The City of Clarence has a rich and varied history.

Through the Cultural History Advisory Committee, we strive to invoke a sense of identity and place in the community through encouraging participation in the cultural history of Clarence in meaningful and relevant ways. This involves projects that promote the recognition, preservation, and promotion of the cultural history of a community encourages a sense of pride and participation in a community’s cultural life.

The conservation of cultural history includes not only the preservation of the old but also the need to acknowledge the evolution of the new. It is this balance between old and new that is the hallmark of a rich and productive culture.


History Walks

There are several historical walks in the City of Clarence to explore. A series of interpretive signs have been developed on some of these walks which contain links to oral histories of the land and its former use.

Ferry History - signs

Rose Bay Ferry

Towards the end of the 19th century, Rose Bay was becoming a popular picnic spot and was included on the Hobart – Eastern Shore ferry service.

Tea Rooms were established opposite the ferry wharf and in 1912 a new jetty was built, of which the footings remain visible to this day.

The jetty was built by the developers of a new subdivision of land at Rose Bay and Rosny (which was later promoted as ‘Sunnylands’). At the end of the jetty, the Derwent Ferry Company built a substantial shelter shed for waiting passengers, which was later used as a gymnasium and youth club.

Tea Room opposite the jetty, built ca 1915 to cater to picnickers (State Library of Tasmania)

Rose Bay jetty under construction ca 1910 (Lindisfarne Historical Society)

Rose Bay’s more unusual claim to fame is that it was one of two landing places for the Ansett Flying Boat Service, which ran an air service between Sydney and Hobart from 1953 to 1970.

The ‘Flying Boats’ were built to be capable of both landing and taking off on water.

The Sandringham ‘flying boats’ operated by Ansett carried 42 passengers on two decks, and were quite luxurious by the standards of the day. The flight to Sydney took four hours and cost £15.




Take off and landings were sometimes nervous affairs, with spray reaching up to the planes ‘portholes’.

In Hobart, they landed either here at Rose Bay or near the Regatta Grounds, depending on weather conditions. Rose Bay was preferred in rough weather due to the protection afforded by the old Hobart Bridge (the ‘Floating Bridge’). Passengers were met on the water by a small tender, the Nancy, and ferried in to land.


Flying Boat on the Derwent ca 1955 (Lindisfarne Historical Society)

Rose Bay jetty shelter shed built 1929 by the Derwent Ferry Company (Lindisfarne Historical Society)

Ferries tied up at the Rose Bay jetty ca 1930 (Lindisfarne Historical Society)

Poster for the ‘Sunnylands’ estate, 1948 (National Library of Australia)

Ansett’s Sandringham flying boat after landing (Lindisfarne Historical Society)



History Publications and Information

Tasman Bridge Disaster

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The Tasman Bridge was open to traffic in August 1964. It was a four-lane, high level concrete bridge constructed with a central navigation span for shipping. Prior to 1964, a floating bridge spanned the Derwent.

On Sunday 5 January 1975 at 9.27pm, the bulk carrier Lake Illawarra collided with the Tasman Bridge. Two piers collapsed along with 127 metres of bridge decking. Four cars ran over the gap into the Derwent River. Five occupants died while several others managed to escape from two vehicles which teetered on the edge of the gap. Seven crewmen from the Lake Illawarra also lost their lives.

The impact of the bridge collapse was quickly felt as Hobart was suddenly cut in two. Eastern Shore residents were severely compromised, transport facilities were tested and to compound the issue further, most hospitals, schools, businesses and government offices were located on the western shore.

In 2013, Council undertook a major project to commemorate the Tasman Bridge disaster. This culminated in a major exhibition and a commemorative artwork now installed at Montagu Bay Park.

As part of this project, oral history interviews were recorded with a number of first-hand witnesses to the events of 5 January 1975.

View the dedicated webpage for the full oral history: Tasman Bridge Disaster

The Eastern Shore: A History of Clarence

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The Eastern Shore: A history of Clarence was published by council in September 2003.

