Tasmania's journal of discovery: Antarctica

JURASSIC LEGACY | In a moment of geological high drama that may have lasted less than a million years, Tasmania received a huge share of accessible dolerite, the rock that threatened, intrigued and misled our early explorers and visitors. Of them, the legendary Charles Darwin proved he had more scientific skills than simply observing animals … An extract from a fascinating book by David Leaman starts here

RURAL INSPIRATION | Photographer Maria Fletcher says her creative inspiration comes from looking out daily "at a rural landscape which has been shaped over the past 150 years by a small number of farming families. Alongside the cleared paddocks and tree lined boundaries, the land still retains a sense of its ancient human history". Enjoy her portfolio here

STEPS TO THE SCAFFOLD | In contemporary terms would you think of them as resistance fighters? Or perhaps they were terrorists? Tasmania’s black bushrangers are part of a story previously untold in our history. Two of them, Pevay and Timmy, were the first men publicly executed in Melbourne. Read more here

SHOOTING THE FRANKLIN | Through trial and a fair amount of error, a brave bunch of young men gradually found their way down the Pieman, the King, the Gordon, the Franklin — wild rivers that had never before been navigated along their full length. Read Johnson Dean's story here

MEMENTO MORI | The new Port Arthur museum reeks of atmosphere — dark, oppressive, gloomy, some say Gothic. Located in a former dormitory of the Lunatic Asylum, it loudly proclaims itself a new museum while whispering of its past use says Julia Clark. More here. [Peter Whyte photograph]

FRONT PAGE NEWS | Hobart-based photographer Don Stephens, now in his 70s, has a lifetime of photographic achievement to his credit. Over 38 years as a photographer on The Mercury he captured some of Tasmania’s most dramatic moments. More

THE SHAPE OF TASMANIA | A fascinating look at a quirky exhibition of design using Tasmania's distinctive shape, drawn from the State Library of Tasmania's Heritage Collection. More here

THE PIPELINE TRACK | NICK OSBORNE walks and photographs a unique trail on Hobart's Mt Wellington. More here.

AMERICAN PATRIOTS | In 1837 in an ill-starred attempt to spread the message of Independence, a Patriot army launched an invasion of Canada, hoping to provoke a general uprising. It failed to light the fires of rebellion and the British captured 92 mostly American citizens, members of the American Patriot Army fighting with Canadian republicans for independence from Britain. Military courts smartly and highly illegally banished them in 1839 to Britain's remote and wild new island colony of Van Diemen's Land. Find out more here.

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The history and heritage of Tasmania is a rich tapestry of stories covering murder, mayhem and bravery.

We will be exploring all aspects of our past in the months to come.

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Norfolk Bay Convict Station