If you are looking for a place to experience the history and charm of Hobart, the capital and largest city of Tasmania, Australia, you might want to visit Arthur Circus, a historic and charming circle of cottages in the suburb of Battery Point.
Arthur Circus is one of the oldest and most intact examples of a planned “circus” in Australia and one of the most sought-after and protected heritage sites in Tasmania.
The circle of 16 Georgian cottages, built in the 1840s and 1850s, offers a glimpse into the lives and stories of the early settlers and workers of Hobart, as well as a scenic and convenient location to explore the nearby attractions and landmarks.
In this blog post, I will share with you some of the history, features, and attractions of Arthur Circus, as well as some tips and information on how to visit it.
The history of Arthur Circus
Arthur Circus was named after Lieutenant Governor George Arthur, who acquired the land in 1829 in dubious circumstances.
Henry Jennings, a merchant and land speculator, had bought the land very cheaply from Robert Knopwood’s creditors, and sold it almost immediately to Arthur, who would have realised that his planned waterfront developments would dramatically increase the land value.
In 1847, Arthur decided to sell the land by auction and subdivided it into 16 allotments arranged around a circular park.
The auctioneer, John Charles Stracey, advertised the land as “the most eligible building sites in the town” and predicted that “this neighborhood will inevitably become The Resort of the Beau Monde”.
However, the land was not sold to the wealthy and fashionable but to the working-class and modest, who built small and simple cottages on the lots.
For over 100 years, the cottages of Arthur Circus housed large families whose livelihood depended on the waterfront.
They were mostly sailors, whalers, shipwrights, and merchants who faced many challenges and dangers in their work and life.
Some of the residents were also former convicts who tried to make a new start in the colony.
Among them was William Buckley, who had escaped from a penal settlement in Victoria in 1803 and lived among the Aboriginal people for 32 years before returning to European society.
He later came to Hobart and is believed to have been living in Arthur Circus at the time of his death in 1856.
Arthur Circus is one of the oldest and most historic structures in Hobart, and it reflects the city’s heritage and culture.
It is also a testament to the vision and contribution of Arthur and his contemporaries, as well as the resilience and community of the residents and their descendants.
The features and attractions of Arthur Circus
Arthur Circus is located at the end of Kelly Street in Battery Point, and it leads to Hampden Road and Runnymede Street.
The cottages are made of sandstone and brick, and they have a steeply pitched pyramidal roof.
The cottages are mostly painted in white, cream, or pastel colors, and they have a small front garden with flowers and plants.
The cottages are surrounded by a circular park, which has a playground, a fountain, and a bench.
Arthur Circus is a popular and charming attraction for tourists and locals alike, as it offers a unique and authentic way to experience Hobart.
You can walk around the circle and admire the architecture and the atmosphere of the cottages.
You can also learn more about the history, stories, and achievements of the residents and their descendants, as well as the challenges and dangers they faced.
Some of the cottages have plaques or signs that provide some information about their history and occupants.
You can also explore the nearby areas, such as Battery Point and Salamanca Place, which are full of cafes, restaurants, shops, galleries, and markets.
You can also visit some of the nearby attractions and landmarks, such as the Henry Jones Art Hotel, the IXL Jam Factory, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Kelly’s Steps, and the Hobart waterfront.
How to visit Arthur Circus
Arthur Circus is open to the public every day, and it is free to access. You can easily reach it by public transport, car, bike, or foot, as it is close to the city center and the Salamanca Market.
You can also join a guided tour, such as the Battery Point History Walk, which runs daily at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, and lasts for about 90 minutes.
The tour will take you to Arthur Circus, as well as other attractions and landmarks in Battery Point.
You can spend as much time as you like at Arthur Circus, but I recommend at least 15 minutes to walk around the circle and to admire the scenery and the architecture of the cottages.
You can also take some photos and videos of the cottages, as they are very photogenic and Instagram-worthy.
However, please be respectful and mindful when visiting the cottages, as they are private residences, and they are also protected by heritage laws.
Please do not enter or disturb the cottages or their occupants, and please do not damage or litter the cottages or the park.
Why you should visit Arthur Circus
Arthur Circus is a historic and charming circle of cottages in Hobart, and it is a great way to discover the city and its attractions.
You will not only see the sights but also learn about the history, culture, and nature of Hobart and Tasmania.
You will also have the opportunity to interact with the locals and the visitors and experience the city’s vibe and charm. Arthur Circus is more than just a circle of cottages, it is a destination.
I hope this blog post has given you an overview of what Arthur Circus is, and how to visit it. Whether you are a local or a visitor, you will find something to enjoy and appreciate at Arthur Circus.