Hobart, Tasmania

Wednesday October 31, 2007 (Day 15)

Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart is the state capital and the most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1803 as a penal colony, it is Australia's second oldest and eleventh largest city, with a metropolitan population of approximately 202,000. The city is the financial and administrative heart of Tasmania, and also serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations. Hobart is Australia's smallest capital city and one of the most picturesque.

The first settlement was started 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 Mouheneer 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.

Since the Derwent River was one of Australia's finest deepwater ports and was the centre of the Southern Ocean whaling and seal trade, Hobart rapidly grew into a major port, with allied industries such as shipbuilding. Hobart Town became a city in 1842, and was renamed Hobart in 1875.

Hobart has a mild temperate oceanic climate, with four distinct seasons. The highest maximum temperature recorded was 40.8C on 4 January 1976 and the lowest minimum was -2.8C on 25 June 1972. Compared to other major Australia cities Hobart has the 2nd least daily average hours of sunshine, with 5.9 hours. Melbourne has the least. The city rarely receives snow in winter, however the adjacent Mount Wellington is often seen with a covering in winter, and has received un-seasonal snowfalls in all seasons including summer.