1384.6 - Statistics - Tasmania, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2002   
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Contents >> History >> 1950s-1980s, Post-war Tasmania

Post-war Tasmania witnessed an influx of European migrants and displaced persons.

In the census of 1966, of 371,410 people in the State:

  • 18,551 were born in the United Kingdom
  • 3,367 in the Netherlands
  • 2,016 in Germany
  • 1,567 in Poland
  • 1,448 in Italy
  • 4,466 from other continental European countries.

In 1951, some 3,800 ‘displaced persons’ lived in Tasmania (although many of them had left by 1966). Many of Tasmania’s new European migrants came under contract to work for the Hydro-Electric Commission at remote hydro-construction villages such as Bronte Park and Butler’s Gorge.

With the swelling of its workforce the HEC’s development program continued unabated. Power stations were opened at Butler’s Gorge (1952), Bronte Park (1953), Tungatinah (1955), Wayatinah (1961), Liapootah (1961) and Catagunya (1962). The proposal to flood Lake Pedder in 1967, however, met with vehement opposition from environmentalists. Whilst the battle to save Lake Pedder was ultimately lost, the HEC’s subsequent proposal for a Gordon-below-Franklin dam was blocked in 1983 when the Federal Government intervened under a rising tide of pressure from environmental groups. The ‘Greens’ had emerged as a key political force in Tasmania.

The period also witnessed a strengthening of Aboriginal activism. The struggle to have Aboriginality recognised, claims for land rights and the return of Aboriginal skeletal and cultural material from museums and scientific collections were major issues of concern.

Unemployment reappeared as a major social issue during this period. In the early 1980s, unemployment reached the 10% level. Changing economic conditions forced many small factories to close and the industrial giants to cut back their work forces. The Government, traditionally a major employer in Tasmania, reduced staff. The service and tourism sectors experienced some growth.

June 25
Korean War begins.

Hartz Mountain National Park proclaimed.
Cape Barren Island Aboriginal Reserve terminated in line with the Government’s assimilation policy.

Italian and German migrants arrive to work under contract for HEC.

Burnie General Hospital opened.

Serious floods experienced throughout island.

November 22
Butler’s Gorge power station officially opened.

December 13
Launceston trams cease operating.

Housing Department established to manage the State’s public housing stock.
Tasman Ltd diesel train service between Hobart and northern towns begins.

June 2
Pine Tier Dam of the Tungatinah power scheme officially opened.

July 27
End of Korean War.

Queen Elizabeth II (accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) becomes the first reigning monarch to visit the State.

June 6
Flooding occurs in eastern and southern Tasmania.

July 5
Tattersall's Lotteries transfer to Melbourne.

December 31
Spouses of property owners granted eligibility to vote in Legislative Council elections.

Lactos cheese factory established at Burnie.

February 19
First female members of the House of Assembly elected (Amelia Best and Mabel Miller).

March 23
Lake Pedder National Park proclaimed (it is later extended to form the South West National Park).

May 20
Tungatinah power station opened.

September 23
First ingot poured from Bell Bay Aluminium Refinery.

Tasmania’s first woman Mayor, Dorothy Edwards, appointed at Launceston.

February 9
Floods in north-east Tasmania.

December 12
Trevallyn Power Scheme officially opened.

November 1
Rivers and Water Supply Commission established by Water Act.

January 10
Devon Hospital, Latrobe merges with Meercroft Hospital to form the Mersey General Hospital.

First election to fill 35 seats in an enlarged House of Assembly held.

January 1
Public Service Tribunal established as an industrial authority.

October 2
Princess of Tasmania becomes the first roll-on passenger ferry in Bass Strait service.

Risdon Gaol, Hobart established.

April 22
Severe floods hit the Derwent Valley and Hobart.

May 23
Television begins transmission in Hobart.

Strahan-Zeehan railway line closed.

October 28
Hobart trams cease running.

State matriculation college policy announced.

March 23
The power stations at Lake Echo, Wayatinah and Liapootah officially opened.

Australian Paper Makers Ltd’s pulp mill commences at Port Huon.

TEMCO’s ferro-manganese plant opened at Bell Bay.

Catagunya power station begins operating.

Royal visit by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

July 29
Television first goes to air in Launceston.

August 10
Last train runs on the Mt Lyell Railway from Queenstown to Strahan.

December 13
Opening of Murchison Highway linking the north-west with the west.

Freshwater trout farm established at Bridport.

June 24
Shannon power station closed.

October 24
Glenorchy proclaimed a city.

Tasmania sends first troops to Vietnam War under the National Service Scheme.
Bass Strait oil drilling commences.
Burnie General and Spencer Hospitals merge to form the North West General Hospital.

March 13
Official opening of Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.

March 29
Tasman Bridge, Hobart, officially opened.

March 30
Poatina power station opened.

June 30
Closing of Waddamana ‘A’ power station.

February 7
Dental Nursing School opens.

February 14
Decimal currency introduced.

December 22
Principle of equal pay for women in the Public Service recognised by Act of Parliament.

Tasmania joins rest of Australia in approving full constitutional rights for Aborigines.

February 7
Bushfires sweep the State, destroying over 1,000 homes and taking 62 lives.

March 15
Strzelecki National Park declared, Flinders Island.

May 25
HEC tables plans in Parliament for the damming of Lake Pedder in the south-west.

June 21
Rocky Cape National Park declared.

October 1
Daylight savings legislation introduced.

March 6
Savage River iron ore project officially opened.

May 18
Batman Bridge crossing the Tamar River is opened.

July 1
Full adult franchise granted for Legislative Council elections.

May 30
Floods in Launceston.

December 24
Copper smelter at Mt Lyell closes.

Tasmanian schools begin teaching metric system.
Marine research laboratories established at Taroona.

