Hobart Waterfront Renewal - Morrison Street

Design Feature
Type of Project
Local Government Initiative

Hobart’s Waterfront, like many dockside areas around the world, is changing from a working port to a place for people. Once dominated by sea freight and shipping activities, the wharves are now used for education, the arts and tourism uses. The waterfront has become Hobart’s premier destination for festivals, with annual icon events like Dark Mofo and Taste of Tasmania and the weekly Salamanca Market attracting crowds.  

A premier destination 

The Morrison Street project provides a new movement network for the community, featuring a generous pedestrian and bicycle connection between two sides of the waterfront - Franklin Wharf and Salamanca.  

The project was planned, designed and implemented by the City of Hobart’s Infrastructure Team and completed in two stages by December 2016.  The project aimed to shift the emphasis away from vehicle traffic and carparking, in favour of providing more public open space and a greater level of infrastructure, amenity and support encouraging pedestrian activity and locals to spend more time in this special waterfront place.   

The Morrison Street project emerged from the 2009 Jan Gehl and Associates report that collected and analysed urban life data in Hobart’s CBD and waterfront.  Hobart – A City with People in Mind, noted that the waterfront was dominated by cars and highlighted an opportunity to “strengthen the waterfront as a people place”.   

The Gehl report was used to identify the key transformative directions for the City of Hobart to work towards over the next 20 years.  Community input was sought and used to prioritise a suite of projects – which became the Inner City Action Plan (ICAP). Improving pedestrian connectivity around Hobart’s waterfront with a continuous shared promenade was identified as a priority project. 

The project transforms the once car dominated thoroughfare into a place with a comfortable and safe space for walking and cycling with high quality seating to encourage people to rest, interact, view the water and generally take in the atmosphere. Morrison Street is a peopled, active space providing the primary walking link between destinations such as Constitution Dock and Hunter Street. It includes the University Arts Centre, major hotels and cruise ship terminal to destinations at the southern end of the Cove, Princess Wharf, Salamanca Place and the University’s waterfront campus.  

The heart of Hobart entices visitors to walk and cycle
The heart of Hobart entices visitors to walk and cycle

The project has also extended the existing Inner-City Cycleway towards Salamanca and Battery Point. This has created a continuous, generous pedestrian and bicycle promenade through Hobart’s waterfront precinct, and provided a continuous off-road route from Salamanca to MONA – a major private art gallery and destination north of the waterfront.  

The premier Hobart destination is well used by residents and visitors alike
The premier Hobart destination is well used by residents and visitors alike

The project has provided quality public spaces for community enjoyment, while pedestrian connectivity across the Cove has been greatly improved. The effect has been a reignited sense of community pride and place in the waterfront area. The place now welcomes visitors, encourages social interaction and supports community events and festivals. 

The design supports local events that occur throughout the year.  A wide footpath adjacent to Parliament Gardens with relocatable bollards becomes a temporary taxi rank when the road network closes for the annual Taste of Tasmania and Dark Mofo festivals.  Furniture conceals power outlets for events and buskers during busy festivals such as the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, the street lights are programmable to allow for event lighting, and a community poster pole houses the new electrical switch board.   

Project Team 

  • City of Hobart 
  • GHD 
  • Street and Garden Furniture 
  • CDM Research 
  • Michael Small (access) 
  • JMG, TasNetworks 
  • Spectran (Construction (Stage 1)  
  • City of Hobart (Construction (Stage 2)  

Project Cost 

Approximately $3.1 million 

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