Located in Tasmania, the island just off the south east coast of Australia, Launceston has long been vaunted as one of Australia’s most beautiful spots. Here are 7 mind blowing facts about Launceston.
1. Launceston still has its Victorian buildings
Launceston is famous for still having its prominent Victorian architecture which adds greatly to the beauty of the town and gives Launceston a special kind of character that isn’t seen in other parts of Australia. Indeed, there are many that believe that Launceston should be the capital of Tasmania rather than Hobart due to its wonderful architecture and historical buildings. Some examples of the fantastic late nineteenth/early twentieth century designs are Holyman House and Lucks Corner in the Central Business District, the former Launceston General Hospital and the former Star Theatre.
2. Launceston was the first to get sewers in Australia
Although it was the third city in the world to be served by underground sewers, Launceston can lay claim to being the first city in Australia to have them installed. The other two cities were Paris and London. Launceston is indeed a city of firsts in Australia, whether this was the mainland government’s way of using Tasmania and Launceston as proverbial Guinea Pigs for testing out new fangled and crazy ideas, we may never know. Launceston’s sewer system was finished in 1860, and has been in use ever since.
3. Launceston is a pioneer of the early Australian Railways.
The first railway on Tasmania was opened between Launceston and the town of Deloraine. As said before, the remarkable fact that Launceston was the site of a great number of firsts puts this town in the upper echelons of the history books. The first crossing of the bass strait was made from Launceston, that’s something to think about when leaving Launceston flying to Sydney.
4. First X Ray Photographs were produced in Launceston.
The department of radiology at the Launceston General Hospital can proudly boast of being the longest running in the southern hemisphere. Frank Styant Browne, a photographer, successfully demonstrated the first X-Ray photographs in 1896 and spearheaded an entirely new way of looking at the human body. This achievement is just one in a long line of important first times in the southern hemisphere.
5. The first settlement of Launceston was in 1804.
Launceston was an important place in the early 19th century. The region of Launceston was the site of a British Garrison under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William Paterson. As a result of Paterson’s involvement, the settlement became known as Patersonia but later changed it to Launceston in honour of New South Wales governor Captain Philip Gidley King, who was born in Launceston, Cornwall.
6. The first city to be powered entirely by Hydro-Electricity
Launceston was the first city to receive the benefits of being lit entirely by Hydro-Electricity. The Duck Reach power station used the South Esk river to generate the power of Hydro Electricity on the 10 December 1895. The Duck Reach facility continued to supply Launceston with Hydro Electricity until the construction of the Travallyn Dam and subsequent Power Station rendered Duck Reach redundant. Today, Duck Reach is now a museum and monument to the first city in the southern hemisphere to employ Hydro Electrics.
7. The first city to use AnaestheticS in an operation.
Doctor William Russ Pugh was the first surgeon to operate using an Anaesthetic in Launceston in 1847. In the Northern hemisphere the use of Aneasthetic was becoming the norm but down under the southern hemisphere, Australia was wary of its effect. This first time wasn’t the last and now anesthetic is used in operations all over the world. These are all firsts for the southern hemisphere but other Launceston firsts include the first hotel, the first bank, the first unofficial use of a telephone and Launceston was also the birthplace of Australian Golf.