‘Georgian Hobart’: Meeting History Face to Face

Status: limited

12 Jan – 16 Jan 2022


‘Georgian Hobart’: Meeting History Face to Face
Tour Highlights

  • Join literary expert Susannah Fullerton, for 5 days with talks and sites associated with Georgian Hobart.
  • By special appointment visit the Allport Library & Museum which holds a collection of significant Tasmanian paintings of the Georgian era including works by John Glover, and Lauren Black, one of Australia’s most accomplished botanical illustrators.
  • In Richmond learn about Tasmania’s past from historian Henry Reynolds, author of numerous books including The Other Side of the Frontier (1982) which won the Ernest Scott Prize.
  • Visit Cilwen House, a privately owned Georgian masterpiece dating from 1835, set within architecturally landscaped gardens.
  • Spend a day on Bruny Island and take a 3-hour wilderness cruise featuring some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs and abundant coastal wildlife, including seals, dolphins, whales and seabirds.
  • Enjoy Hobart’s fine restaurants and wineries. We conclude with a farewell dinner and concert by Jennifer Marten-Smith at historic Epsom House.

In September, 1803, the ‘Lady Nelson’ supply ship reached Tasmania and established a British presence in a land that had been occupied for thousands of years by the Aboriginal people. Before long, the handsome city of Hobart had developed, and today this city has some of the best-preserved Georgian buildings in Australia.

This mini-tour offers talks and visits connected with Georgian Hobart. Explore quaint Battery Point on a guided walk, learn about the charming village of Richmond, and look around the historic, scenic and tragic Port Arthur. You will visit gracious Georgian homes and see some of the art of the era. There will be illustrated talks placing Hobart’s beginnings into their literary and historical contexts, and a fascinating look at those convicts who turned into authors.  Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on his one and only visit to Tasmania in 1836, learn how he nearly died there, and see where he probably spent his 27th birthday. How did Marcus Clarke depict Tasmania in his Australian classic For the Term of His Natural Life, and in which places did he set his scenes?

The early settlers dined on salt-beef or convict rations, and were often in danger of starvation. See how far the Tasmanian food and wine industry has come in two hundred years, and sample some of its delights as we tour Hobart and surrounds.

In the Georgian age Tasmania formed an ideal prison, with its rugged ocean cliffs, mountain ranges, and the need for boats if escape was planned. This tour will include a variety of landscapes – Salamanca Place where trade and ship-building went on, the gentle countryside around Richmond where convicts grew wheat, the dramatic seascapes and wildlife of Bruny Island (where the recent novel Bruny by Heather Rose was set), and the elegant town and country homes of the wealthier Georgian settlers. View Australia’s southernmost state capital through the lens of history! There will be lectures, visiting authors and guides, a local bookshop, a concert of music from the era, memorable meals, and special excursions.

In Hobart you can truly meet history ‘face to face’. Be transported to one of the great eras of British history through the visits, talks and experiences of this exciting new tour with popular tour guide and lecturer Susannah Fullerton.

“I am always building veritable castles in the air about emigrating, and Tasmania has been my headquarters of late.” – Charles Darwin.



The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary, together with their tour documents, prior to departure. The tour includes meals indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner.

Hobart – 5 days

Day 1: Wednesday 12 January: Arrive Hobart
  • Morning at leisure
  • Walking tour of Battery Point
  • Narryna: The Merchants House – guided tour with Scott Carlin incl. exhibition on Louisa Anne Meredith & afternoon tea
  • Fullers Bookshop: talk with Dr Alison Alexander
  • Welcome Meal at The Glass House

Meeting Point: Foyer of the Lenna of Hobart Hotel at 1.00pm.

Tour participants will make their way to Lenna of Hobart Hotel, a 19th-century sandstone mansion in the historic area of Battery Point and a short stroll from the Georgian warehouses of Salamanca Place. Our tour begins from there.

Behind Princes Wharf and Salamanca Place is the old port area of Battery Point, the historic core of Hobart. Its name comes from the gun battery that stood on the promontory. Its old homes, pubs, churches and narrow streets have been lovingly preserved. At its heart is Arthur’s Circus, a ring of old cottages surrounding a village Green. When Charles Darwin celebrated his 27th birthday at Battery Point, in a house called ‘Secheron’, he must have felt quite at home in such an English atmosphere. He was also hosted by Alfred Stephen at ‘Stephenville’ and was impressed by the elegance, the dinner, and the concert with which he was entertained. We will enjoy a guided orientation walk through this historic and charming district.