Written by leading historian Dr Alison Alexander, the book traces the history of Clarence from before the time of European settlement to the thriving city of 56,945 people that it is today.

Illustrated by more than 200 rare photographs, maps, and historical documents, the book gives a unique insight into the lives of the people of Clarence.

The book also traces the establishment of farming and small townships, times of development and depression, two world wars, transport, the 1967 bushfires, the Tasman Bridge disaster, achieving city status, the fight against amalgamation and many sporting and cultural events.

Copies of the book are available from Council Offices for $20.00 (discounted from $29.95).

Centenary of ANZAC: Service at Home and Abroad

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Centenary of Anzac Publication cover

2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. To mark the centenary, Council curated a major exhibition which was held at the Rosny Barn.

Centenary of ANZAC: Service at Home and Abroad explored the sacrifices and wartime experiences of both the service men and women who served abroad, and also the effects of the war on those left behind.

The exhibition had a special focus on the men and women of Clarence during this difficult time which forged Australia’s future identity.

Accompanying the exhibition was the associated booklet catalogue.

Centenary of ANZAC Service at Home and Abroad

What Would You Take? Interactive Exhibition

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What Would You Take? publication cover

What Would You Take? was an interactive exhibition that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Black Tuesday bushfires.

In partnership with the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery and the Tasmanian Fire Service, Council developed this project which allowed the community to commemorate and reflect on the devastating impact of the 1967 fires.

This publication accompanied the exhibition and detailed local stories of the 1967 bushfires.

Hard copies of the exhibition booklet are available from Rosny Farm.

What would you take

History Policy and planning

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Cultural History Plan 2018 – 2023

Council’s Cultural History Plan 2018 – 2023 provides strategic direction for Council in the area of cultural history and associated activities and events, through an emphasis on the stories that are important to the history and development of our city.

Cultural History Plan 2018 – 2023

Cultural History Advisory Committee

The Cultural History Advisory Committee was formed in 2009.

The aim of the committee is to assist with the implementation, monitoring, and review of the strategies and actions contained within the Cultural History Plan 2018-2023.

The committee provides advice and makes recommendations to assist Council with the implementation of the plan.

Projects and activities

Through the plan, a number of projects have been undertaken during past years including staging several exhibitions telling stories that are of importance to Clarence’s history, a street names interpretation project at key locations through the city, and a range of community events celebrating the history of Clarence.

History Groups

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Bellerive Historical Society Inc.

The Bellerive Historical Society Inc. cares for a growing collection of historic images and documents and is committed to preserving the past for the future.

The public is invited to visit their history room at the old Bellerive Watch.

For more information visit the Bellerive Historical Society Facebook pagewww.bellerivehistory.com or contact Michael Geard by calling 0400 974 056 or by email bellerivehistory@gmail.com.


Clarence Plains Historical Society

The Clarence Plains Historical Society has recently merged with Tranmere Clarence Plains Land and Coastcare Inc.

The Landcare group and the Historical Society share a common interest in many of the projects in the Clarence Plains area.

For more information visit the Tranmere Clarence Plains Land and Coast Care Facebook page.


Coal River Valley Historical Society Inc.

The Coal River Valley Historical Society Inc. is committed to researching and preserving the history of the area, including the historic township of Richmond.

Since 2001, the society has managed the historic National Trust property, Oak Lodge, situated on Bridge Street in Richmond.

For more information, visit www.coalriverhistory.org or email Lois Green el_green@bigpond.com.


Lindisfarne Historical Society

The Lindisfarne Historical Society was formed in 1992 and works to foster interest in our local history.

The society has developed a collection of historic photographs and information about Lindisfarne and surrounds.

For more information please visit their webpage Lindisfarne Historical Society


South Arm Peninsula Residents’ Association History Committee

The Maurice Potter History Room in the Community Centre at South Arm contains historical images and information on the people, families, places, events and history of the Peninsula. Have an interest in our history? Join the South Arm Peninsula History Facebook Group.

For more information call Michael Topfer on 0400416099 or email history@southarm.tas.au.