History of Hobart

History Of Hobart

The modern history of the Australian city of Hobart (formerly 'Hobart Town', or 'Hobarton') in Tasmania dates to its foundation as a British colony in 1803. Prior to British settlement, the area had been occupied for at least 8,000 years, but possibly for as long as 35,000 years, by the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe, a sub-group of the Nuennone, or South-East tribe. The descendants of the indigenous Tasmanians now refer to themselves as 'Palawa'.

Little is known about the region from prehistoric times. As with many other Australia cities, urbanisation has destroyed much of the archaeological evidence of indigenous occupation, although Aboriginal middens are often still present in coastal areas.

The first European settlement in the Hobart area began in 1803 as a penal colony and defensive outpost at Risdon Cove on the eastern shores of the Derwent River, amid British concerns over the presence of French explorers in the South Pacific. In 1804 it was moved to a better location at the present site of Hobart at Sullivans Cove, making it the second oldest city in Australia.

The convict past haunted the city for decades, and Hobart's prominent Georgian architecture of the era served as a constant reminder of the 'social stain' some of its citizens feared they could never erase. Gradually this unpromising beginning was transformed into a quiet, conservative, strongly class-conscious society. However, many of the former convicts proved to be hard-working and enterprising, establishing businesses and families that still play a prominent role in Tasmanian society.

Since that time, the city has grown from what was approximately one square mile around the mouth of Sullivans Cove to stretch in a generally north-south direction along both banks of the Derwent River, from 22 km inland from the estuary at Storm Bay to the point where the river reverts to fresh water at Bridgewater. The city sits on low-lying hills at the eastern foot of Mount Wellington.

From the foundation of the settlement, Hobart has remained the administrative centre of Tasmania, and from the time that Tasmania was granted responsible self-government in 1856 it has been the capital city of Tasmania.

Hobart's growth has been slow due to its geographic isolation, and the city has experienced extreme economic boom and bust periods throughout its history. The city grew from being a defensive outpost and penal colony to become a world centre of whaling and ship-building, only to suffer a major economic and population decline in the late 19th century.

The early 20th century saw another period of growth on the back of mining, agriculture and other primary industries, but the world wars had a very negative effect on Hobart, with a severe loss of working age men. Like most of Australia, the post-war years saw an influx of new migrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, such as Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and Poland.

In the later years of the 20th century, migrants increasingly arrived to settle in Hobart from Asia. Despite the rise in migration from parts of the world other than the United Kingdom and Ireland, the population of Hobart remains predominantly ethnically Anglo-Celtic, and has the highest percentage per capita of Australian born residents of all the Australian capital cities.

Hobart is a major deep-water port for Southern Ocean shipping, and the last port of call for Australian Antarctic Division and French expeditions to Antarctica. Hobart is also a popular port of call for naval vessels from many countries due to the deep harbour of the Derwent River. US Navy vessels often stop for shore leave when returning to the United States from the Middle East.

Hobart is a city defined by its geographical position, history and heritage. Classical examples of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture abound throughout the city, and along with more recently built forms, these buildings define Hobart's character as a city.

Hobart has experienced a boom in tourism, and the low cost of living and relaxed way of life have attracted mainland Australians and new migrants to move to the city. Although Hobart has experienced a much slower rate of growth than mainland Australian cities, particularly during the 20th century, Hobart has a stable population, a reasonably strong economy, a clean environment, a healthy sports, arts and culture scene, and is home to a stable local and state administration.

Read more about History Of Hobart:  Etymology, Geography, Prehistory, European Exploration, 1803 British Settlement, Penal Colony, Early 19th Century, Mid-19th Century, Late 19th Century, Early 20th Century, Late 20th Century, 21st Century, Population, Historical Places of Note in Hobart

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