Tasmanian Aboriginals were the first inhabitants of Glenorchy, as the many middens along the banks of the Derwent (Teemtoomele Menennye to the Aboriginals) bear witness. Glenorchy was part of the area of the South East tribe, and some names of people living along the banks of the Derwent have been recorded: Menepackatamana and Monopeletto were men, and Tangaragootta was a woman.
The first white man to set eyes on Glenorchy was a Frenchman, a member of Bruni D'Entrecasteaux's crew, in 1793. Two months later an English expedition arrived, under John Hayes.
Hayes sailed up the river which he called the Derwent. He named Prince of Wales Bay and called the area around New Town and Moonah, King George's Plains. Hayes named the Glenorchy area New Cumberland.
Six years later in 1799, Bass also explored the Glenorchy area. Another French expedition arrived in 1802 under Baudin.
A fear of a French settlement was one of the reasons why Governor King sent Lt. Gov. Bowen to establish a settlement at Risdon Cove on the eastern shore of the Derwent River. The settlement was moved over the river to what is now Sullivans Cove. Soon after, free settlers were granted land to the north around New Town Rivulet, the land now known as Moonah and New Town. Around Humphreys Rivulet another settlement grew and was also known as O'Briens Bridge and Kensington. Today this is the central business district of Glenorchy.
The 1840s and 1850s were periods of steady growth in Glenorchy, culminating in the area becoming a municipality in 1864. Glenorchy is believed to have been so named by Gov. Lachlan Macquarie after his wife's home in Scotland. The name means 'glen of tumbling waters'.
City status was given to Glenorchy on 24th October 1964, exactly one hundred years after it was first proclaimed a municipality. The City of Glenorchy is Tasmania's fourth largest city and home to over 44, 000 people.
With a land area of 120 sq kms (12,000 hectares), the city offers residents a wide range of housing options with a choice of urban or semi-rural settings.
The City of Glenorchy lies on the west bank of the Derwent River, north of Hobart. It extends from New Town Rivulet in the south to the Black Snake Rivulet in the north, and consists mainly of undulating plains, rising steeply in the west to a line of hills.
The dominant physical features of Glenorchy are the Derwent River and the Wellington Range in the background.
Economic growth has always been a hallmark of Glenorchy. In the early days the district had strong agricultural and horticultural bases and the beginnings of an emerging industrial sector.
Today a wide range of industry gives the city a diverse economic base from metal refining and fabrication to retailing, footwear, confectionery and other food manufacting.
Zinifex, Cadbury's and Incat represent the City's major established industries.
Glenorchy is also the State's leading centre for high technology enterprise.
Glenorchy City's Coat of Arms
City status was given to Glenorchy on 24th October 1964. The College of Heraldry in Britain officially approved the City's Coat of Arms and Armorial Bearings in 1970. The Coat of Arms depicts the underlying character and identity of the City. The cogwheels and the plough represent strength in industry and agriculture. The white horse is symbolic of recreation and the City's importance as the horse racing centre of the State. The Tasmanian tiger and the white backed magpie are indigenous to the City and the State. The gold cross represents the church which provided a focus for the early villages which formed the foundation of Glenorchy City.
There are two books available on the history of Glenorchy.
Glenorchy 1804-1964, by Alison Alexander, 1986 $22.00 plus postage and handling
Glenorchy 1964-1998, by Alison Alexander, 1998 $38.50 plus postage and handling
Both volumes are available for a special price of $55.00 plus postage and handling. Contact Glenorchy City Council for further information.