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On tour
Stopping for a beer

Hobart Pub Tour

Thursday, February 20, 2003
There is much history to be enjoyed in Hobart and a fun thing to do is a traditional pub crawl. But this is a pub crawl with a difference.

There is much history to be enjoyed in Hobart and a fun thing to do is a traditional pub crawl. But this is a pub crawl with a difference.

Guides dressed in wharf labourers' outfits from the 1800s tell colourful tales about the pubs visited along the way. They are all around the historic Sullivan's Cove, which includes Salamanca Place with its attractive sandstone Georgian warehouses. Just two blocks from the centre of Hobart you will see Parliament House and Constitution Dock, a place which is very lively at the end of each year's Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Your guide takes you to a spot on the waterfront where he gives a brief and interesting history of Hobart's pub culture during the colonial days. In the 1800s they were not only meeting places where whalers, sailors and convicts could drink, eat and sleep, but were also entertainment venues for boxing and wrestling matches, gambling and cock fights.

By the 1830s there was a pub for every 200 people, but by the 1960s there was one pub for every 1300 people. Quite a contrast.

The Hope and Anchor Hotel, reputed to be Australia's oldest pub, was built in 1807, just three years after Hobart was settled.

Customs' House Hotel was built in 1846 and is particularly famous because of a tunnel stretching from its cellar to Parliament House, which was originally a customs house. There is much speculation about the reason for the tunnel, but no-one is really sure about its true purpose. The hotel end is boarded up and Parliament House doesn't even acknowledge its existence!

Irish Murphy's original clientele in the 1940s included uneducated sailors, whalers and convicts, like most of the other drinking houses in the area at the time. It was most notorious in the 1950s, however, when it was owned and run by Ma Dwyer. Called Ma's Blues House because of the many fights which took place there, it was a popular haunt for criminals as its three back lanes provided speedy escape from police raids.

Knopwood's Retreat, an early 1800s Georgian style pub, is one of the two truly traditional pubs remaining, the other being Irish Murphy's. Its original name was Whaler's Return, but has had numerous others since then.


Hobart, Tasmania's capital city


Hobart Historic Pub Tours operate from Sunday to Thursday at 5pm and cost $19 per person.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Hobart Historic Pub Tour
Ph: (03) 6225 4806
Fax: (03) 6225 4807

Tasmanian Tourism

Qantas: 13 13 13

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