A day of Culture

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Oceania » Australia » Tasmania » Hobart
February 15th 2018
Published: February 18th 2018
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Perhaps the oldest licensed premises in Australia

Today we had booked a walking tour of Hobart. Our tour guide, Lisa, gave us a good idea of some of the history surrounding some of the buildings and statues. It started on Hobart waterfront where their is a memorial dedicated to the convicts that were deported to Hobart and provided the majority of manual labour. The memorial lists the names of the first deportees to arrive in Hobart. The U.K. deported some 76,000 people to Hobart over 50 years the scheme operated. The convicts provided a large proportion of the population. Initially they were housed in tents but other shelters and buildings were constructed with the convicts providing most of the labour to achieve this. Over time, the women and children were separated and housed in a building some way away called the Female Factory where they were put to work manufacturing clothing and other useful items. Hobart's waterfront was a lawless place with drunkeness, brawling and murder oommonplace. This situation was not helped by Hobart hosting a large whaling fleet which was the major industry of the time. The men working on these boats were hard, lawless men as the work was extremely hard, dangerous and messy.
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The Post Office. Built when they were very important.

Lisa then went on to point out the first house built in Hobart together with the first licensed public house called variously, Hotel Alexandria and The Whale. This building proudly claims that it is the oldest hotel establishment in Australia and displays a date of 1807, which Lisa is not sure of. The oldest public house claim is hotly disputed by the Sydney authorities who believe that they do. The Post Office is a rather imposing building where it is claimed that Amundsen sent his telegram claim for discovering the South Pole. Lisa then went on to cast doubt as to why certain gentlemen had been honoured with a statue when, in her view, they were not nice people at all and the claims made on the structures were not strictly true. After pointing out the parliament and court buildings, we made our way to St. Davids Park. This park is a pleasant place in the city but started life as a cemetery. It got too small and a new cemetery was constructed out of the centre. The old cemetery then fell into disrepair and was neglected. The local authorities thought it was an eyesore and " rubbled" (
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Wall with original headstones.
her word ) the area to created the park. Some of the headstones were put aside but most were destroyed. An architect working, some time later, on the building next door discovered the headstones all overgrown and built them into a wall. The destruction of the old cemetery was just an example of the authorities trying to "civilise" Hobart. These were men used to making decisions that they felt were right for them and acting on them. One further decision to civilise Hobart after deportation was finished, was to claim that there were no longer any convicts and they could leave a normal life and forget their crimes.

The last statue, that Lisa totally approved of was of Abel Tasman who discovered Tasmania but called it "Van Diemans Land" in honour of his boss who was probably paying him. Lisa believed that they had got it right by renaming the country "Tasmania".

There was more culture to come as the C.O. had got a taste for it now and we marched off to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery who had a big feature on thr Tasmanian Devil who we found out was not a vicious and bad
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Statue of Abel Tasman (the good guy).
tempered predator but a shy and cuddly creature. The C. O. now giving full rein to her creative juices constructed an origami likeness of the Tasmanian devil and presented it to the museum.

The C. O. by now had exhausted her cultural yearnings and craved some retail therapy so went off to the shops. I visited the Maritime Museum and amused myself there for an hour or two.


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