The original inhabitants of the area were the semi-nomadic Mouheneer tribe. Van Diemen’s Land’s first European settlers pitched tent at Risdon Cove on the Derwent’s eastern shore in 1803, but relocated a year later to the site of present-day Hobart.
When Britain’s gaols overflowed with sinners in the 1820s, Hobart’s isolation loomed as a major selling point. Tens of thousands of convicts were chained into rotting hulks and shipped down to Hobart Town to serve their sentences in vile conditions. In the 1850s, Hobart’s sailors, soldiers, whalers and rapscallions boozed and brawled shamelessly in countless harbour-side pubs.
The city has only ever partially sobered up, but today’s criminals are more likely to be white-collared than bad company at the bar. Skeletons rattle in closets, but Hobart’s shimmering beauty and relaxed vibe make it easy to forget they’re there.