Australia have red loamy soils with a red-brown hardpan at shallow depths. Due to their poor water retention, almost universally low fertility and occurrence in regions of low and erratic rainfall, Tenosols are of limited occurrence in cropping regions. Also known as lithosols; alpine humus soils and some alluvial soils; shallow stony soils; deep sands.

tenpin bowling—the game known as bowling in the US, played with 10 pins.

tenure—the act or right of holding property on a permanent basis, on the fulfilment of certain requirements. Tenure falls into three categories: (1) public lands, which include state, Crown and Commonwealth lands, and property that is reserved, owned for public purposes, or vacant; (2) private lands, which include freehold or Crown leasehold land; and (3) Indigenous lands, which include private leasehold land, freehold land and reserves held by, or on behalf of, Indigenous communities. Tenure was one of two fundamental doctrines of English land law, which was applied to the Crown colonies of Australia and thence entered into Australian land law. The other doctrine is that of the estate.

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