The Hobart

Hobart Happenings in December 2023

by Hobart Magazine
Hobart Happenings in December 2023


The stage is set for Fellini The Italian restaurant to open at MACq01 Hotel in the space previously occupied by Cinna­mon Indian. With a view of the historic buildings of Hunter Street, this might just be your new spot for an Aperol. Bread and Butter have been busy renovating the Rankin Bond building (20 George Street, Launceston), their third store in Launnie, where they will be baking daily, and includes space for dogs, parking and bikes. Serendipity (45 Hampden Road, Battery Point) is opening soon, serving breakfast, brunch and lunch in Battery Point. Cafe Family and Friends (40 Sandy Bay Road, Battery Point) has changed hands and is undergoing a refresh. Keep an eye out for a very fun sounding concept popping up in that space very soon. Six Russell Bakes, a bringing together of Kobi Ruzicka of Dier Makr and Dino Matelli ‘the Bread Guy’, and friends, is set to bake in Sandy Bay in the old Wing&Co space, more details to come but from their socials @six_russell_bakes things are looking delicious. Just when you thought Becker Minty (91A Salamanca Pl, Battery Point) had a pretty good setup with beautiful store and restaurant space, they’ve gone and installed a coffee machine and an incredible outdoor dining table, perfect for long lunches and cocktails in the sun. The Waggon (327 Argyle St, North Hobart) has had a major facelift from its days at The Waggon and Horses Hotel and will soon be welcoming a new cohort of drinkers and diners into the fold. Watch this space for an opening date. In cracking news for hairy people, Crackerjack Barbershop (8 Criterion Street, Hobart) has opened – you can book online or walk in, from Tuesday to Sunday.

Becker Minty. Pic: Instagram

STUDENTS BUS TICKETS PRICE RISE  Student bus fares are about to go up. As of 1 January 2024, student bus fares will increase by 10 cents for a single trip ticket, or 8 cents for a smartcard or mul­ti-trip ticket. The ticket prices increase every two years. The increase applies to all Tasmanian Government contracted general access and dedicated school bus services including Metro services and the River Derwent ferry service.

EXTREME WEATHER PUTTING MORE AUSTRALIANS IN HOSPITAL  Extreme weather, including heatwaves, bushfires and storms is leading to an increased number of injuries and hospi­talisations across Australia. A new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that extreme weather-related hospitalisations reached over 1,000 cases every three years between 2012 and 2022, with extreme heat having the biggest impact with 7,104 injury hospitalisations and 293 deaths across Australia. From 2019-2022, 19 people were admitted to hospital because of extreme heat in Tasmania. The report also showed that there were 773 injury hospitalisations and 242 deaths related to extreme cold and 348 injury hospi­talisations and 77 deaths due to extreme rain and storms across Australia. As for bushfires, the number of injuries was higher during El Niño years. The Bureau of Meteorology has declared an El Niño is underway and is likely to continue until at least the end of February 2024. This means a period of reduced rainfall, higher temperatures and increased bushfire danger.

HOBART IS OFFICIALLY HOME TO AUSTRALIA’S TASTIEST WATER  We all knew it, and now it’s been proven once again: Tassie tap water tastes the best. A sample of the drinking water from TasWater’s treatment plant at Fern Tree has been crowned Best Tasting Tap Water in Australia for 2023. TasWater operator Craig Roberts said the win came as no surprise. “The rainfall and snowmelt water we treat at Fern Tree runs down the slopes of kunanyi/Mt Wellington giving it a great taste that the judges liked,” he said. “The local community has always known how good the water tastes and how clear it is, and it was great to have that recognised on the national stage.” Water from Tasmania has taken out the national title twice in recent years, with the Barrington treatment plant winning in 2016 and Rossarden winning in 2020. Rossarden was then named the world’s best in 2021. Fern Tree’s water will now be judged against international drops at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Competition in West Virginia, US in February.

GIFT WRAPPING FOR CHARITIES  If you’re doing your Christmas shopping in the CBD this month and would like the pressies wrapped and to donate to a local charity at the same time, head to Elizabeth Mall. Volunteers will wrap your gifts in good quality, sustainably-sourced wrapping paper for a donation, with mon­ey going to local charities and community groups including St Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House and Legacy. Different charities will be there on different days.

