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Maritime history
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Maritime History

Since first settlement, Tasmania has depended on the sea for its survival. Sailors, whalers and fishermen are all bound up in Tasmania's maritime past and evidence of this sea faring way of life can still be found around our coastal cities and towns today.

Last century, shipping was the life-blood of the Tasmanian colony. It was the only way local goods and people could reach the mainland and wider markets and the only way the basic necessities of life, as well as luxury goods, could find their way to Tasmania.

Tasmania's dramatic coastlines are treacherous and on stormy nights many a sailing ship came to grief on our shores. As an island state in the path of the powerful winds of the Roaring Forties, Tasmania's maritime past is full of tales of shipwrecks and survival, exciting discoveries and a few sea shanties too.

Visitors with an interest in maritime history will find a number of early lighthouses in Tasmania including the highest and second highest lighthouses in Australia at Cape Wickham and Cape Sorell respectively.

Many lighthouses offer tours and many shipwrecks are popular dive sites – some may be even seen at low tide such as on Flinders and King Island.

This maritime heritage is celebrated every two years with the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, the second largest wooden boat festival in the world, when Hobart's waterfront is awash with traditional craft, nautical buskers, choirs singing songs of the sea, and experts demonstrating age-old skills from splicing and adzing to shaping half models.