Centre for Continuing Education

Classic Journeys: Van Diemen's Land

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Colonial Tasmania was once known as Van Diemen’s Land. For some, the life was good, for others not so. Yet communities survived and later prospered. Lachlan Macquarie, governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821 visited his small island colony twice, travelling the route between Launceston and Hobart, naming most of the places along the way. We explore the early history of the colony and join the Governor as he journeys across this most distant outpost of the British Empire. We then travel across Van Diemen’s Land to visit the rugged west coast and Macquarie Harbour before completing our journey in modern-day Hobart.


At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Have an appreciation for the founding of Van Diemen’s Land.
  2. Accompany the two journeys by Governor Macquarie.
  3. Have visited a number of colonial penal sites.
  4. Have visited a number of colonial settlements and historic houses.


This course covers the following topics:


  • Early maritime explorers.
  • Securing the colony against the French.
  • Risdon Cove, David Collins founds Hobart.


  • Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie.
  • Hobart, Battery Point, Narynya, New Norfolk.
  • Mount Nelson, Epping Forest, Cleveland.
  • Launceston, Cataract Gorge.
  • Tamar Valley, Port Dalrymple, George Town.


  • Davey, Sorrell.
  • Woolmers, Brickendon.
  • Exploring the historic Norfolk Plains Villages.
  • Longford, Entally Estate, Perth, Campbell Town, Ross .
  • Oatlands, Kempton, Richmond.


  • Penitentiary Chapel.
  • Russell Falls, Lake St. Clair, Queenstown.
  • Strahan, Macquarie Harbour, Sarah Island.
  • Waldheim, Sheffield.


  • The Black Line, Wybalenna, Augustus Robinson.
  • Franklin House, Evandale, John Glover.
  • Exploring Ben Lomond, Deddington, Clarendon.
  • East Coast, Dunalley, Eaglehawk Neck.
  • Port Arthur.


  • Exploring Mount Wellington, Cascade Brewery.
  • Ancanthe, Female Factory, Rokeby.


  • Hobart Salamanca Markets, St David’s Cathedral.
  • Runnymede, Theatre Royal, MONA, Trugannini.

Intended Audience

This history course is suitable for personal interest adult learners, university students and active retirees who are planning to visit Tasmania, or those who have a general interest in Tasmania.

Delivery Style

This course is structured using a mixture of visual powerpoint presentations, readings by participants, discussion and a class quiz to assist with personal retention of the course material.

Recommended Reading

  • The History of Tasmania, John West, Angus&Robertson, 1981.
  • A History of Tasmania, Vol I, Lloyd Robson, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1983.
  • Historic Tasmanian Sketchbook, Arthur Phillips & Patsy Adam Smith, Rigby Ltd, 1977.
  • Back to Hobart Town, Carol Jones, Macmillan Library, 2004.
  • Hobart Sketchbook, Patsy Adam Smith & Max Angus, Rigby, 1968.
  • The Tasmanian Story, Lloyd Robson, Oxford University Press Australia, 1988.
  • Shadow over Tasmania, Coultman Smith, Rigby, 1978.
  • The Architect King, George III And the culture of the Enlightenment, David Watkins, Royal Collection Publications, 2004.
  • Lachlan Macquarie, M.H. Ellis Angus & Robertson, 1958.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion
Classic Journeys: Van Diemen's Land
University of Sydney (Venue TBA)
$129 inc GST

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