Read about the city
Tasmania is Australia's southern natural gem with its large temperate rainforests, plenty of wildlife in true wilderness and new picturesque panoramas around every turn on the road in the center of Hobart and around the well-located city all over Tasmania.
For the historically interested, Tasmania offers a wide range of cities from the early British settlements; the island's two largest cities, Hobart and Launceston, are, for example, the country's second and third oldest towns, but also the many nice villages are worth a visit.
Hobart is the capital of the island state and the largest city. Historic buildings, green parks, shopping centers, markets as well as gastronomic experiences await everywhere in the city, whose immediate surroundings include the 1,270 meter/4,167 feet high mountain, Mount Wellington, whales in the Southern Ocean and the penal colony of Port Arthur.
In Hobart, you can experience distinguished residential areas from the 19th century, and in many cities on the road between Hobart and Launceston the street scenes are almost as originally constructed. It cannot be experienced at the same intensity elsewhere in Australia.
- Victoria Dock : The Victoria Dock harbor was built in 1840 at Queen Victoria's behest. It was intended for Hobart's fishermen, and the large and sparse fishing fleet continues to moor here.
- Constitution Dock : Constitution Dock is known to be the place of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, where the 630 nautical miles start in Sydney on December 26.
- St. David's Park : St. David's Park is a formally landscaped park that used to be the city's first cemetery. It was rearranged into a park in 1926, and on this occasion many of the early tombstones were retained and built into new facilities; eg a round wall.
- St. Mary’s Cathedral : St. Mary’s Cathedral is a cathedral in the Archdiocese of Hobart for the Roman Catholic Church. The cathedral dates back to 1860-1866. The architectural style of the cathedral is Gothic, and in the building you can see many characteristic features of this style.
- Cascade Brewery : The Cascade Brewery is Australia's oldest brewery; it was established in 1824. The brewery produces beer, cider and juice, and the labels show a picture of the Tasmanian tiger. The brewery is very picturesquely located in the outskirts of Hobart with the mountains in the background. Tours are arranged here and you can also taste the products in the visitor center.
- Maritime Museum of Tasmania : As an island community, Tasmania has always been active in shipping, and in this museum in Hobart you can see the rich maritime history described.
- Mount Nelson : Mount Nelson is one of the hills around Hobart and, as from several places, there is a great view of the city and the area around the Derwent River.
- Elizabeth Street Pier : The pier Elizabeth Street Pier is the only one preserved by Hobart's many harbor piers from the time when there was a bustle in the inner harbor with fishing, freight and ships coming in by sea.
- Elizabeth Street Mall : Elizabeth Street is one of Hobart's main streets, and centrally located you find the Elizabeth Street Mall pedestrian street between Collins Street and Liverpool Street.
- Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens : Hobart's Botanical Gardens was established in 1818 and covers an area of 14 hectares/35 acres. There are many different spots in the garden that naturally contain a large selection of Tasmanian flora.
[expand title="Read about city history" id="historie2" swaptitle="Hide content"]
European Discovery and Landing
Tasmania's European history began on November 24, 1642, when Dutch explorer Abel Tasman spotted the land now known as Tasmania. Abel Tasman named the new country Anthoonij van Diemenslandt (Van Diemens Land) after the Dutch general governor of Dutch India, Anthonie van Diemen.
However, it took many years for Europeans to land on the island. A French expedition went ashore in 1772, and among several other explorers over the years English James Cook sailed here in 1777.
In 1798, George Bass and Matthew Flinders determined that Van Diemen's Land was separate from the mainland where the New South Wales colony was established. The fact that the British claim on the east coast of Australia did not include Van Diemen's Land, which was the subject of increased French interest in what the British thought could be a competing colony.
By this time, some thousands Aborigines are believed to have lived in eight different tribal groups. During the first European landings on the island, the Aborigines welcomed visitors, but following the permanent settlements, tensions between the two populations increased. The weapons and efficiency of Europeans quickly did away with the majority of Aborigines. In 1831 there were a few hundred left, in 1847 44, and in 1876 Truganini, who became the last full-blood Aboriginal from Tasmania, died.
Settlement in Tasmania
The first European settlement occurred in 1803, when New South Wales Governor Philip Gidley King would not risk a French base and colony on Van Diemen's Land. That was why he sent 23-year-old Lieutenant John Bowen and crew on board the HMS Albion. Bowen established a settlement at Risdon Cove, north of present-day Hobart, and after that Britain claimed all of Van Diemen's Land.
