Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Hobart is delightful and so are the towns around it

Tasmania is a most attractive State. The approach by air passes over some interesting landscapes and if landing from the south across the sea, you get the chance to see some great beaches. Whilst it does not do so well with marks for “hot aussie sun” or “dry weather” etc with a climate close to being British, it seems even more relaxed and reluctant to get worked up over things than the rest of Australia.

hobartMount Wellington is one of the highest points in Tasmania and there is a winding road built during the 1930s Depression which takes you to its summit (1274m) from wherePinnacle Sign you get a great view of Hobart (founded in the early 1800s), the bay within which it was built, the bridge and all of the surrounding suburbs. You can either stand inside an observatory to admire the view or go out into the bitingly cold wind on an exposed walkway.

Pinnacle Observatory

Either way, on a clear day the view is impressive.

Vista Middle


This view looks directly down on Hobart with the Tamar Bridge to the left and Sandy Bay mid right.

Hobart itself is a delightful city to look at. Having been established in the 1800s, it still has many buildings from

Kelly Street

The above is a sign at the top of Kelly Street which is a set of steps leading down to Salamanca.

City Hall

One of a number of buildings labelled “City Hall”

Old Building

Simply marked as “Offices”


There can hardly be grander, more imposing entrance to a town house any where in Hobart than this

Salamanca 2

Salamanca Place is a row of Georgian Stone warehouses

Salamanca 1

now used as shops and cafes and where the Saturday Market takes place.

Town Hall

Another building labelled City Hall – this seems to have moved around Hobart a bit over the year.

Savings Bank

This old bank is currently a planning controversy in that the red canopies are not allowed under the terms of its preservation listing and the Town Council is seeking to have them removed.

Art Deco-1

Like many cities in Australia (and New Zealand) there are some excellent examples of Art Deco

Art Deco

the old Colonial Mutual Insurance offices

Art Deco 2

The above is the home of the local daily newspaper

There are also some “great” examples from the 1960s.

Hobart got it wrong

This monster was presumably built so that the planners could show how easy it was to build something which can

Art Deco and horrid

easily dominate the skyline and overshadow anything with style built nearby! Regrettably, the above monster is not the only one of its kind an otherwise architecturally interesting CBD.

We are staying in an area called Battery Point (about  20 mins walk from the CBD) which seems to be full of delightful buildings from a number of periods starting from about the 1830s. It was one of the first areas to be settled and

Kings Circle

Arthurs Circle has examples of two room cottages used by the Grison officers at that time.

And in no particular order, a selection of houses from the area:

Baiko House

This could have been the model for the Bayko houses of the 1950s (if you do not know what Bayko means you are obviously too young and need to click here)

  Community Cantre

a church hall now used as the community centre


now an Estate Agent (left) and restaurant (right)

House 1

Verandas were very popular before the advent of air conditioning

House 2 

and come in different shapes


and sizes

Art Deco Hedge

and one house had taken topiary to an extreme by creating an entrance arch (which must be a bit difficult to keep in shape).

Roses 1

To someone who had just arrived from a country going through

Roses 2

the onset of winter, seeing roses in bloom was very strange

Richmond 1

The old Colonial style extends out into the countryside and in Richmond there was this beautifully preserved pub with a large balcony

Richmond 2

an imposing Court House

Richmond 3 

and a row of cottages fronting the main street which require only a little imagination to step back 150 years.

Whilst in central Hobart, we went to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Whilst its website warns you that it is under redevelopment and that many of the Galleries are closed, we were surprised at how little there actually was to see and also at the high quality of what there was to see. The Antarctica gallery portrays the beauty and harshness that we saw in Antarctica very well and there are some exhibits (such as Ice Core samples) which we have not seen elsewhere.

Somewhat surprisingly, there was also a superb display of high quality Roman coins which was not something we had expected to find in a land which was not known to the Romans (although one of their maps showed that they assumed something was at the bottom of the earth because otherwise they thought the earth would topple over if the land mass weight was only at the top). See this link for an explanation.

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