City (pop., 2006: city, 47,701; urban agglom., 200,524), chief port, and capital, Tasmania, Australia. Located on the Derwent River estuary at the base of Mount Wellington, Hobart is Tasmania's largest and Australia's most southerly city. Established in 1803, it moved to its present site in 1804 and became a major port for ships whaling in the southern oceans. Its lack of natural resources limited its development. It now has a deepwater port, rail lines, and an airport, making it a centre of communications, trade, and tourism. The city is the site of Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals and the first Jewish synagogue in Australia (built 1843–45).
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Hobart is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1803 as a penal colony, it is one of Australia's oldest cities and the eleventh most populous, with a greater area population of approximately 205,566 in 2006. The city is the financial and administrative heart of Tasmania, and also serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations.
The first settlement began in 1803 as a penal colony at Risdon Cove on the eastern shores of the Derwent River, amid British concerns over the presence of French explorers. In 1804 it was moved to a better location at the present site of Hobart at Sullivan's Cove. The city, initially known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, was named after Lord Hobart, the Colonial Secretary. The area's original inhabitants were members of the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe. A series of bloody encounters with the Europeans and the effects of diseases brought by the settlers forced away the aboriginal population, which was rapidly replaced by free settlers and the convict population. Charles Darwin visited Hobart Town in February, 1836 as part of the Beagle expedition. He writes of Hobart and the Derwent estuary in his Voyage of the Beagle:
...The lower parts of the hills which skirt the bay are cleared; and the bright yellow fields of corn, and dark green ones of potatoes, appear very luxuriant... I was chiefly struck with the comparative fewness of the large houses, either built or building. Hobart Town, from the census of 1835, contained 13,826 inhabitants, and the whole of Tasmania 36,505.
But since the Derwent River was one of Australia's finest deepwater ports and was the centre of the Southern Ocean whaling and the sealing trade, it rapidly grew into a major port, with allied industries such as shipbuilding. Hobart Town became a city on 21 August 1842, and was renamed Hobart in 1875.
Hobart is located on the estuary of the Derwent River in the state's south-east at . The central business district is located on the western shore, adjacent to Sullivan's Cove, with the inner suburbs spread out along the shores of the Derwent and climbing up the hills at the foot of Mount Wellington. The Port of Hobart occupies the whole of the original Sullivan's Cove.
The Greater Hobart Metropolitan area consists of three self-governing cities, City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy and City of Clarence, plus the urbanised areas of the Municipality of Kingborough and Municipality of Brighton. The suburban areas cover a significant amount of both the western and eastern sides of the river. Apart from the city, the main commercial centres are Glenorchy (the northern suburbs) and Rosny Park (the eastern shore). The satellite town Kingston, south of the city, is fast becoming an outlying suburb of Hobart. Other surrounding towns such as Sorell, Margate, Brighton and New Norfolk are popular residential areas for commuters. See also List of Hobart suburbs
Most common occupations are Professionals 21.6%, Clerical and Administrative Workers 16.1%, Technicians and Trades Workers 13.8%, Managers 11.5% and Community and Personal Service Workers 10.6%. Median weekly household income was $869, compared with $1,027 nationally.
In the 2006 census, 63.8% of residents specified a Christian religion. Major religious affiliations are Anglican 29.8%, Catholic 21.1%, Uniting Church 4.2% and Presbyterian and Reformed 2.0%. In addition, 21.6% specified "No Religion" and 12.0% did not answer.
The city also supports several other industries, including a high-speed catamaran factory Incat and a zinc smelter operated by Nyrstar, as well as a vibrant tourist industry. Visitors come to the city to explore its historic inner suburbs, to visit the weekly craft market in Salamanca Place, as well as to use the city as a base from which to explore the rest of Tasmania.
Other notable businesses in the area include the Cadbury chocolate factory and the Cascade Brewery located in South Hobart near the natural spring waters of Mount Wellington. The Hobart surrounding area has many vineyards, including Moorilla Estate at Berriedale.
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is a popular recreation area a short distance from the City centre. It is the second-oldest Botanic Gardens in Australia and holds extensive significant plant collections as well as built heritage.
Mount Wellington, accessible by passing through Fern Tree, is the dominant feature of Hobart's skyline, indeed many descriptions of Hobart have used the phrase "nestled amidst the foothills", so undulating is the geographical landscape. At 1,271 metres, the mountain has its own ecosystems, is rich in biodiversity and plays a large part in determining the local weather. An attempt to construct a cable car from the Cascade Brewery to the summit in the early 1990s was met with vocal disparagement, indicating just how important Hobartians consider "The Mountain".
The Tasman Bridge is also a uniquely important feature of the city, connecting the two shores of Hobart and visible from many locations.
Hobart is the finish point of the Targa Tasmania rally car event held annually in April since 1991.
The Australian Wooden Boat Festival is a bi-annual event held in Hobart celebrating wooden boats. It is held concurrently with the Royal Hobart Regatta, which began in 1830 and is therefore Tasmania's oldest sporting event.
Hobart also hosts the bulk of the 10 Days on the Island festival, a biannual international arts festival.
Australia's first legal casino was the 17-storey Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Sandy Bay, opened in 1973. It is still the tallest building in the city, despite being several kilometres out of the CBD, and is a nationally recognised icon.
