I finally got a chance to check out the action and festivities at the Royal Hobart Regatta yesterday and it certainly didn’t disappoint, a great day out for all the family.
The Royal Hobart Regatta began in 1838 and consists of a series of aquatic competitions and displays held annually ever since making it Tasmania’s oldest sporting event. The regatta runs for three days, ending on the second Monday in February, and dominates the whole river for the duration of the event.
It was begun by the then Governor of Tasmania, Sir John Franklin. Back in the early days, Franklin provided free food and beer for all of the spectators, and the tradition of free entry continues to this day (The tradition of free food and beer alas does not). The Monday was declared as a public holiday by the governor, and is now the oldest public holiday still continuing in Australia.
The regatta is held in grounds known as the “Regatta Ground” at the Queens Domain along the western side of the River Derwent. The grounds are now dominated by the Hobart Cenotaph, a war memorial to Tasmania’s war dead.
It is normally well attended by public and competitors and is usually well supported by the Royal Australian Navy, which sends a warship to be a flagship for the regatta, this year the HMAS Stuart was on hand to lend its support to the event and keep a long tradition alive.
Some of the notable events that took place at the regatta this year were a return by the powerboats after a two-year hiatus, jet skis, sideshows, rides, rowing races, woodchopping, yacht racing, a Regatta Boy/Girl Pageant and the traditional fireworks on Monday night.
It was a scorcher of a day on Monday with the main grandstand providing some much needed shade for those attending on the day. There were events taking place throughout the regatta grounds with a fun fair on site to keep the kids entertained, while the adults checked out the festivities around the site. It was easy enough to get about and I managed to fit in most of the events on the agenda for the day. I had to head home in the late afternoon but was delighted to be able to catch the fireworks display from Mount Nelson later in the evening.
It’s great being able to experience traditions like this in Hobart and indeed in any new place for that matter. Here’s hoping this event keeps going for many more years.