Historians honour milestone event

LOCAL historians Reg Watson and Tony Hope have banded together to pay tribute to an important historical milestone – the first British settlement in Tasmania.

In a small ceremony held at the Bowen Memorial at Risdon Cove, they marked the 214th anniversary of the landing of Lieutenant John Bowen and 48 other settlers.

Mr Watson said this was the first time in many years such a tribute had been undertaken.

“It is an extremely historical site, so it is important that such a ceremony – though very low-key – is held,” he said.

“Bowen and the 1803 site have virtually been forgotten in favour of the Hobart settlement in 1804, so this is a timely and important reminder that this was where it first happened.

“It has been an honour to be part of this humble ceremony and I am so pleased to have participated.”

Mr Watson said the historical site was now sadly neglected.

“It really requires repair, as neglect and time have taken its toll,” he said.

“We are getting to the stage where the significance of the site and settlement is now being forgotten – this is a terrible shame and something really needs to be done to help restore the site.”

Caption: Local historians and authors Reg Watson, left, and Tony Hope at the Bowen Memorial.