Bowen had been sent off on Governor King's own initiative; he did not dare to wait for London approvals, which however approved the settlement of the new land. An official settlement expedition was sent with Captain David Collins in the lead. Collins came to Sullivan's Cove, the center of present-day Hobart, on February 16, 1804. Here the town was to be located, with easier access to fresh water and less tides than at Risdon Cove, which was abandoned. The new place became Australia's second city. Collins' settlement was called Hobart Town and Hobarton, named after the British colonial minister of that time, Lord Hobart.
The first settlers of Tasmania, then called Van Diemen's Land, were mainly prisoners and their guards. Their task, at the same time as to get their prison sentence, was to help establish agriculture and industry. Thus, in the first 50 years, 75,000 prisoners were sent to Tasmania. Several prison camps were set up; the best known are Port Arthur and Sarah Island, but in many places on the island there were prisoners. In Hobart Town there was also a special women's prison. However, the vast majority of prisoners were not interned in prisons, but on the other hand worked on various construction works such as the Sorell Causeway dam.
In 1825, Van Diemen's Land was separated as an independent colony, and it no longer belonged to the New South Wales colony on the Australian mainland. In 1856, the colony achieved a form of self-government with its own parliament, and on that occasion the colony changed its name to Tasmania, named after Abel Tasman.
Hobart Town was from the beginning in 1804 the colony's capital, although other early settlements such as Launceston also saw its beginnings in 1804. Hobart Town's location as the perfect haven for lucrative fishing was one of the reasons for the dominance of this place. At the census of 1835, 13,826 of the colony's total 36,505 inhabitants lived in Hobart Town.
However, the start had not been easy. Hobart Town and Van Diemen's Land were far from the rest of the British Empire, supplies were not stable, labor was uneducated, and attacks from the island's Aborigine inhabitants were often at risk. However, Hobart Town grew and in 1842 it was recognized as a city. By the increased autonomy of 1856, the city became the capital of the colony, and in 1875 it was given its present name, Hobart.
Hobart's isolated location from many parts of the world, including from the remaining Australia, has contributed to the fact that, despite growth, the city has not experienced the same rapid development as, for example, Melbourne and Sydney. Throughout the 19th century, some of the major industries were whaling and shipbuilding. From 1891 Henry Jones' jam factory was also a major employer, exporting from Hobart to the British Empire.
The growing trade of the mid-1800s created an almost constant pressure on the port of Hobart, which had to be expanded several times with new basins, quays and warehouse buildings. In addition, following the city's status as a capital, a number of administrative buildings were constructed, and the many buildings brought renewed growth after a few years in which the gold finds in the colony of Victoria had been a draw of people, also of Tasmanian labor.
New suburbs arose; including the wealthy neighborhoods of Battery Point and Sandy Bay as well as several others. Public transportation was widely thought to get people around town, and in 1893 the city's first tram ran on one of the southern hemisphere's first electric tram networks.
Hobart in the 20th Century
After an economic downturn in the 1890s, growth reappeared in Hobart from the early 1900s. The port was expanding again, and new large buildings such as the main post office and the customs office were built. It was also during these years that Tasmania's hydropower began. Inspired by Germany's use of hydropower in the Ruhr area, facilities were built in Tasmania. The desire of politicians was to attract industries with access to cheaper power than many other places, and some did establish factories here; such as Cadburys with a chocolate factory in 1920. Agriculture and fisheries, however, played a major role in the state's economy.
As far back as the 1900s, the town was only located on the western bank of the Derwent River, but by 1832 the first plan for a bridge over the broad river was proposed. In 1943, the Hobart Bridge pontoon opened, and the city suddenly developed into new easily accessible areas to the east. Development was strong, and in the 1950s the pressure on Hobart Bridge was so great that a new and larger bridge was planned. The Tasman Bridge opened after four years of construction in 1964 and created a connection between the boroughs, which could handle the large volumes of traffic that tourism also made use of.
Tourism and today's Hobart
In 1956, Hobart's airport opened, and a few years later the Princess Ferry of Tasmania car ferry was launched as the first of a new series of ferries between Tasmania's Devonport and Melbourne on the Australian mainland. Capacity was greatly increased and access to and from the island state eased a lot. Tourism boomed, and as a result of the focus in this field, Australia's first casino opened here in 1973.
Today, Hobart remains an important fishing port, and it is also the supply port for Australia's and other countries' scientific voyages to Antarctica. Tourism has also continued its growth in recent years, and with its long history on a European-Australian scale, there is much heritage to experience. The city has in recent years also invested heavily in culture, where today there is a varied range of activities to enjoy.
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