The Hobart nightlife primarily revolves around Salamanca Place, the waterfront area and Elizabeth St in North Hobart, but popular pubs, bars and nightclubs exist around the city as well. Major national and international music events are usually held at the Derwent Entertainment Centre, or the Casino.
Popular restaurant strips include Elizabeth Street in North Hobart, and Salamanca Place near the waterfront. These include a large number of ethnic restaurants including Chinese, Thai, Greek, Italian, Indian and Mexican.
Hobart is home to Australia's oldest theatre, the Theatre Royal. It also has three Village Cinema complexes, one each in the city, Glenorchy and Rosny. The State Cinema in North Hobart specializes in arthouse and foreign films.
Hobart is home to the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, which is resident at the Federation Concert Hall on the city's waterfront. It offers a year-round program of concerts and is thought to be one of the finest small orchestras in the world.
Hobart also plays host to the University of Tasmania's acclaimed Australian International Summer Orchestra Institute (AISOI) which brings pre-professional advanced young musicians to town from all over Australia and internationally. The AISOI plays host to a public concert season during the first two weeks of December every year focusing on large symphonic music. Like the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the AISOI uses the Federation Concert Hall as its performing base.
Hobart has also long been home to a thriving classical, jazz, folk, punk, hip-hop, electro, metal and rock music scene. Nationally recognised musicians such as singer/songwriters Michael Noga (of The Drones), two thirds of indie rock band Love Of Diagrams, Tim Evans (of bands Sea Scouts, Mouth and Bird Blobs), Monique Brumby, blues guitarist Phil Manning (of blues-rock band Chain), power-pop group The Innocents and metal band Psycroptic are all successful expatriates. In addition, founding member of Violent Femmes, Brian Ritchie, now calls Hobart home, and has formed a local band, The Green Mist.
Several festivals such as the Hobart Fringe Festival, Hobart Summer Festival, Southern Roots Festival, Ten Days On The Island and the Falls Festival in Marion Bay all capitalise on the Hobart's artistic communities.
Six free-to-air television channels service Hobart. Commercial television channels are provided by Southern Cross Tasmania, Tasmanian Digital Television (TDT) and WIN Television. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation provides ABC1 and ABC2. Multicultural broadcaster SBS provides SBS Television.
Until 1986, television broadcasts in the city were restricted to two channels: TVT-6 and the ABC. In 1986, SBS began transmission to the city. In 1994 market aggregation allowed Launceston based station TNT-9 (now Southern Cross Tasmania) to broadcast to Hobart as well. TVT-6 (since known as TasTV, now WIN Television) took on a Nine Network affiliation, with Southern Cross carrying both Seven and Ten programming. All stations commenced digital broadcasting during 2003, and in December 2003, a fifth station, TDT, began broadcasting. TDT is a joint venture between Southern Cross and WIN. In March 2005, ABC2 came on-line.
Commercial radio stations licensed to cover the Hobart market include 7HO FM, Sea FM and Heart 107.3. Local community radio stations include Christian radio station Ultra106five, youth station Edge Radio and 92FM which targets the wider community with specialist programmes. All five ABC radio networks broadcast to Hobart via 936 ABC Hobart, Radio National, Triple J, Newsradio and ABC Classic FM.
Due to Tasmania's widely distributed population, most Hobart sporting teams in national competitions are statewide teams rather than exclusively city teams. These include the Tasmanian Tigers cricket team, which plays home games at Bellerive Oval on the eastern shore. Current Australian Cricket Captain Ricky Ponting's Home Ground is Hobart, even though he was born in Launceston. Despite Australian rules football's huge popularity in the state, Tasmania does not have a team in the Australian Football League. It does, though, have a team (the Tasmanian Devils) in the VFL (Victorian league), and a team in the national league is a popular topic among supporters as well as the state government (one of the potential sponsors of such a team). Some AFL teams play scheduled games at Aurora Stadium (at York Park in Launceston) and occasionally at North Hobart Oval.
Tasmania's small population and low sponsorship potential results in the state not being represented in national, rugby union, rugby league, netball, soccer and basketball leagues; although the Oasis Hobart Chargers do represent Hobart in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL). Also, there are bids lobbying for Tasmania to receive teams in the AFL and in the A-League.
With boat registrations reportedly doubling in recent years, many residents follow the strong maritime history of the Island State by participating in a range of water sports including sailing and fishing.
Hobart is home to the main campus of the University of Tasmania, situated in Sandy Bay. On-site accommodation colleges include Christ College, Jane Franklin Hall and St John Fisher College. Other campuses are in Launceston and Burnie.
Senior secondary colleges in the Hobart area include Hobart College, at the top of Mount Nelson just south of the city; inner-city Elizabeth College and St Michael's Collegiate School; The Friends' School in North Hobart; St Mary's College and Guilford Young College in North Hobart; The Hutchins School and Fahan School in Sandy Bay; Rosny College at Rosny on the eastern shore; and Claremont College at Claremont in the northern suburbs. Some of these colleges also function as community colleges, open to students outside the formal secondary school system. Many of these colleges are not exclusively colleges as they also provide primary and high school education.
Like many large cities, Hobart once operated passenger tram services, a Trolleybus network consisting of six routes which operated until 1968. However, the tramway closed in the early 1960s. Suburban passenger trains, run by the Tasmanian Government Railways, closed in 1974 and the intrastate passenger service, the Tasman Limited, ceased in 1979.