The 1830s merchant’s house of Narryna was built by Captain Andrew Haig, whose trade had been licensed by the East India Company. He built the first warehouses of Salamanca Place, and set up business as a shipbuilder, whaler and merchant. Narryna is a fine sandstone mansion which, after Haig’s time, had an intriguing history as home to distinguished citizens, then as a hospital, and now as a museum. Our tour of Narryna will be led by Scott Carlin, TMAG’s Director of House Museums. The house has a rich collection of decorative arts, portraits, textiles, scrimshaw (decoration on bone or ivory), furniture, and an extremely impressive dress collection.

Louisa Anne Meredith (1812 – 1895) was born and educated in England, where she published volumes of poetry, but in 1839 she and her husband Charles arrived in Australia. In 1840, after financial losses, they moved to Tasmania, and Louisa’s account of her time there was published as My Home in Tasmania in 1852. Louisa took a keen interest in flora and fauna and encouraged her politician husband to legislate to preserve local wildlife and scenery. She was also a talented artist and illustrated her own works. Her Tasmanian Friends and Foes: Feathered, Furred and Finned (1880) was popular in Australia and overseas. Narryna will be holding a special exhibition on Louisa Anne Meredith’s work, which we will view.

Fuller’s Bookshop was established in 1923 and is one of Hobart’s leading independent booksellers. We will visit the shop and will meet with local historian Dr Alison Alexander.

The River Derwent (true Tasmanians never say ‘the Derwent River’!) rises in the Central Highlands and descends more than 700m and covers a distance of more than 200km to reach Hobart. It was named in 1793 after the River Derwent in Cumbria. Our tour welcome dinner will be held at The Glass House, perched on Brooke Street Pier with commanding views over the river. (Overnight Hobart) D

Day 2: Thursday 13 January, Hobart – Coal River Valley – Hobart
  • Lecture 1: ‘The Four Georges: The Birth of Hobart in its Historical Context’
  • Lecture 2: ‘Literature of the Georgian Age’
  • Lunch at Frogmore Creek
  • Tasmania’s History House with author and historian Henry Reynolds, FAHA, FASSA
  • Walking tour of Historic Town of Richmond

Hobart is Australia’s second oldest city and has a rich colonial heritage.  The first European colony began at Risdon Cove in 1803, but it was soon found that the opposite shore was a more promising place to settle and Hobart started as a collection of tents and huts.

This morning we learn more about what those early settlers left behind, what political circumstances drove or forced them to the other side of the world, and how life in the early colony was controlled by Britain. Susannah’s book Jane Austen and Crime discussed the ‘criminal’ scene of the Georgian age and it was those crimes which resulted in Australia being used as a penal colony. Her first talk, ‘The Four Georges: The Birth of Hobart in its Historical Context’, will set the scene for the visits throughout the tour.

Early settlers brought books with them to Tasmania, and treasured them as expensive rarities. The Georgian era was a remarkably rich time for literature. Susannah’s talk ‘Literature of the Georgian Age’ will explore the books and authors whose works were shaping the way in which nature was regarded, influencing ideas on liberty and human rights and worth. These books were carried to Hobart, and were then shared and valued in a place where books were extremely scarce. Discover how authors in Britain helped shape colonial thinking on the other side of the world.

We then depart for the Coal River Valley to enjoy lunch at an award-winning winery, Frogmore Creek. The restaurant showcases local produce. Convicts relied on salt beef and weevilly biscuits, but Tasmanian food has come a very long way and today the island is noted for its gastronomy.

In the afternoon we travel to the historic town of Richmond. It was once a strategic military post and convict station and its heritage-listed arched bridge is the oldest stone span bridge in Australia. We will be guided around Tasmania’s History House by former senator Margaret Reynolds. This was once the Jolly Farmer’s Inn and was built by an Irish convict, Simon McCullough, who was granted a pardon after he apprehended a murderer in 1825. It’s a wonderful building, with cedar doors, original floors and Georgian features intact.

After our tour of the house, historian and author Henry Reynolds will talk about the history of Richmond and the first contact with Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Henry Reynold’s primary research focus has been the history of Aboriginal / white relations. His book The Other Side of the Frontier (1982) won the Ernest Scott Prize, and he has produced many distinguished books on the subject. He will escort us around the delightful village of Richmond.

Evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Hobart) BL

Day 3: Friday 14 January, Hobart
  • Lecture 3: ‘Charles Darwin: Scientist, Reader and Author in Tasmania’
  • Lecture 4: ‘Convict Writers’
  • Allport Library & Museum of Fine Arts – with Curator Caitlin Sutton
  • Presentation by botanical artist, Lauren Black at the Allport Library & Museum of Fine Arts
  • Cilwen House, Acton Park
  • Lecture 5: ‘Marcus Clarke and For the Term of His Natural Life

Charles Darwin travelled from the other side of the world via South America, the Galapagos Islands and the southern cape of Africa, in order to reach Australia, but his travels nearly came to a tragic end in Hobart. On 11 February, 1836, Darwin climbed Mt Wellington and tried to add what he was believed was a non-venomous snake to his collection. It was probably a black tiger snake and he succeeded in killing it, but what would have happened to the whole of western science had that snake killed him? This morning will begin with a talk by Susannah about Darwin’s visit: ‘Charles Darwin: Scientist, Reader and Author in Tasmania’.

For more than three decades Tasmania (or Van Diemen’s Land, as it was then known) was the most feared destination for British convicts. Penal settlements at Port Arthur, Maria Island and Strahan had terrible reputations and convicts lived miserable lives in them. But some convicts did manage to go on to better things and to forge careers for themselves in Tasmania. Some of them even became authors. While in prison, forger Henry Savery wrote sketches which were published as the Hermit in Van Diemen’s Land and, after his release, he wrote the first Australian novel Quintus Servinton (published 1831-32). But, sadly, Henry returned to his forging habits and he died, a prisoner, at Port Arthur in 1842. Printer and burglar Andrew Bent was involved with publishing some of Tasmania’s earliest newspapers and opposed attempts by the authorities to control the press. ‘Audacious and impudent” convict John Davies published The Hobarton Guardian and was greatly involved in promoting the Theatre Royal in the city. Danish Jorgen Jorgensen was transported to Australia in 1825. He wrote many articles for Tasmanian and British papers, and his Aboriginal Languages in Tasmania was published posthumously in 1842. Bigamist Robert Lathrop Murray was granted a pardon soon after his arrival in Hobart, but he used his pen to attack the administration and became editor of leading papers of the day. Susannah’s talk ‘Convict Writers’ will focus on these fascinating figures.

In the afternoon we visit the Allport Library & Museum of Fine Arts which holds a collection of significant Tasmanian paintings of the Georgian era (including works by John Glover and a portrait of him), along with rare books, manuscripts, early photographs and furniture. Curator Caitlin Sutton will prepare for our visit a special collection of rare books and sketches. One of Allport’s treasures is William Buelow Gould’s Sketchbook of Fishes, a UNESCO document of world significance.

We also meet with Lauren Black, one of Australia’s most accomplished botanical illustrators, who will show us examples of her work, and view a collection of historic Tasmanian watercolours by the renowned botanical artist Margaret Hope whose work was intended for publication in the 1880s.

Next, we visit Cilwen House, a sublime Georgian masterpiece dating from 1835 which stands on the foothills of Mt Romney. This magnificent early colonial home features a beautifully crafted blackwood staircase, timber floors, Baltic pine ceilings, crafted open fireplaces, cedar shutters and a superb ballroom (now used as the master suite). The home is set within architecturally landscaped gardens which features a 100 year old mulberry tree.

Novelist, journalist and poet Marcus Clarke was born in England, but emigrated to Australia in 1863. In 1870 he visited Tasmania in order to research articles on the convict period and it was this that inspired his novel For the Term of His Natural Life, some of which is set in Tasmania. The novel has helped define our perception of the Australian convict experience and it examined the issues of crime, punishment and human worth. Susannah’s talk ‘Marcus Clarke and For the Term of His Natural Life’ will look at his achievement and legacy, while you enjoy a pre-dinner drink. Dinner and the evening are at leisure. (Overnight Hobart) B

Day 4: Saturday 15 January, Hobart – Bruny Island – Pontville – Hobart
  • 3-hour wilderness cruise of Bruny Island’s rugged coastline
  • Bruny Island incl. Truganini Lookout at The Neck & Adventure Bay
  • Farewell Dinner & Concert by Jennifer Marten-Smith at Epsom House

Charles Darwin never made it to Bruny Island, but he’d have loved its wildlife. Today the island is an important bird breeding sanctuary. From Hobart we take the 40-minute drive south to Kettering and then a ferry to the island. After morning tea, we will enjoy a 3-hour wilderness cruise to view Bruny’s rugged coastline and (hopefully) its spectacular wildlife.  The flora and fauna were so strange to the new settlers who came from Britain. Unsure of what they could or couldn’t eat, they were forced to rely on trial and error and to experiment. To the Georgians, such places at Bruny Island felt like the very end of the world they knew.