HELLO, SANTA?!  Free calls to the Santa hotline are avail­able on Telstra payphones again this year. Kids can head to their nearest payphone and call a direct line for a free, one-on-one conversation with the one and only Santa Claus at the North Pole. Last year over 11,000 calls were made to Santa’s Workshop on Christmas Eve alone. Dial # HO HO HO, or # 46 46 46, at any payphone nationally. With over 250,000 calls made to critical service numbers such as 000 from payphones in the last 12 months, Telstra hopes the Free Calls to Santa initiative will create a fun way to educate children about payphones and that they can use them for free any time.

PROPOSAL PUTS BATTERY POINT WALKWAY BACK ON THE TABLE  The Hobart City Council is once again assessing the feasibility of a Battery Point walkway. Friends of Battery Point Walkway recently presented a new concept design, featuring a shared bicycle and pedestrian accessway, to the council. This design closely follows the shore line from Marieville to Castray Esplanade via the historic slipyards. Friends of Battery Point Walkway spokesperson, David Hook, said the design is ‘attractive and affordable’. “Together with many Hobart residents, we believe the river and foreshore belong to everyone,” Mr Hook said. “This walkway will open access to the river and foreshore for all. Unlike previous designs, this one is very similar to what you’d find in our national parks and is sympathetic to the area’s unique history and local environment.” The Friends of Battery Point hope the potential walkway would become one of Hobart’s popular walking spots for visitors and locals. Council staff are appraising our proposal now, as part of their feasibility assessment. A report will then go to elected members in the New Year.

The proposed Battery Point Walkway. Pic: Supplied

HAVE YOUR SAY ABOUT TAS POLICE  Tasmania Police has launched a new online community survey and they want feedback from you. Donna Adams, Police Commissioner, said the survey was the first of its kind for Tasmania Police. “We want to hear directly from Tasmanians about what they feel are the important safety issues in their communities…to find out what is important to them for future policing in the state, how their experiences with Tasmania Police have been and how they would like to engage with police when they need assistance,” said Commissioner Adams. Anyone over 16 can do the survey. The feedback will guide resourcing and operations and a summary of the results will be shared with the community next year. The survey is available online at but is due to close soon.

NEW REPORT ON TASSIE PUBLIC SCHOOL UNDERFUNDING  An independent new report has found that Tasmanian public schools remain underfunded while our private schools are overfunded, and that that underfunding will worsen over the next five years. The report, by economist Adam Rorris, shows that public schools are underfunding at a rate of $2,169 per student, set to increase to $2,321 by 2028. This year Tasmanian public schools have been underfunded by $118 million, while private schools are overfunded by $7 million. Rorris found that not a single Tasmanian public school received the minimum level of funding, called the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). According to the report, the Tassie private schools receiving the most overfunding were The Catholic Education Centre ($17,557,143), Scotch Oakburn College ($4,277,787), Launceston Church Grammar ($2,707,262), The Friends School ($1,865,756), Christian Schools Tasmania ($393,922) and Launceston Preparatory School ($69,103). David Genford, Tasmanian Branch President of the Australian Education Union, said the Federal Government needed to step in. “The state’s educational performance will not increase while there is ‘systemic denial’ of proper resourcing,” said Mr Genford. “Decades of underfunding must be addressed now by the Albanese Government to save future generations of students being denied the opportunity to reach their full educational potentials. The Rorris report makes it clear that funding matters – for educational attain­ment and for the retention of teachers saying research shows that disadvantage drives shortages.”

