Tasmania was first discovered by a Dutch Explorer Abel Tasman, under orders from the Dutch East India Company. He landed on the southern part of the Island, and named it Van Diemen’s Land after the then Governor General of Dutch East Indies, Anthony Van Diemen.
At the time, the southern Island of Tasmania (As it eventually became called) was known, but largely uncharted. The north of of the island was unknown; and was considered by some to be a peninsula of Australia.
George Bass (1771 – 1803) and Matthew Flinders (1774 -1814) are two of the best known and successful maritime explorers of their era. In 1798 Governor Hunter tasked them with establishing if Van Diemen’s Land was in fact an island.
In November 1798 Bass and Flinders sailed along the northern coast of Van Diemen’s Land. Taking cover from heavy weather, they took shelter in a hollow below Low Head. This place they called Port Dalrymple.
Bad weather forced them to stay sheltered for seven days, and they made good use of that time. They followed the Tamar River, landing near where Launceston is today; in their sloop, the Norfolk.
The area they charted was settled a few years later, making it the third settlement in Australia after Sydney and Hobart.