Hobart’s prestige homes with million-dollar views where there were farms and industry a century ago.
West Hobart had open spaces and farmland until much later than other areas of the city
Blair Richards – The Sunday Tasmanian, Sunday February 23, 2014
FEWER than 100 years ago there were farms in the middle of West Hobart.
The transformation of West Hobart from an agricultural and industrial area into prestige suburb is told in Donald Howatson’s latest book on street names.
As a traffic engineer, Mr Howatson has more than a passing interest in streets.
Day to day, he works to make our streets safer and out of hours he enjoys researching their history.
Mr Howatson self- published his first book three years ago, focusing on his home suburb of New Town.
The book was popular, so he went on to publish similar A-Z street name works on North Hobart, South Hobart and Battery Point.
Mr Howatson said the story of West Hobart began in the 1830s with the extension of Goulburn St, but it took off when the tram line was opened.
He said the steep terrain that was now home to houses with million-dollar views was a hindrance to land developers.
“Development was con strained because of the hills. West Hobart had open spaces and farmland until much later than other areas of the city,” he said.
“It was sparse for quite a I while, until the streets were 1 laid out there wasn’t a lot going on. When the tram came in 1914 it really became suburbanised and all the agricultural land was built on. After World War ll they subdivided Knocklofty Tce.”
As a result of its relatively slow development as a residential area, West Hobart boasts a number of parks.
“The idea of having parks came along later. By then all the land had been used up and they had to reclaim land that bad been a quarry or a cemetery,” Mr Howatson said.
Caldew Park, the popular “train park” on the corner of Warwick& Hill streets was a quarry and a tip.
John Doggett skate park on the corner of Hamilton and Browne streets was a limestone quarry and Friends Park on Mellifont St was a Quaker cemetery.