NEW HOME FOR HOMELESS MEN  The new Bethlehem House, the 24 hour support service centre for people experiencing homelessness, has opened in North Hobart. Run by St Vincent de Paul, it is Tasmania’s largest provider of crisis and transitional accommodation for men experiencing homelessness and has run continuously since 1972. One of the most heart-warming elements of the new accommodation is that it can house residents’ dogs – there are three kennels on site. There’s also a cafe for residents and visitors to hopefully encourage better connections with family and support networks. Bethlehem House Executive Manager, Stephen Shreeve, said the new facility has opened up many opportuni­ties. “A new building not only provides a fresh new place to live, it tells our men they are valued, which goes towards restoring their dignity and provides hope,” he said. “Many of the facility’s new areas, especially the onsite workshop and kitchens, will aid residents’ skills development and support the recently launched Employability Program.”  The new facility is adjacent to another site in Murray St, the former Waratah Hotel, which is already home to a further 24 men under the Society’s Bethlehem House program. Vinnies will lease the building from Homes Tasmania.

PUMP TRACK OPENS AT BRIDGEWATER PARKLAND  Riders and skaters will love the new Bridgewater pump track that opened recently at the Bridgewater Parkland. Designed for all-ages use, the pump track is suitable for bikes, skateboards, roller skates and scooters. The asphalt track was constructed by Velosolutions, who have made over 600 pump tracks across the world.

Get pumped. Pic: Brighton Council

PASSWORD MALFUNCTIONS  At a time of near-daily stories of online scams, a new study reveals that some of us remain useless at creating decent passwords to protect our accounts. NordPass, a password management service, has released a new study revealing the world’s 200 most common passwords for 2023. The number one password used interna­tionally is ‘123456’, which ranked as the second most popular in Australia. Curiously, the top password used in Australia this year was the word ‘banned’. The study also found that people use the weakest passwords to secure their streaming accounts and the strongest passwords for finan­cial services platforms. We also love passwords associated with online games, movies, or fiction: ‘Starwars29’ is ranked among the most common passwords in Australia, “Aladdin66 ‘’ is trending in Taiwan and “Supermario12” is huge in Austria. Stealer malware attacks are a major threat to our passwords, especially those saved on a browser, so take this as a reminder to go strengthen your passwords!

NEW AIR HEALTH WEBSITE  UTAS and the University of Melbourne have teamed up to create a national air quality and pollen service. “Airhealth” is the first integrated, Australia-wide service providing access to real time, location-specific air quality information for the millions of Australians sensitive to pollen, pollution, bushfire smoke and other air hazards. UTAS’ AirRater service combined with the University of Melbourne’s Pollen Forecast service, which has run since 2012. The merged service offers a single, trusted source of information, via a website, on various environmental health hazards, including current and forecasted pollen levels, air pollution and thunderstorm asthma. It will also provide personalised and timely notifications for app users at their current location. Check it out at

ABLE AND WILLING WALKER NAMED YOUNG ADVENTURER OF THE YEAR  Tasmanian adventurer Lewi Taylor has been awarded the Young Adventurer of the Year award for the 2023 Australian Geographic Society Awards. Lewi was recognised for the challenge of summit­ing 158 of Tasmania’s toughest peaks, known as the Abels, in 158 days while also raising $158,000 for Cancer Council Tasmania. Lewi was our cover person for the February 2022 edition of The Hobart Magazine when he first embarked on the challenge, we love seeing his achieve­ments recognised by the Australian Geographic Society. In response to receiv­ing the award, Lewi said, “I embarked on this journey not just to conquer mountains but to test my limits and explore the beauty of Tasmania’s wilderness. Being named Young Adventurer of the Year by the Australian Geographic Society is an incredible honour and a reminder that even the most challenging goals can be achieved with determination. I hope it inspires others to take on extraordinary adventures.” Congratulations, Lewi!

Lewi Taylor Young Adventurer of the Year

PROGRAM HELPING KIDS GRIEVE  Learning Through Loss is a new program to support young people through grief. Presented by Palliative Care Tasmania and funded by the Department of Health, the program provides free grief literacy education for educators and profession­als who work with young people, to equip them with knowledge and tools to navigate loss. Check out the website and resources at

CITY VIEW MOTEL BECOMES SCHOOL ACCOMMODATION  The State Government is purchasing the former City View Motel in Montagu Bay to be used as a student residence for year 11 and 12 students. Regional and remote students from regional areas in the south will be able to stay there long term from 2024 onwards. The former motel replaces the current interim residence at TasTAFE Warrane. The new place will have a higher capacity and more suitable amenities, and is located next door to Rose Bay High School and a 10 minute walk from Rosny College. An open day will be scheduled before Christmas for families and carers of applicants and other interested parties.

