These canoeists are paddling along the picturesque waters of Emu Bay, an activity that has been savored for millenniums. During the Ice Age (Pleistocene Period) over 30,000 years ago, Aboriginal people (Tommeginne) arrived near Burnie by crossing a shallow lake and land bridge. When these were flooded by the ocean about 10,000 years ago, the event created a 26,000 square mile island separated from Australia’s mainland by 123 miles of water. The passage is called Bass Strait, named after British navigator George Bass. He circumnavigated the island aboard the Tom Thumb in the late 18th century. However, the first European to explore the area was Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642. He named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land as a tribute to Antonio van Diemen, the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies and the financier of the Great South Land exploration. In 1855, it was renamed Tasmania in recognition of Tasman.