On the first of January 1901 Tasmania became a State under the newly formed Federation of Australia. Despite the fact that Australia was now a united nation, Tasmanians loyalties were still firmly with the Empire. Within two weeks of World War I being declared in 1914, 2,020 Tasmanians had registered at recruiting depots around the island.
Few households were untouched by the war. From 1914-18 about 13,000 Tasmanians left to serve their country at war. Close to 2,500 of those lost their lives and many others were physically or psychologically damaged.
Whilst war was being fought in Europe, new power developments and industrial growth were changing the face of Tasmania. The opening of the Great Lake Power Scheme, in 1916, made power available for the establishment of new industries such as the Electrolytic Zinc Company’s Risdon plant, Cadbury’s chocolate factory, Claremont and the Electrona carbide works. By 1927 a line had been opened from the Great Lake to supply power to Sheffield, Devonport, Ulverstone and Penguin in the north-west.
Major public works were also undertaken by the Government during the Great Depression years of 1929-39. These included the Lyell Highway linking Hobart with the west, and the summit road on Mt Wellington.
During World War II the State’s industrial base was strengthened further as a number of factories were established or re-structured to supply war equipment and munitions for the armed services. Due to manpower shortages women increasingly worked in the factories, as well as on the land. By 1942 there were 1,364 factories in Tasmania employing 13,000 people (25% of whom were women).
Tasmania becomes a State in Australian Federal System of Government.
First elections for Federal Parliament held.
Ulverstone-Burnie railway line opened.
Royal visit by Duke (later King George V) and Duchess of York.
Conference held, Zeehan, leading to formation of the Tasmanian Workers Political League (forerunner to Labor Party).
Last troops return from Boer War.
Board Of Commissioners for Closer Settlement appointed to purchase tracts of land for subdivision into smaller holdings.
Women become enfranchised to vote in House of Assembly elections.
Telephone line opened between Hobart and Launceston.
Outbreak of smallpox in Launceston.
A Conference held by the Hobart Workers Political League establishes the party’s organisational structure.
The Morning and Terra Nova depart Hobart on a relief expedition to free Scott’s Discovery from the Antarctic ice.
Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club formed.
Act passes allowing women to enter the legal profession.
The Tasmanian National Association inaugurated (forerunner to the Liberal Party).
Emu Bay Times (Burnie) amalgamates with the North Western Advocate to provide a daily newspaper for the north-west.
Experiments in wireless telegraphy between Tasmania and the mainland undertaken.
Tasman Lighthouse first lit.
Royal Commission held into wages and wage-earners.
A new public library, built with money donated by American Andrew Carnegie, opened in Hobart.
Queen Alexandra Maternity Hospital opened in Hobart.
A day nursery or creche first opened in Hobart.
State school fees abolished.
Irish blight wipes out potato crop. Bush Nursing Association formed.
Hare-Clark electoral system first used Statewide for a Tasmanian election.
Tasmanian Liberal League formed.
Factory Act and Wages Board Act passed, setting maximum of 48 working hours a week and minimum wages in a number of areas.
Free Kindergarten Association founded by Emily Dobson, providing poor children with pre-school education.
First sod of Great Lake hydro-electric project turned by Mrs Ida McAulay.
Philip Smith School for teacher training opens in Domain, Hobart.
Scottsdale-Branxholm rail line opened.
First tramway service in Launceston begins.
Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition vessel Aurora docks in Hobart.
Roald Amundsen arrives in Hobart on return from being the first expeditioner to reach the South Pole.
Baden-Powell appears in Launceston to promote the Scout movement.
Tasmania’s first Girl Guide company formed at Lindisfarne, Hobart.
Disastrous fire at Mt Lyell traps miners underground, killing 42 men.
The Cape Barren Island Reservation Act provides Aborigines with a leasehold arrangement for the island, and enforces strict government regulation of their activities.
First State high schools established in Hobart and Launceston.
Burnie-Wynyard rail line opens.
Marrawah tramway opens.
Tasmanian Gold Mine, Beaconsfield closes.
Hydro-Electricity Bill passes bringing hydro-electricity under State control.
World War I declared.
Tasmania’s first contingent (engineers) sail for war.
The 12th Battalion leaves for war service.
The Scenery Preservation Act passes, creating the first special authority in Australia for the creation and management of parks and reserves.
First Anzac Day held in Tasmania.
Opening of Waddamana power station.
The first all Tasmanian battalion (the 40th) leaves for the war.
Tasmania’s first National Parks at Mt Field and Freycinet declared.
Daylight saving introduced.
Nationwide referendum rejects conscription, although Tasmania largely votes in its favour.
Construction of the Carbide works at Electrona commenced.
Zinc first produced at the Electrolytic Zinc Company’s Risdon plant.