HOBART, THE CITY OF LITERATURE  Hobart has successfully been nominated as a UNESCO City of Literature. It’s just the second Australian city to receive the international honour, joining Mel­bourne in a distinguished group of cities alongside Edinburgh, Prague, Barcelona, Dublin and Quebec. Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, said “The cities in our Creative Cities Network are leading the way when it comes to enhanc­ing access to culture and galvanising the power of creativity for urban resilience and development.” Libraries Tasmania Executive Director Sue McKerracher said the successful nomination would have benefits for all Tasmanians. “Nipaluna/ Hobart has a fantastic history of story­telling dating back thousands of years,” Ms McKerracher said. “This is clearly a literary city and state, but it’s also a place where low literacy is a challenge. We plan to take advantage of this designation at the State Library in Hobart and through our statewide public library network to promote reading, writing and a love of books as something for everyone.”

NO MORE PETS IN CARS PLEASE  As we slink into summer, RACT and the RSPCA are reminding us to never leave pets in hot cars. In the 2023 financial year RACT’s roadside assistance team members responded to nearly 100 pets locked in cars. Mel Percival, RACT Gen­eral Manager Advocacy and Government Relations, said the RACT can be called anytime in such an instance. “Leaving animals in a car, even briefly, can lead to tragic consequences,” Ms Percival said. “If you find yourself in a situation where your pets are locked in a car, or you see an animal locked in a hot car, don’t hes­itate to call RACT’s roadside assistance on 13 11 11, even if you are not a RACT member.” Jane Davis, RSPCA Chief Ex­ecutive Officer, said it can take less than six minutes for an animal to die in a hot vehicle. “Temperatures in a car can rise to dangerous levels and rapidly reach more than double the outside temperature even on mild days,” Ms Davis said. “Even mild heatstroke is an emergency. Treatment of heatstroke is intensive and difficult, and the sooner it’s started the better. If you think your pet is affected by heat stroke, you should immediately seek the help of a vet.” Some heat stroke signs in pets are excessive panting, vomiting, weakness, bright red tongue and diarrhoea.

Who’s a good boy?


 At a loose end on Christmas Day? Need help to get a few treats on the Christmas table? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our round up of community services helping out this Christmas.

Colony 47  This year Colony 47 are hosting their mega Community Christmas Lunch on Christmas Day in the Hanging Garden at 153 Liverpool St. Catered by Flint Kitchen, the event runs from 12-1:30pm and numbers are expected to reach around 500 – a sign of both the increased need in our community and the ability of services to respond to that. To register, head to or email for more information.

Colony 47 Christmas Lunch

Salvation Army  The Salvos are holding their community Clarence Christmas Brunch in Howrah on Christmas Day, and everyone’s invited. There will be delicious food, entertainment and activities from 10:30am-12:30pm at the Howrah Community Centre.

Hobart City Mission  Whilst it’s too late to register for Hobart City Mission’s Christmas Assistance Program (CAP), you can always access their emergency relief for food packs, food vouchers, vouchers for their op shops and other help. It can be accessed Monday to Friday during business hours at 50 Barrack St in the city and 11 Main Rd, Moonah. For more information about getting emergency assistance or to make an appointment, please contact them on 6215 4200 – it’s recommended to call at 8:30am due to high demand for these services.

RiverCity Christian Church  North Hobart’s RiverCity are providing Christmas hampers to those in need again this year – last year they provided over 600! To request one, head to their website

Uniting Tasmania  If you’re experiencing financial hardship this season you can also access help via Uniting Tasmania, who offer practical resources and a listening ear. They can provide food, personal care items, material aid, financial support and links to other services. Get in touch via (03) 9192 8100 or at hello@unit­

Catholic Care Tasmania  Confidential and non-judgmental financial or material support is on offer to anyone experiencing hardship via CatholicCare Tasmania, contact them between 9am-5pm Monday-Friday to make an appointment via 1800 819 447.

