Club history

The Hobart Walking Club began with a meeting convened on 12th November 1929 by Evelyn T Emmett, the Director of the Tasmanian Government Tourist Bureau. The result was a membership of seventy enthusiastic men and women. In 1929 the Club ran official walks about once a fortnight. Membership grew quickly, especially from the 1960s, then peaked near 1200 members in the 1990s, by which time other walking clubs were forming in southern Tasmania. The Club now has over 800 members with walks nearly every day of the year. When the Club started, skiing was more popular than walking in the colder months, but now the main activities are bushwalking and cycling, with regular kayaking. Members have arranged other related activities at times, such as caving, rockclimbing, canoeing, especially from the 1960s.

Club members were at the forefront of bushwalking exploration in Tasmania, some having been involved in this before the Club formed. Members pioneered routes to many places, including the main sections of the Three Capes Walk, and the routes to the Western Arthurs and Federation Peak.  As part of Tasmania’s Sesquicentenary celebrations, several Club Members walked, with difficulty through thick scrub, the route taken in 1842 by Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin (Tasmania’s Governor and wife) from the Lyell Highway to Macquarie Harbour, for which each participant was awarded the Anniversary Medal by the Minister for Lands. At the time of the 1958 Olympic Games several members carried the Olympic flame from Derwent Bridge on the Lyell Highway to the top of Tasmania’s Mt. Olympus.

Numerous huts and safety shelters were built by Club members until the 1970s, some of which have been converted to public huts, e.g. Luckman Hut on Mt. Wellington. The Club is part owner of the ski-tows at Mt. Field that commenced in 1958. Club Members provided the names for many places in the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, and many tracks have been built and maintained by Club members. The Club now works on track maintenance with government agencies. The Club has worked to forward bushwalking interests in Tasmania at the governmental level through Bushwalking Tasmania and its predecessors since the 1960s.

Search and Rescue operations in Tasmania have been part of HWC’s activities since organised Searches and Rescues began. On many occasions HWC members were the only available people with the knowledge and skills to look successfully for people lost in the Tasmanian bush. More recently the State Emergency Service trains its own volunteer searchers, but volunteer HWC members are called in for many of the more difficult searches.

Since 1933 the Club has published the journal “The Tasmanian Tramp” every two years. At first it was a publication sent interstate and overseas to encourage walking tourism in Tasmania. Gradually it has become  more oriented towards Club Members, providing a long record of Club activities and attitudes.

The 56 page booklet “Hobart Walking Club Inc. A Record of 81 Years 1929 – 2010”  is available here.

In 2019, to acknowledge the 90th Anniversary of the Hobart Walking Club, recollection and memories about the Club were sought from members and compiled in a slideshow.  The ‘Did You Know‘ slideshow is available here.

First outing of the Hobart Walking Club
30 November 1929

First outing of the Hobart Walking Club 30 November 1929

First outing of the Hobart Walking Club 30 November 1929