As I stood in the small circular park in the centre of Arthur Circus it reminded me of an English village green. A magnificent oak tree draped in rich autumn foliage enhanced the image. A man and his dog came out of one of the colonial cottages and we struck up a conversation. He pointed to an ugly grey, square box of a three-story apartment block just in the street behind his cottage.
“This area was very close to being all like that” he said
That night I checked it out on Google…
During the 1930’s this suburb had become very run down and had a seedy reputation.
In 1948 “The Cook Plan” was put forward, it was a radical scheme of urban renewal which involved tearing down all the old buildings and replacing them with “modern” blocks. Fortunately this was rejected due to the cost involved.
A group of residents formed the “Battery Point Progress Association” to protest against the plan. The areas charm was beginning to be recognized.
In the 1950’s a massive redevelopment was threatened. The developers began to circle like a flock of vultures. The residents and developers came into open conflict. The council tried to implement a scheme to radically change Battery Point, but a group of residents fought the change and eventually in 1967 a planning scheme for Battery Point was prepared and after much consultation and many changes it was put in place in 1979.
In 1979 the Battery Point Planning Scheme marked a milestone by identifying and protecting the precinct of Battery Point as a townscape, not just individual places. The tenor of this unique planning scheme responds to the way the place evolved and guides future change in a way that retains cultural integrity.
Since then, Battery Point has become nationally and internationally recognised as a heritage destination. The 76ha area was listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1980 for its: “Defined geographical unity which has ensured its preservation as a homogeneous historic precinct”.
Between 1967 and 1979 many battles were fought by developers. Most were rejected but a few reached the planning stage and received building permits. This ugly apartment block was one that got through.
Thank goodness “People Power” prevailed. Battery Point and the adjoining Salamanca Markets are now one of the most prized tourist attractions in Hobart.
I would rather live in this delightful, photogenic colonial cottage than the square, soulless apartment with no garden and neighbours on all sides. Which do you prefer?