Launnie Christmas Lunch  The Launceston City Community Christmas lunch will again be held at the Door of Hope Centre at the Launceston Conference Centre. Hosted by St Vincent de Paul Society Tasmania (Vinnies), Launceston City Mission, The Launceston Benevolent Society, CatholicCare and The Salvation Army Launceston, the lunch offers families and individuals the opportunity to connect and build community at Christmas. The organising committee are expecting around 380 people to join for a delicious Christmas buffet for everyone, with major sponsor IGA providing the food. There will be about 150 take away Christmas lunch packs distributed to members of the homeless community in other locations through­out the city, ensuring that no one goes without a good meal on Christmas Day. Mayor of Launceston Matthew Garwood will MC and will be joined by others to sing Christmas songs and there will be activities for the children including a visit from Santa. If you would like to attend or volunteer please register through the event website at or contact one of the agencies involved.

Free Community Lunch in Devonport  If you are struggling to provide Christmas lunch this year, the East Devonport Bowls Club are extending a warm welcome for you to join them. Lunch will be cold meat, salads and dessert. Tea, coffee and cordial are included. There will be music and barefoot bowls for all to enjoy. This is an alcohol-free event. To book, call Kellie on 6427 9574 or email 12-3pm, Christmas Day.

The Circular Head Community Christmas Lunch  The Circular Head community is again providing a free Christmas lunch for people who are alone, having a hard time, away from family or new to the area. It’ll be a meal with friendly people, fun table games, kicking a ball outside and a day together. The free lunch at the Rec Centre starts at 12pm and finishes at 2:30pm. Transport can be arranged for people who are in need and it’s necessary to register if you plan to attend. Gold coin donations would be appreciated.

If you have the means to make a donation, get in touch with these wonderful organisations to share the love (and money) this Christmas.

TASMANIAN MULTICULTURAL COOKBOOK SHARES FOOD AND STORIES  The Multicultural Cookbook is a new cookbook connecting Tasmanian women from around the world. Nearly 40 Tasmanian women have shared their favourite recipes and stories in the book – it features dishes and desserts from Kyrgyzstan, Viet­nam, Chile, Afghanistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, China, Nepal, Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Hungary, South Sudan, Philippines, Mauritius, Belgium, Solomon Islands, India, Mexico, and Bangladesh, as well as some English and Australian classics. The book was put together by the Hobart and Launceston Red Cross Connected Women’s Groups, which bring together local and migrant women to build social connections. Zelah, a contributor from Fiji with Indian heritage, shared her family recipe for Fijian Indian Dhal and the multicultural journey it represents. “I made sure their first ‘solid’ food my daughters ate was Dhal, as it held a symbolic significance as a dish passed on from my Mum and I wanted to carry on the cultural traditions with my daughters. I hope you enjoy making our Dhal recipe with your family and friends and connecting with conversations that make enduring friendships.” The Multicultural Cookbook is for sale at the Ho­bart Red Cross and would make a great Christmas gift!

Multicultural Cookbook cooks, Isabel from Chile and Cholpon from Kyrgystan

E-CHEAPER E-BIKES FOR TASMANIANS  Tasmanian e-bike buyers can get a helping hand from the government through a $200,000 e-bike and e-scooter rebate scheme that covers up to 12% of the cost of a bike. Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Roger Jaensch, said “Tas­mania’s Climate Change Action Plan includes actions to reduce emissions from our transport sector by increasing the uptake of electric vehicles, and public and active transport. The Govern­ment’s e-Transport package will provide rebates on the purchase of electric vehicles and e-mobility devices such as e-bikes, as well as interest free loans for home chargers.” To be eligible for a rebate you must be Tasmanian and have purchased an e-bike or cargo e-bike from a Tasmanian retailer after 17 November. The rebates are not available for businesses. Rebates of up to $500 are available for standard e-bikes and up to $1000 for cargo e-bikes. This means on a $4000 e-bike a rebate of $480 would be available or on a $8000 e-cargo bike it would be $960. The rebates will be available in four rounds with $50,000 in rebates available in each round. Round 1 starts on 17 November, Round 2 on 17 December, Round 3 on 17 January and Round 4 on 17 February.