The second national referendum on conscription held, with voters again rejecting conscription.
The Hospital Act provides for the establishment of district hospital boards and the licensing and regulation of private hospitals.
Spanish Influenza epidemic sweeps through Tasmania, affecting one third of the population.
First sod turned in the construction of war service houses, Moonah.
First aeroplane flight across Bass Strait.
Site selected for Cadbury’s chocolate factory at Claremont.
Royal visit by Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII).
Forestry Department formed following the Forestry Act 1920.
Legislation passed enabling women to stand for Parliament.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park proclaimed.
Official opening of the second stage of the Great Lake power scheme.
Kelsall and Kemp Ltd open woollen mills, Launceston.
Patons and Baldwins spinning mill opens, Launceston.
National Portland Cement Company begins operations on Maria Island.
7ZL (later ABC) radio station goes to air for first time.
The Electrolytic Zinc Company starts using zinc from Rosebery in its processing operations.
The Devon Cottage Hospital, Latrobe taken over by the Government.
The Tasmanian Cement Company (later Goliath Portland Cement Company) begins operations at Railton.
Acts passed granting forestry concessions to two companies in order to encourage the pulp and paper industry.
Federal Government appoints Sir Nicholas Lockyer to investigate Tasmania’s economy.
Royal visit by Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth).
First meeting of the Nurse’s Registration Board held, marking an important step towards professional growth and regulation of nursing.
Tasmanian Paper Pty Ltd construct an experimental pulp mill at Kermandie.
Compulsory voting introduced.
Start of the Great Depression.
Severe flooding experienced in the north of the State, causing the loss of 22 lives and massive damage to property.
Unemployed Workers Movement branches formed in Hobart and Launceston.
Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC) established following a 1929 Act.
Opening of Shannon power station.
The United Australia Party forms with Joseph Lyons as leader.
Lyell Highway linking Hobart with the west opened.
Tasmanian Joseph Lyons sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia.
Commonwealth Grants Commission established to allocate grants to the States.
A thrice-weekly air service from Launceston to Melbourne is begun by Holyman Airways Pty Ltd (later amalgamated with Adelaide Airways to form Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, the forerunner of Ansett Airlines).
The Bass Strait steamer Taroona makes its maiden voyage.
Hobart’s ABC Orchestra established.
‘Area’ school system established in rural districts.
Last Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine) held in captivity dies at the Hobart Zoo.
The Federal aerodrome at Cambridge, Hobart first used.
Nationwide poliomyelitis epidemic hits Tasmania.
The road to the summit of Mt Wellington opened.
Tarraleah power station opened.
Production begins at Associated Pulp and Paper Manufacturer’s (APPM) Burnie mill.
New Hobart Hospital opened.
Official opening of the Lake Fenton water supply scheme for Hobart.
Transport Commission established.
World War II begins.
Tasmanians leave in first contingent of the AIF (6th Division) for service in the Middle East.
New Spencer Hospital, Wynyard, opened.
Bass Strait closed to shipping following the sinking of British steamer Cambridge by a mine.
Womens Land Army formed to carry out vital farming tasks during the war.
Production begins at Australian Newsprint Mills’ Boyer (New Norfolk) mill, being the first in the world to produce newsprint from hardwood.
Vegetable dehydration factories established at Scottsdale, Ulverstone and Smithton for defence food requirements.
The new Launceston General Hospital buildings completed.
Uniform Federal income tax commenced.
An ammunition shell-case factory opens, Derwent Park.
Tasmanian Enid Lyons is elected, being one of the first two female members of Federal Parliament.
The floating pontoon bridge opened, Hobart.
University of Tasmania begins transfer to Sandy Bay site.
The State Library of Tasmania established.
A vegetable canning factory (later Edgell's, then Simplot) begins at Quoiba in the north-west.
A Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement signed providing for the development of large public housing estates.
Launceston Library is reconstituted as a free library.
World War II ends.
War Service Land Settlement Act passes providing for settlement of returned soldiers.
Inaugural Sydney-Hobart yacht race held.
School leaving age raised to 16.
State Forestry Commission appointed.
British migrants under assisted passages arrive to work for the HEC.
Ben Lomond National Park declared.
280 Polish migrants arrive to work for the HEC under 2 year contracts.
ANARE sets up a permanent research station on Macquarie Island.
First ‘displaced’ persons arrive from Europe.
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra formed.
Tasmania’s first female parliamentarian, Margaret McIntyre is elected to the Legislative Council.
Australian Titan Products Pty Ltd (later Tioxide Australia) begins operations at Burnie, producing titanium oxide pigments.
Outbreak of poliomyelitis causes cancellation of Hobart Show.
Large naturalisation ceremony held at Butler’s Gorge and Bronte Park HEC villages for Polish migrants.
This page last updated 3 January 2007