Bass Strait

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Bass Strait (pronounced /ˈbæs/) is a sea strait separating Tasmania from the south of the Australian mainland, specifically the state of Victoria.



The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Bass Strait as follows:[1]

On the West. The Eastern limit of the Great Australian Bight [A line from Cape Otway, Australia, to King Island and thence to Cape Grim, the Northwest extreme of Tasmania].

On the East. The Western limit of the Tasman Sea between Gabo Island and Eddystone Point [A line from Gabo Island (near Cape Howe, 37°30'S) to the Northeast point of East Sister Island (148°E) thence along the 148th meridian to Flinders Island; beyond this Island a line running to the Eastward of the Vansittart Shoals to [Cape] Barren Island, and from Cape Barren (the Easternmost point of [Cape] Barren Island) to Eddystone Point (41°S) in Tasmania].

Discovery and exploration

The strait was named after George Bass after he and Matthew Flinders passed through it while circumnavigating Van Diemen's Land (now named Tasmania) in the Norfolk in 1798–99. At Flinders' recommendation the Governor of New South Wales, John Hunter, in 1800 named the stretch of water between the mainland and Van Diemen's Land "Basses Strait".[2] Later it became known as Bass Strait.

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