Visit by Royal family.

December 8
National Parks and Wildlife Act proclaimed.

Australian troops begin withdrawing from Vietnam.

March 12
APPM’s Wesley Vale paper mill begins production.

Lake Pedder Action Committee formed to campaign against Hydro-Electric Commission Gordon River dam construction.
First shipment of woodchips leaves Tasmanian Pulp and Forest Holdings Ltd Triabunna mill.

July 2
Bell Bay thermal power station commences.

August 14
The first State Aboriginal Conference held, Launceston.

Tasmanian College of Advanced Education, Hobart opened.

May 23
Woodchip plant at Long Reach on the Tamar begins operations.

June 27
Princess of Tasmania makes last Bass Strait crossing, before being replaced by the Empress of Australia.

July 14
Maria Island National Park proclaimed.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Information Centre (later Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre) established.

December 19
Electrolytic Zinc Company begins trial dumping of jarosite waste at sea.

General voting age for electors lowered to 18 years of age.

February 10
Hobart casino officially opened, being the first legally sanctioned casino in Australia.

March 16
Mersey-Forth power scheme officially opened.

October 3
Mt William National Park proclaimed.

January 11
Environment Protection Act comes into effect to control industrial pollution.

May 17
Bell Bay-Launceston rail link opened.

December 9
TAB begins operations.

December 31
Hobart suburban rail services cease.

January 5
Tasman Bridge, Hobart brought down by the Lake Illawarra causing 12 deaths.

February 28
Colour television first introduced in Tasmania.

December 19
Rokeby Police Academy completed.

Freight subsidy scheme introduced for sea-cargo to Tasmania.

January 5
Family Law Court established in Tasmania (under the Federal Family Law Act) for handling of divorce cases.

April 30
Truganini’s remains ritually cremated by Aboriginal community.

July 7
Asbestos Range National Park proclaimed.

August 23
Tasmanian Wilderness Society formed.

Federal Inquiry conducted by Sir Bede Callaghan into Tasmanian industry and employment commences.

During a Royal visit, Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell presents Queen Elizabeth II with a land rights claim.

May 19
Tasmanian Film Corporation established.

October 8
Tasman Bridge, Hobart re-opens for traffic.

November 17
State Fire Authority established.

Hydro-Electric Commission report proposes a further power development scheme involving the Gordon, Franklin and King Rivers.

July 28
Tasman Ltd ceases operations, marking the end of regular passenger train services in Tasmania.

Tasmanian College of Advanced Education moves to Launceston.

Tasmanian Parliamentary Hansard introduced.

April 27
Gordon Power scheme, stage 1 opened.

May 29
State’s first ombudsman appointed.

A Select Committee recommends the Gordon-below-Franklin dam as the next HEC development option.

May 17
Australian Maritime College at Beauty Point opened.

July 29
Gillian James becomes Tasmania’s first female minister.

December 12
Antarctic Division, Kingston completed.

Bushfires in Zeehan destroy 40 houses.

April 21
Devonport proclaimed a city.

April 30
Wild Rivers National Park proclaimed.

June 24
Walls of Jerusalem National Park proclaimed.

October 5
Royal visit by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

December 12
Referendum held on preferred HEC schemes:
47% voting in favour of Gordon-below-Franklin scheme
8% for Gordon-above-Olga
45% voting informally.

March 11
Macintosh power station (the first stage of the Pieman River scheme) begins operating.

May 13
Launceston Federal Country Club casino opened.

December 12
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area proclaimed including the Southwest, Franklin-Lower Gordon Wild Rivers, and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Parks.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council established.

March 25
Tasmanian shearers join national strike over use of wide combs.

March 30
Royal visit by Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

March 31
Federal regulations passed blocking construction of the Franklin HEC dam.

July 1
The High Court rules in favour of Federal sovereignty, thus putting an end to the Gordon-below-Franklin power scheme.

February 23
Bowen Bridge across the Derwent officially opened.

June 18
A fire causes extensive damage to Hobart’s historic Theatre Royal.

Launceston International Velodrome completed.

The last of Tasmania’s drive-in theatres close at Elwick and Mowbray.

CSIRO Marine Laboratories opened, Hobart.

May 4
A four-day cremation ceremony held at Oyster Cove for Aboriginal remains retrieved from the State’s museums.

May 23
Saltwater Salmonid Culture Act provides Salmon Enterprises of Tas. Pty Ltd with a 10-year monopoly on Australian salmon smolt production.

June 2
Empress of Australia makes last Bass Strait crossing before being replaced by the Abel Tasman.

March 7
Confrontations between forestry workers and conservationists erupt at Farmhouse Creek in the south.

November 27
Pope John Paul II visits Hobart and holds mass for 32,000 people at Elwick racecourse.

November 29
Launch of the replica of the tall ship Lady Nelson.

December 23
Antarctic supply ship Nella Dan sinks off Macquarie Island.

Bicentennial celebrations include a visit by an international fleet of Tall ships.

A High Court decision is passed preventing logging in areas of Lemonthyme and Southern Forests nominated for World Heritage Listing.

April 24
Royal tour by Queen Elizabeth II.

April 26
Burnie proclaimed a city.

November 24
Clarence proclaimed a city.

March 15
Controversial Plans for a pulp mill at Wesley Vale scrapped as financial backers pull out in face of tougher environmental controls imposed by the Federal Government.

May 29
An experimental Labor-Green accord is struck between 5 Independents and the Labor Party to form Government following the State elections.

A vote of no-confidence in Robin Gray’s minority Liberal Government leads to Gray’s resignation and Labor leader, Michael Field, being sworn in as Premier.

Amalgamation of Tasmania’s three tertiary education institutions begins.

December 27
Douglas-Apsley National Park declared.

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