Sunday, April 13, 2014

][ old friends & old memories \\ hobart, tasmania ][

We had a fantastic weekend last weekend.  Absolutely lurvely.  We popped down to Hobart, a last chance to catch up with the Grumpies (aka grandparents) before they return to Europe.  We also lined up a dinner date with some very old and special friends!  But what I found most interesting, was all the amazing architecture and history.  I grew up in Hobart, and as a teenager very much took these things for granted.  In fact I couldn't wait to get out of the place!  Having lived in such a variety of places since then, I can now appreciate how lovely Hobart really is.
We hadn't been to Hobart in such a long time. We stumbled across this vintage car rally.  I'm not a car person (the other 5 of the Bettie gang are), but I don't mind having a geeze at vintage cars.  I mean look at them, they are amazing.  And once I tired of the cars, I had a chance to take in Parliament House. Building commenced in 1836, and I can't imagine what it would have been like to be one of the convicts laboring on such an exquisite and luxurious building.
We had arranged to meet the Grumpies for fish and chips, down at the waterfront.  Once we had finished lunch we explored the docks.  This was the first place in Tasmania in which I lived.  When I was a kid we sailed around the world in a yacht.  When it was time to give away the seafaring life, my parents settled on Tasmania, and we lived on the boat right here - until we bought a house and did all the same things that other families do!  When we lived here, I thought people who lived in houses were the strange ones, and that everyone walked their shopping home in the shopping trolley.  Who needed a car? I was only 7 when we sailed into Hobart, and having been exposed to such a variety of beautiful ports, cultures and languages Hobart really didn't seem too special to me.  I was more excited about being able to go to school with kids my own age. Have you been to Hobart? Look at the photo's.  What do you think?
Next we headed over to Salamanca Markets.  Salamanca Place is home to sandstone warehouses dating back to the 1830's.  Now housing restaurants, art galleries, boutique shops and cafe's the street is blocked off every Saturday to host the markets.  As a child, after we moved into a house, my Dad (aka Grumpy) opened up an art gallery in Salamanca Place.  We lived out of town, and every Saturday morning I would come to work with Dad so that I could play hockey.  After the game I spent hours people watching, waiting for the gallery to close so that I could go home with Dad.  Salamanca Market has become so big, I wondered whether it would now be full of souvenir stalls, if the apples were still as crunchy and whether the buskers still set the tone.  While there were a fair number of souvenir stalls, and I didn't see any buskers,  there are still some fantastic stalls, and the apples are still the crunchiest around!
The above stall is Dick and Dora.  They have a great online shop.  Check them out!
I loved the layout of Smallshop's stall.  Their website is still under construction, but I will be checking back to see when it is open as they had some beautiful stuff.
Above you can see the start of Kelly's Steps, which link Salamanca Place with Battery Point.  I do remember walking down the sandstone steps many years ago.  Each tread has been worn by 174 years of pedestrian traffic.  If only those stones could talk.

We still had some time to burn before we could check into our accommodation.  As we were parked on the top side of St David's Park, we thought we would give the kids a chance to run around and explore.  St David's Park itself, also has a rich history.  The park was originally the main burial ground in Hobart, and the 1st burial took place way back in 1804. Over the years I went to many a Carol's by Candlelight at St D's.  I don't think I ever took the time to stop and look at any of the tomb stone and head stones which are dotted through out the park.  If you take the time, some of these monuments paint the picture as to what life was like in early Hobart Town.
This one commemorates a 21 year old whaler, who died from the flick of a whale's tale in 1841.  Many people don't realise that Hobart was a major whaling port for the best part of 100 years.  In the mid 1800's Hobart had 34 whaling vessels.  Many people made a lot of money (it was Captain Jame's Kelly who built Kelly's steps) out of whaling, and many were considered very respectable members of society, while others went on to hold positions of government.
Only a few metres away stands this monument.  As you can see from the inscription it remembers Lt David Collins, the first governor of Tasmania.  David Collins selected the site for, and named Hobart Town. Collins had a hard time of it in the 6 years he was here.  He wrote many letters both to London and Sydney, asking for help for his colony.  On several occasions Collin's had to ration supplies, and the colony faced starvation.  It seems ironic, that now 103 years since his death, that the Tasmanian economy is still in such bad shape, and that resources are stretched - just like they were in the early days.    
Many of the head stones have been set in this wall.  Reading the head stones puts a human face on the struggles of colonial life.  I couldn't help but notice the large number of graves for infants and children.  As I watched my own kids playing in the park I felt very very grateful. All 4 of our children have had their struggles, be it asthma or food intolerance's and tummy troubles as babies.  These are considered minor ailments in our society, and are easily treated.  However, had we lived in Hobart Town 150 years ago, not one of my children would have reached early childhood. How lucky we are.
We were also lucky enough to have had a fantastic evening with family and old friends that night.  I don't have any pictures from the evening, as we catered for 10 people.  Once dinner was on the table, we settled in for the night and told stories and remembered fond times.  Photo's were the last thing on my mind!  There's that old cliche of being able to pick up where one left off with good friends.  That was so true that night.
The next morning we met the Grumpies at the Hobart Farmers Markets.  If you ever go there make sure you go to the paella stall.  It. Was. The. Best.  I've been craving paella for the whole week now. Yummola.  After a teary goodbye to the Grumpies from the children we went home.  The long way, in typical fashion!

Do you live in the town you grew up in? Have you been back recently? Have things changed, or have you changed?


  1. What a lovely read. Such interesting stories about Hobart's history. I love Hobart and have really enjoyed each trip I've made there. What a childhood - growing up on a yacht! Must have been amazing. x

    1. Thanks Heike! In hindsight it was really cool. But at the time it seemed normal!

  2. This post makes me want to take a trip to Hobart! We moved to Melbourne 8 years ago and it has always been on my to-do list and seeing all the lovely things you did, has really spurred me on to just do it. And what an amazing childhood it sounds like you had!

    1. Thanks Sarah. It was a lovely weekend! Maybe we can have that BWP sub branch meeting when you come down!!