Historical Facts

This is the story, the story of Van Diemen's Land (Now Australian Tasmania).

Historical voyage pioneer

Named by European explorers, Abel Tasman, for the large island of Tasmania, Van Diemen’s Land is located off the southern coast of the Australian mainland.

In 1803, a small group of 33 convicts and 16 soldiers and officials first established a small settlement on the Derwent River, and drove hundreds of sheep across the wild and impenetrable forests of north-west Tasmania to carve out an agricultural property, which exists to this day.

Tasmania’s convict past

Historically, almost half of the British convicts who came to Australia came to Van Diemen's Land, where they found a land of bounty and a penal society, a kangaroo economy and a new way of life.

The conditions were extreme, but this vast virgin land was not experienced as a hostile or forbidding place, but rather a comparatively benign refuge from the brutality of servitude. Those convicts were changed by the natural world they encountered. Escaping authority, they soon settled away from the towns, dressing in kangaroo-skin and living off the land. Behind the official attempt to create a Little England was another story of adaptation, in which the poor, the exiled and the criminal made a new home in a strange land.

Royal Honor’s future

The Van Diemen's Land (VDL) Company, as the biggest dairy farming business in Australia, has a long and entrenched place in Tasmanian history.

Originally established by King George IV and Lord Bathurst as a Charter Company in 1824, King George IV signed a parchment document in the following year, granting VDL Company 350,000 hectares of land in the fledging colony that was to become Tasmania.

The Van Diemen's Land Company has thereafter been operated under Royal Charter, to which was attached the King's Great Seal for the next 170 years or so. And VDL’s life begins from this 142,000-hectare tract of land, including a 41,000-hectare parcel named Woolnorth.

Operating on its original royal charter land grant longer than any other company in the world, VDL remains a beautifully preserved national estate property, testament to the enduring legacy of the company in the north-west region.

The VAN Story

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