TTTHHHEEE BBBIIICCCEEENNNTTTEEENNNAAARRRYYY OOOFFF SSSEEETTTTTTLLLEEEMMMEEENNNTTT PPPRRROOOJJJEEECCCTTT
- a key point in Hobart and Tasmania
The settlement of the British here is perhaps most poignantly
encapsulated by the well-known colonial painted record of the officers’
tents on the escarpment overlooking the resting ship in the beautiful
little cove. The tents also overlooked the convict accommodation
down hill near the crystal clear rivulet and where the recent Elizabeth
Mall roof now floats. The painting shows both of these strategically
selected surveillance avenues from its viewpoint just east of the islet
now known as Hunter Island. Another perspective is shown from
across the river in the recently purchased Glover painting. This
perspective incorporates the key aspect of the Van Deimens Land
island in its native people. The cove I think they referred to as part of
the stretch of water known as Nibber Loona.
The peg holes of some of the officer tents likely lay lost in the
excavations for the Town Hall and Museum and the gardens of
Franklin Square - thrown aside along with the intrinsics of the
landscape such as grasses, she-oaks and lizards. And the footprints
of the natives. Also thrown aside over the years is the original high-
water line as it runs by the City Hall, Museum, the rear of Town Hall
and through the old HEC building.
The escarpment rising from high water gains height running from the
Museum to somewhere in the HCC Offices as high as Franklin
From here, the Crown's tent site on the escarpment, was a beautiful
outlook - that shallow valley focussed down in the Mall area, the
rivulet, the little islet, and the full sweep around across the river over
a cottageless Battery Point and across the mountain and the Glebe.
Thus was the scene of things after the move from the inlet at Risdon.
We see what is there today in the pretty city - or do we?
Grand old sandstone buildings and strips of tar. Beautiful old convict
brick buildings where once was tidal flats. The downhill run to the
Mall kinda lost to the urban rigid. And views across the rivulet grotto
obscured by a post office and a unique old art deco job. There's a
suffocation of something umbilical here.
For the celebration of Settlement let's breathe some revitalising air
into this tent site.
With will, the revitalisation is manifest in a new urban focus and
new public interior.
Lord Mayor and Premier two years hence stand on the landing of the
stair inside the Town Hall. Backs to the beautiful old Town Hall's
Main Hall they are about to step through a newly built arched space
up to the main floor of the new Settlement Place Interpretation Hall.
This three storey Hall has its main public entrance facing Franklin
Square across a new public plaza that integrates with Franklin
The plaza is called Settlement Place.
The Hall building is 2004 avant-garde and optimally environmentally
sustainable. Solar orientations circulate warmth and light into the
old stone building and the conjoined Carnegie Building. The brown
Marine Board building gone, the outlook from the tea balconies across
the river and to Franklin Square is first class. Centrally at Davey
Street is some sort of ground level interpretation and viewing point
somehow reconstructing the original landscape and indicating the
high-water and tidal flats once below.
This is The Escarpment Point - for the tourists and visitors to identify
and orientate. Maybe an air walk rises following the original
escarpment edge and into the Old Hydro Building to deliver people to
the Cove by lift.
The Escarpment Point has a city presence as a gateway effect for
Davey Street. Some she-oaks and native grass, direct vision to
Mawson Place and access to walking trails. It offers excellent
orientation aspects with regard to all of original shorescape, linking
cbd and docks, historical alignments and Franklin Square.
Settlement Place, intensified by Settlement Hall, converts an awkward
unproductive urban aspect into vital community meaning by its visual
and functional attraction and healing in a highly significant urban
Back in the Hall Rob and Jim are perusing the state-of-the-art
Settlement Interpretation Displays. It is a people's place to
complement the Carnegie spirit. The recently acquired Glover, some
computer generated imagery of the original landforms as would have
been seen from where they stand, a brand new painting of the rivulet
from Franklin Square by a team supporting perhaps Joan Humble,
original documents, the City's Strategic Plan, the State's Consolidate
Tasmania Plan, a rack of newly made wooden hunting spears and
2004 native icons that only the natives could dream.
We will have archival and electronic images, documents and data,
including other new researched artist renditions of the original
outlook from the position of this place - of Van Diemens Land, Bowen
Cove, old Government House (adjacent across Elizabeth Street), the
old foot track to the Secretaries cottage, the excavation of Elizabeth (I
think) and Argyle Streets, bits of original soil and firstly again the
People who were there already. Properly researched archaeological-
artist renditions of the rivulet embankments - the project becomes
richer year by year. A very real and lasting cultural and tourist
experience that is very suited to its urban neighbourhood.
The new glass lift rings, in the same location as the old one,
complementing the old stone, and Hallkeeper Lonergan appears,
drawing a moveable wall to prepare the room to complement the
night's function under the chandeliers in the old Main Hall.
Perhaps too even the old 1960's Town Hall extension remains in part
as some structure for The Settlement Hall.
Sustainable development is a key issue facing the clean green island
and the world at this bicentenary. The Settlement Hall building may
also provide practical work-a-day resource and rationale provided to
the public by the Council in support of its strategic plan and
development objectives. The building itself will be genuine to the
principles and will contribute significantly to sustainable heating and
lighting of the old Town Hall.
Settlement Place, Hobart and Tasmania. A Birthday Present - all
sorts of building work, historical work, public passion and tourism. It
would create enough momentum to fund a tram linking the Cove and
North Hobart and South Hobart. It will foster both the Cove and the
An icon building and public place returning the touch of the original
landscape and relating history for the future.
How much money is there Lord Mayor, Premier and reader? Can any
of this happen? Even just a little bit!
M John Latham
PO Box 54, SORELL 7172