Our history

Glenorchy is Tasmania’s fourth largest city, located in the Greater Hobart metropolitan area in Southern Tasmania. It is about 7 km north of Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart, and is nestled below the Wellington Range on the western shore of the River Derwent. 

Glenorchy means ‘glen of tumbling waters’ and the city is believed to have been named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie after his wife’s home in Scotland.

Tasmanian Aboriginals were the first inhabitants of the area where Glenorchy lies today.

Land grants in the Glenorchy area began in 1804, and by the 1820s it was occupied by farms and was a place of rural retreat from Hobart. The period between 1840 and 1860 was one of steady growth in Glenorchy, with the area becoming a municipality in 1864. 

Commercial orchards developed into a significant industry, and the first cool store was built in the 1880s. German farming immigrants settled about 10km west of Glenorchy at Bismark and Glenlusk. The railway was connected to Glenorchy in the 1870s, and the connection by tram to Hobart came in 1893.

After the first world war the Glenorchy district attracted two large industrial plants – the Electrolytic Zinc Company at Lutana, opposite Risdon, and the Cadbury chocolate factory at Claremont at the northern end of the municipality.

In 1952 the Brooker Highway from Hobart to Berriedale began giving motor car access to Glenorchy. It put pressure on congested shopping areas in Moonah and Glenorchy, and the Council undertook street-widening and off-street parking works. By 1964, when Glenorchy was proclaimed a city, more than 150 industrial sites employed in excess of 50,000 people. The last orchards were subdivided in 1972.

Today, the City of Glenorchy has the second largest shopping district in southern Tasmania and has three major commercial areas including Moonah, Glenorchy CBD and Claremont.