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Launceston City Park - A Brief History

1827 The land was used to house Launceston's Government House.

1838 First recorded meeting of the Launceston Horticultural Society. Founded under the patronage of Governor Franklin.

1841 Known as People's Park, a small fee was charged for entry.

1842 The park's 7 acres leased for a public garden "to improve the physical, moral and spiritual condition of the urban dweller".

1850 Gardens of the Government Cottage (located in the park) handed to Launceston Horticultural Society for management.

1863 The gardens are given to Launceston Council as a public park.

1878 Crowds gather to witness Launceston's first air balloon ascent.

1880 A small zoo established by William McGowan. Comprised of indigenous mammals, a bear, exotic birds including Macaws, and monkeys.

 1887 Superintendent's Cottage built at Tamar Street entrance.

1888 The park regularly used for small performances. George Webb opens the Columbia Ice Skating Rink.

1891 Albert Hall built to house the Tasmanian Industrial Exhibition. A carnival led by over 200 Chinese in traditional costume is put on by the City & Suburb Improvement Association.

1897 Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee is commemorated with the Children's Jubilee Fountain installed at the main entrance.

1899 Before departing local Boer War troops rallied in the Park before its departure in and in 1904 the Boer War Memorial was unveiled, crafted by local stone mason Sylvanus Wilmot.

1902 King Edward the VII accession celebrated with competition to design entrance coronation gates – won by Alexander North.

1907 Public screenings of very early motion pictures. Hosted Caledonian Society’s Grand Concert, St Joseph’s and City Band’s Grand Continental, music and vaudeville performances.

1908 The Rotunda sees regular Sunday afternoon performances by numerous local bands.

1933 John Hart’s bequest allowed the John Hart Memorial Conservatory to replace the old glasshouse.

1960 Little Toot begins the tradition of train rides around the park.

1965 Launceston becomes sister city with Ikeda, Japan and is given the gift of an exhibit of Japanese macaques.

1979 Zoo closed and new Monkey Island developed and designed by William Gourlay. Officially opened in the following year. Today The park is recognised as one of Australia’s top ten parks and ranks as the second most popular location in the region. It has earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Launceston City Park continues to play a vital role in the culture of the local community, hosting several iconic events:

  • Carols by Candlelight
  • Symphony Under the Stars
  • Festivale

Historic images courtesy Collection: Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery

Festivale is proudly supported by:
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Event Manager (03) 6334 9990 or 0418 819 696   EMAIL eventmanager@festivale.com.au
Website by Walker Designs ©2019

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