Take a Battery Point Walking Tour
Battery Point: The History Lesson
With houses built for early-Hobart workers and merchants of the port, Battery Point retains its heritage character. The narrow streets are lined with Georgian cottages (camera at the ready!!) and the compact size of the village makes it perfect for a leisurely stroll. I must point out though: some of the hills behind Salamanca are a little steep. But if I can do it, that means pretty much anyone can!
The website of Hobart City Council gives you access to details for several walks around the city, one of them being for Historic Battery Point. I printed out a copy of their map and instructions to take with me on my walk, and I did try to follow them. I’m just not good with directions!
So having abandoned the set plan, I now present to you my version of the highlights…
My first visit to Battery Point was combined with a trip to the Salamanca Market on a Saturday, so my entry into Battery Point was via Kelly’s Steps. Steep and constructed of sandstone, the stairs lead to Kelly Street. They have an inscription stone dated 1840 with the initials JK, referring to Captian James Kelly. With Thomas Birch, James Kelly circumnavigated Tasmania (then Van Diemen’s Land) in a whale boat and discovered Port Davey and Macquarie Harbour.
Captain Kelly was a dominant figure in seafaring and port activities during the formative years of Hobart. He made his living from whaling and sealing and in one outing was responsible for capturing five whales in the River Derwent. No wonder the poor coastal creatures took flight, and have only just returned after an almost 200-year absence!!
Located at the top of Runnymede Street, Arthur Circus is a circular collection of Georgian cottages built around 1850. In the centre is the village green with a set of swings – a place for the kids to play while you take some happy snaps of the cute houses (which are actually still private homes).
The village circle was named in honour of Sir George Arthur (Governor of Tasmania 1824-1836), who purchased the land in 1929. The park’s signage indicates that when the building blocks were subsequently sold, they were advertised as having resort potential.
Hampden Road, Battery Point
If you are interested in a more in-depth history experience, Narryna is located at 103 Hampden Road, Battery Point. An example of one of the grand homes built in Hobart during the 1830’s and now operating as a heritage centre, Narryna was home to a sea captain and showcases the lifestyle of the wealthy during Hobart’s early years.
Hampden Road runs through the centre of Battery Point. The residential area is a combination of early workers cottages built from handmade bricks and grand sandstone homes. Now also home to fine-dining establishments, antique stores and the popular Jackman & McRoss Bakery, there are several good reasons to wander along this way.
If all the wandering has you building up a thirst, the Shipwright’s Arms Hotel is at 29 Trumpeter Street in Battery Point. They bill themselves as…
“A traditional old English corner pub filled with history, tradition and pride” .
They have been operating as the “Shippies” since 1846 and they do have a collection of Tasmanian maritime memorabilia, so I guess that makes them entitled to the claim.
In these times of promoting modern cuisine and slick dining areas, I thought the following blurb from their website was pretty funny:
No Pokies • No TAB • No Tofu • No Keno
No Pool Table • No Live Music • No Bok Choy
Battery Point: The Chocolate Reward
Personally, drinking is not the reward of choice for a stroll around Battery Point (not that it’s punishing at all). Yep, you guessed it – chocolate is the go for me.
I came across a great little milk bar in Hampden Road that offered more chocolate and lollies than milk. (Yes!) The shop assistant was kind enough to check the ingredients in a sorbet ice-cream cone before I bought one for my son, so he gets bonus marks for that.
Back to where I started: Salamanca. The famous Saturday market has stalls running between Salamanca Place and Castray Esplanade on Sullivans Cove – which is a lovely place for a wander in its own right. Having more choices of yummy local treats, I settled on a little rocky-road number from a gorgeous lady dressed in pink.
If you happen to head to Hobart between Sunday and Friday, don’t fret about missing the chocolate boat. The permanent shops in the converted sandstone factory buildings include a gourmet chocolate shop that sells treats for kids of all ages.
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