Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Launceston is a small city in the north of Tasmania, Australia, population of approximately 98,000, located at the juncture of the North Esk , South Esk , and Tamar rivers. Like many Australian cities and towns, it was named after a town in the United Kingdom - in this case, Launceston, Cornwall. (Note, however, that while the English Launceston is pronounced "Lawnson" or "Lawnston", the Australian one is pronounced "LON-cess-ton.")
Europeans originally settled at the mouth of the Tamar River at George Town in 1804; however moved to the present site of Launceston in 1805. As such, it is Australia's third oldest city (after Sydney and the state capital, Hobart) and has a lot of historical buildings and sights.
Launceston was once the home of John Batman (see History of Melbourne). From Launceston, Batman planned and designed the city of Melbourne, and in 1834 he sailed with John Pascoe Faulkner across Bass Strait to settle at Port Phillip, Victoria. Note: The spelling of John Batman's name is Bateman in some literature.
Geography and landmarks
Launceston serves as the commercial hub for the north of the state and, like many parts of Tasmania, is a major tourist centre. Some points of attraction are:
- The Cataract Gorge, a natural wonder of Tasmania and only five minutes walk from the city
- The City Park, which includes an enclosure for Japanese Macaque monkeys, a gift from the sister-city of Ikeda, Japan
- The Tamar Valley , which is home to some of Australia's best vineyards
- The Boags Brewery, which produces one of Australia's premium beers.
Launceston is the home of York Park, which is the state's only first-class sports ground equipped with lights for evening games. As a result, two of the Melbourne teams, Hawthorn and St Kilda, have agreed to play a small number of AFL (Australian football) games there each year.
The Launceston General Hospital is one of 3 major public hospitals in the state.
Launceston is the hub for the state's medical retrieval service. The Royal Flying Doctor Service is serviced by the state's ambulance service, and doctors from the Launceston General Hospital.
The University of Tasmania has a large campus close to the city, at Newnham. The Australia Maritime College is located on the grounds.
Launceston is the hub of five of the states major highways:
- The Midlands Highway, the primary route to Hobart
- The Bass Highway, the primary route to Devonport and Burnie
- The Tasman Highway, the alternate scenic route to Hobart via Scottsdale and the east coast .
- The West Tamar Highway and East Tamar Highway , on either side of the Tamar River.
Culture, sport, notable achievements
Launceston was the home of several firsts:
- first use of anaesthetic in Southern Hemisphere
- first Australian city to have underground sewers
- first Australian city to be lit by hydro-electricity
- longest single span chairlift in the world at The Gorge
- first laminated tennis racket
- first use of two way radios in taxis
- first shopping mall in Australia
- first breeding of seahorses in captivity, in the world
There is heated (but friendly) rivalry between residents of Launceston and the southern capital Hobart. The AFL games mentioned above are an example—Hobart residents are disappointed about missing out—while Hobart hosts all National level Cricket games in the state at the Bellerive Oval.
Launceston was recently the home of the Gone South music festival.
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