The Mouheneer band of Tasmanian Aborigines used this area as a camping site rich in fish and shellfish, animals and plants. (Carbon dated middens suggest aboriginal use goes back 5,000 years.) With the arrival of the Europeans the aborigines were driven off the land and the town of Hobart was founded in Sullivans Cove in 1803.
From these docks, Hobart made its name as one of the world’s great whaling ports. More than 65,000 convicts stepped ashore at Old Wharf, murderers were hanged from gallows, sailors and smugglers brawled in the back lanes and merchants made their fortunes by fair means or foul. In the 1900’s, apples and jam were processed here and Tasmania came to be internationally known as “The Apple Isle”.
The waterfront has always been the cultural heart of Hobart and the centre of Tasmanian life. Today, the vibrant, tangible history of this place mixes with a rich, authentic creative spirit, a world-renowned contemporary arts scene and a welcoming community of immense diversity.
These same buildings once housed equally vibrant but very different communities of people and activities.
Acknowledgment: Dr. David Young, ‘The Peacock Warehouses; a building-by-building history’, 2000.