The heart of historic Hobart is a place to unwind, people watch and remember Tasmania’s colonial past.
Franklin Square, with its towering oak trees, grassy knolls and central location, is a great spot to unwind and soak up the atmosphere of Hobart. Admire the surrounding historic buildings and think back to the city’s convict past when the square was a segregated area where convicts were gathered to be counted.
Bring a picnic and rest on a park bench or sit under the shade of an old oak tree. In the middle of the square is a statue of Sir John Franklin, the famed Arctic explorer and former governor of Tasmania after whom the square is named. Originally, the area was called George’s Square, after the King of England and it is the site of the first Government House.
Sit back and people watch and imagine the days when Tasmania was a convict colony of England. Hobart is one of the earliest British convict settlements in Australia and public assemblies were held in the square from 1817. Free men and women congregated on certain days of the week and convict men and woman were assembled on the other days to be counted.
Admire the surrounding historic buildings, including the Supreme Court and the Department of Premier and Cabinet. These were constructed during the whaling and wheat boom in Tasmania in the 1850s.
The surrounding oak trees were planted by colonists as reminders of England. When transportation of convicts finished in 1853, the assembly grounds were turned into a public park. Admire the limes, elders and elms, which were gradually added over the years.
The square is still a meeting place for lunchtime workers, public gatherings and political rallies. Relax on a bench for lunch, watch the gold fish swimming in the pond or play a game of chess with the locals on the giant outdoor chess set.
Franklin Square is located in Hobart's Central Business District, between Macquarie, Elizabeth and Davey Streets. The square is near all major shopping outlets and is the terminal for the Western and Southern services of Metro Tasmania. Public toilets are located in the park.