City of Clarence - Etymology


The City of Clarence is named indirectly after King William IV of the United Kingdom. From 1789 until 1830, when he ascended the throne, he was titled His Royal Highness The Duke of Clarence and St Andrews. It was during this period that the British settlement of Hobart was founded in 1803.

Prior to the establishment of the British colony there, Captain John Hayes of the East India Company had sailed up the Derwent River, with the vessels Duke of Clarence and the Duchess of Bengal in 1793. Relieved at making landfall following an arduous crossing of the Indian Ocean, Hayes named the region around Rokeby as 'Clarence Plains', in honour of the vessel having delivered them safely to a sanctuary. The vessel in turn, had been initially named in honour of the then future King. Almost immediately following the exploration of the region following the settlement of Hobart in 1803, Hayes name of 'Clarence Plains' fell into common use.

For over half a century, this was the name of the entire eastern shore of the Derwent River south of the Meehan Range. When it was first incorporated as a municipality in 1860, the region became referred to as the 'Municipality of Clarence'. This was to remain the name of the region until 1988, when Clarence was officially declared a city, and the name changed to the 'City of Clarence'. It is not usual for Clarence residents to be referred to by a gentilic, and if so they are usually given the title Hobartians along with all other residents of Greater Hobart, however locally they are usually identified as being 'from the eastern shore'.

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