Virtual Hobart Town


Virtual Hobart Town is an interactive digital experience that explores the capital of Van Diemen’s Land during the colonial period.  The experience is aimed at students, visitors and locals who would like to know more about the history of our city, and would like to see this information in a visual format.  Virtual Hobart Town is presented as a series of images, videos and a fully immersive Virtual Reality experience using VR Goggles.

The fly-throughs and interactive experiences are based on a highly detailed 3D digital model of 1820s Hobart Town.  This digital model  consists of over 500 buildings, recreated from extensive historic research utilising historic maps, artworks, photos, newspaper articles and convict records.  

Virtual Hobart Town is populated with historic characters from Van Diemen’s Land.  As you explore the town you will meet the people who laid the foundations of our city; Governors, administrators, soldiers, merchants, sailors, settlers and convicts.  Some of these characters have left their mark on the present city through place and street names (Macquarie, Collins, Kelly), others designed and built the buildings that give Hobart it's famous Georgian character.  With digital technology we can explore these connections and tie multiple stories together, allowing us to walk in the footsteps of these characters, and to view historic artefacts in context.

The Vision

Virtual Hobart Town wasn’t built in a day, in fact the experience is still under construction.  It is planned to model the development of Hobart at different time intervals, illustrating how the city has developed over the last 200 years.  

Hobart Town 1828

The current model illustrates Hobart Town in 1828, an exciting period in our history.  The British had first settled on the River Derwent only 25 years earlier.  Governor Arthur controls the colony of Van Diemen's Land with an iron fist, a necessary approach when one third of his population are convicts - soldiers and chain gangs are common sites in the town.  Prison escapes and runaway convicts are a constant threat, a threat curtailed by the removal of problem convicts to the dreaded Macquarie Harbour and the occasional hanging at the Hobart Town Gaol.

Hobart Town is separated from the old world by a great distance, but the town is far from isolated, ships regularly arrive from all around the world, bringing goods from England, Cape Town, Brazil, India and China.  Recently arrived settlers are starting to make their mark, Colonial Architect John Lee Archer has just released his plans for the harbour, merchants are developing industries that will create huge wealth for a lucky few, substantial buildings are beginning to line Hobart’s streets. 

Much of the island is now claimed by European settlers, especially the most productive land, displacing the Aboriginal population and leaving lower quality land for new settlers, leading to growing unrest in the interior.  


A new day dawns in Hobart Town, representing new opportunities and new challenges for the settlers, merchants  and convicts that call Hobart Town home.

© 2020 Digital Heritage Studio PTY LTD.