IT’S CRUISE SHIP SEASON, BABY  After some quiet covid years the cruise sector has well and truly come back with a vengeance, with nearly 300,000 cruise ship passengers expected to visit the island this year. Michael Fergu­son, the state Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, said that TasPorts was expecting a bumper season, largely due to the in­troduction of two new major cruise brands to Australia and each has multiple calls booked at Tasmania. “The 2023-2024 season will see the introduction of Virgin Voyages and Disney to the Australian market,” he said. “The new lines are scheduled to de­liver a total of 21 calls to Tasmanian Ports during the 2023-2024. Based on the current booking schedule, a total of 159 cruise calls are forecast to visit Tasmania during the 2023-2024 season, car­rying approximately 287,000 passengers and 124,000 crew.” The 2023-2024 season commenced on 20 September with the arrival of the Pacific Adventure in Hobart. Approximately 50 percent of cruise calls dock in regional ports outside of Hobart.

NEW NETTY MURAL  Our national netball team, the Australian Diamonds, have been immortalised in Hobart with a mural at the Hobart Netball and Sports Centre. The mural was commissioned by Netball Australia and painted by Tasmanian artist Joel Gajda, and features World Cup Diamonds captain Liz Watson and local Tasmanian netball hero Ash Mawer. It commemorates the Diamonds’ historic matches in Hobart recently.

Liz Watson with Liz Watson. Pic: IG

ALL ABOARD! THE WEST COAST RAILWAY REOPENS FOR SUMMER  The iconic West Coast Wilderness Railway officially reopened last month, just in time for the busy holiday season. The train is the last of the four remaining original Mt Lyell and Mining Railway Co steam locomotives to return to service on the railway. Services are running from Queenstown five days a week with services from Strahan to follow once bridge work is completed. The section of line between Lynchford and Lower Landing, which includes the famous rack railway, will remain closed over the summer while works continue. To book tickets, head to to

NEW WASTE STRATEGY  A new waste and resource recovery strategy for the state was released last fortnight, setting out a framework to reduce the generation of waste, boost recycling and resource recovery and to point Tasmania towards a more circular economy. It’s hoped the strategy will help develop a better understanding of use, reuse, repair and resource flows in the state. It can be checked out at

PROPOSED NEW FERRY SITES FLOATED FOR DERWENT RIVER  Getting to work on a ferry and avoiding congested roads sounds like a perfect start to the work day and a closer reality for more people in Hobart with the release of a draft masterplan for the expansion of the Derwent river ferry services.

The premier, Jeremy Rockliff, said, “Careful analysis of 33 sites from New Norfolk to Woodbridge to Nubeena has determined the locations of six new sites in addition to the existing Hobart and Bellerive locations.” The draft masterplan proposes new sites at Lindisfarne, Howrah, Wilkinsons Point, Sandy Bay, Regatta Point and Kingston Beach.

While this is great for commuters and residents in these areas, some parts of Hobart have been left out of the plan. Brighton is one of Tasmania’s fastest growing municipalities and is not currently home to one of the proposed sites. Brighton Mayor Leigh Gray expressed disappointment and frustration at the masterplan, saying the masterplan ignores the needs of communities outside the inner-metro area of Hobart. “The issue of isolation, lack of public transport options and transport poverty is far greater for our communities than it is for any of the communities to be served by the new ferry service sites identified in the Plan,” said Mayor Gray. “Our society is spending close to $1 billion on a new bridge (Bridgewater Bridge), yet we appear to be missing the opportunity to use it as the catalyst to connect up bus and ferry options to provide a better future for our people,” Mayor Gray said. “It seems even more short-sighted when you consider we have such high residential growth and the govern­ment are supporting the construction of hundreds of affordable and public homes here, including through Homes Tasmania.”

Following consultation, more planning will be undertaken, including develop­ment of a more detailed timeline and a preferred next site for an expanded network. To have your say, visit Feedback is open until Monday, 8 January 2024.

Derwent Ferries


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June 2024

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