After lunch there will be a tour of some of the other highlights of the island – the lookout above The Neck (the strip of land linking the northern and southern parts of the island), Truganini Lookout, and Adventure Bay. Many famous names from naval history visited Bruny – Captain Cook, Captain Bligh, Furneaux and Bruni D’Entrecasteaux (after whom the island was named).

Epsom House in Pontville dates from c.1829 and was built as a coaching inn, The Blacksmith’s Arms. It was an important place for local society as it had a large ballroom, where settlers and officers could dance and flirt in true Georgian style. Our Farewell Dinner will be held at Epsom House, preceded by a delightful concert by Jennifer Marten-Smith, solo pianist from the Tasmanian Symphonic Orchestra . (Overnight Hobart) BLD

Day 5: Sunday 16 January, Hobart – Tasman Peninsula – Hobart Airport
  • The Port Arthur Historic Site with Dr James Parker
  • Light lunch at the Bangor Vineyard Shed, Forestier Peninsula

This morning we meet with James Parker, an historian who has written about colonial times, with a focus on convicts, women and the Aboriginal people. James will accompany us on our morning visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman peninsula. A World Heritage property, Port Arthur consists of 11 remnant penal sites. It was named for George Arthur, lieutenant governor of Van Diemen’s Land. Novelist Anthony Trollope visited it in 1872 and sat chatting with some of the old convicts still held there.

On the Forestier Peninsula overlooking Blackman’s Bay is the award-winning Bangor Vineyard. We will enjoy a late lunch here, before heading to Hobart Airport where our tour ends at approximately 5.00pm. BL



Accommodation at the winery includes rooms with en suite bathroom.

  • Hobart (4 nights): 4-star Hotel Lenna of Hobart – built in 1874, this sandstone mansion converted into a heritage hotel, is located near Hobart’s vibrant waterfront and only a few metres from Salamanca Place, home to Australia’s largest outdoor market and fine eateries. www.lenna.com.au

Note: Hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double/twin room for single occupancy throughout the tour. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

How to book

How to Book


Please complete the ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your non-refundable deposit of AUD $500.00 per person payable to Australians Studying Abroad.

Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate

Commencing from November 2021 it will be a condition of travel that all group leaders and ASA travellers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. All participants must send ASA a copy of their vaccination certificate at the time of submitting their Reservation Application Form. For information on how to obtain either a Covid-19 digital certificate or a certificate in PDF format please view the Australian Government Services Australia “What types of proof there are” web page.

Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags  is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 5-day tour involves:
  • A moderate amount of walking mainly during outdoor site visits, often up and down hills and/or flights of stairs and uneven terrain
  • A moderate amount of coach travel
  • Some days involve an early-morning departure (between 8.00-8.30am)
  • Bruny Island 3-hour wilderness cruise
  • You must be able to carry your own hand luggage. Hotel porterage only includes 1 piece of luggage per person

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the Terms and Conditions section given below.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers see: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $3490.00 Land Content Only

AUD $640.00 Single Supplement

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with en suite bathroom at the 4-star Lenna of Hobart
  • Meals as indicated in the tour itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=dinner
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included.
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach
  • Departure airport transfer if travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ departure flight
  • Bruny Island 3-hour wilderness cruise
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels (not at airports)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Entrance fees
  • Use of audio headsets for site excursions
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Return airfare to Hobart
  • Personal spending money
  • Arrival transfers from Hobart Airport to hotel
  • Departure airport transfers if not travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply.

We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions or services of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products, services, terms and conditions. If a service provider cancels or does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, and does not give a refund, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA.

ASA will not be liable for any claim (e.g. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, border closures, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any tour service provider or authority however caused (contingencies). You must take out such travel insurance as is available against such contingencies.

ASA’s liability in respect of any tour cancelled or changed will be limited to the partial refund of amounts you have paid, less an administration fee of $500 and other costs and charges of third party service providers. No compensation will be payable to you by ASA where ASA cancels or changes a tour, or any part of a tour.

ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate and in the best interests of health, safety and wellbeing of tour participants. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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