The Hobart

Think Mary Was Our First Princess? Think Again.

by History Paige
Think Mary Was Our First Princess? Think Again.

We all know that Princess Mary is Hobart’s own princess, but many might not be aware that there was a Tasmanian princess long before Mary hit the headlines. The youngest of ten children, Pauline Curran was born in 1893 in Hobart and educated at St Michael’s Collegiate. The founder of the Tattersall’s lottery, George Adams, was a close family friend and when he died in 1905, he left the family a chunk of money.

During the first world war, Pauline and her family lived at Eaglehawk Neck where she cared for her father, whose health was deteriorating. He passed away in 1921 and his estate was left in trust to support his wife and Pauline, until she was married. When her mother passed away too, the estate was split between the children.

Like lots of young Australians, Pauline decided to give London society a nudge and headed to England in 1924. It was here that she met Prince Maximilian Melikoff – she was an aging spinster (according to the times!) and he was an impoverished Russian aristocrat. Interestingly he was working as a chauffeur at the time, after leaving a career in the military fighting the Bolsheviks to join his parents in France. It was a pretty good arrangement for both parties, she brought the money and he brought the title!

Move over Harry and Megan, Pauline and her prince were engaged after three months and wed at St David’s Cathedral on Murray Street in 1926 – our very own royal wedding right here in Tasmania! By all accounts Hobartians of the time treated them like royalty, lining the streets to watch the procession. After a few months spent in Hobart, they moved to Cannes to start their married life together.

While not much is known of her life during WWII, Pauline and her prince spent considerable time in London (she had a lovely pad in Mayfair) until his passing in 1950. After his death she made numerous trips back to Tasmania, which always held a place in her heart.

When she passed away in 1988 in London, Pauline had two wills – one in Britain and one in Australia. The British will left the bulk of her UK fortune derived in London to Greenpeace and the Australian will set up the Princess Melikoff Trust Fund with proceeds given to the St Ann’s Homes for the Aged and the Tasmanian Government Wildlife Protection Services to assist in protecting marine mammals, which it continues to fund today.

[IMAGE] Fairfax Corporation. 1934,

Princess Melikoff formerly Pauline Curran of Tasmania and Prince Maximilian Melikoff, New South Wales, ca. 1934. Printed with permission from National Library of Australia.

Love this

Cold Water Wake Up Call
It seems everywhere I turn someone is talking about or participating in cold water swimming right now.
A Short Geelong Getaway
Since the Spirit of Tasmania terminal moved from Melbourne to Geelong late last year, a visit to Geelong has been on the radar.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
February 2024

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!