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A snapshot of our timeline...

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Did you know 'The Y' (YMCA) has been in Tasmania since 1854? Our volunteer board members (past and present) Keith Albiston, Colin Dennison, Geoff Long have prepared this post by piecing information together from our archives.




YMCA (of Hobart) Historical Timelines


1854 – Although a newspaper article suggests activity in 1853 it is generally accepted that the YMCA was first established in Hobart (this date appears in the records of the first World Conference in Paris, France in 1855), probably as a branch of London YMCA - this effort lapsed. First secretary was A W Birchall, who also played a part in forming the Launceston YMCA.


1878 - Rev. A N Somerville of the London YMCA visited Hobart to reform the Association. This effort lapsed, however, the

Premier W R Giblin and Mr Stevens and James C Paton were members of the Board who continued their interest when the Association was reformed in 1882.


1882 - April: Present Association is instituted. June 2nd the first Board was elected: the first President was Tasmanian Premier William R Giblin. First premises were four rooms above Flemings Shop on corner of Liverpool & Murray Streets. Activities including draughts, chess, reading room, prayer meetings, bible classes, evangelistic services, debating, lectures, and social functions. One of the first public services was the entertainment of 150 sailors from a visiting Japanese warship H.I.J.M. “Riujie”.


1883-1884 - First Annual Report 1982-83 showed ‘rooms were at the North Eastern corner of Liverpool and Murray Streets. Lectures were a valued means of rasing money and of interesting young men in the Association. Classes started for ‘Larrikan Boys’ and a committee was formed to meet emigrants at their ships.


1884-1885 - Move was made to rooms across the road to the South-West corner of Liverpool and Murray Streets only to move back the following year when the original premises were purchased for 2,750 pounds. First record of the Association providing aid to the unemployed. Ladies Group first formed.


1885 - The 4th Inter-Colonial Conference of YMCA of Australia and New Zealand was held in Hobart.


1886- Association purchased a building in Hobart


1887-1888 - Commencement of the Boy’s department – over 12 yo and under 18 yo – subscription of 4 pence per month


1888-1889 - The YMCA Ladies Committee is first formed. First ‘Public Tea’ attended by 400 people – subscribed by the ladies of the YMCA.


1889-1990 - Physical Department introduced and held in a government gym rented (at Anglesee Barracks?) one night a week for boy’s classes.


1894 – 1901 - Country Representatives were established in: Devonport, Fingal, Franklin, Gormanston, Kempton, Launceston, New Norfolk, Oatlands, Old Beach, Peppermint Bay, Queenstown, Ross, Strahan, St Helens, Taranna, Ulverstone, York Plains, Zeehan.


1897 Committees were Executive, Building, Finance, Gospel Mission, membership, Gospel Temperance, Social, Literary, and Physical.


1900 - YMCA moved to: Cnr Elizabeth and Liverpool Sts (Toplis Corner).


1903 - Monthly magazine started – called ‘The Outpost’ which mentions the existence of Hobart YMCA sports clubs (cricket, table tennis, cycling, lacrosse, billiards, paper chase (with hounds), quoits, orchestra, choir, harriers club, draughts, literary and debating society, social groups, bible class, reading room, glee club, ambulance and Battery Point Mission YMCA Branch.


Noted mention of the Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA) at 135 Bathurst St, Hobart


1904 – Lacrosse club formed. Mention of Missions to Southport and Hastings incl. use of Mission Band. First mention of a swimming club based at Domain baths. Mention of Mission at Glenora. Announcement that Mr Charles Davis had donated a block of land in Murray St, with 1000 pounds cash donation to assist in the building of new premises. In addition Mr Charles David bequeathed the lease income of a shop in Murray Street for 44 years to provide a continuous revenue.The Davis Family: Charles Davis, sons Charles Davis Jnr and Alfred Davis, grandson Noel Davis and great-grandson Geoff Davis were all YMCA directors and benefactors.


1905 – The Outpost mentions the existence of Hobart YMCA angling club and The Hobart YMCA held the Hobart Musical & Elecutionary Competitions: the first Eisteddfod held in Hobart. Also first mention of the Boy’s Training School (New Town). Mention of YMCA Hymn. Mission was held at Sorell.


Hobart Young Womens Christian Association new premises opened on the corner of Murray and Bathurst Streets.


1906 - Orchestra formed. Angling, camera, harriers, and quoits clubs formed.


1908 – Boy’s Work Department revived. Moved to a new building especially designed for the association. Followed by a period of difficulty.


1911 – A National Secretary Alex Jameson was appointed to Tasmania.

Special work for naval men was introduced. Inter-Association Tournament in Hobart: two hundred delegates and competitors from other part of Australia took part.


1911 – Inauguration of the Naval Services Department. Start of 1st Hobart Boy Scouts pack by YMCA.


1914 – Naval and Field Services Departments prominent and overshadowed ordinary activities. YMCA Centres for servicemen conducted at Ross, three at Claremont, Mt Nelson, the Wharf, and Collins St Hostel.

‘During the Great War (WW1) a State Organisation was set up with a secretary and by 1919 several Associations, especially in the Northern towns, were established and since have “had their little day and ceased to be”.

(Massey, J T). (Note. The exception being Launceston YMCA which continues in the new millennium as a strong organisation).


1916 – A YMCA Hut was erected at Claremont for the rehabilitation of returning soldiers from the Great War. Alex Jameson was appointed both State Secretary & National Secretary.


1918 – YMCA Military Hostel in Collins St opened.


1921 – YMCA purchased Temple House (cnr Argyle and Liverpool Sts, Hobart) adding a gymnasium. This site is occupied until 1973.


1923 – Further additions to TempleHouse, including residential, boys department, lounge and club rooms. Further additions constructed to provide Boys’ residential and Club facilities. Finance Appeal for a new Gymnasium.


1925 – 12th Inter-Association Australasian YMCA Tournament held in Hobart..


1926 – Mr EJ Pollard commenced work as General Secretary and retained the position for 28 years until 1954 – a remarkable period of service to one Association.


1928 – Education Department for Business Education for young men formed.


1931 - New Department added – YMCA Unemployed Youth’s Occupational Scheme: 300 enrolled, daily classes incorporating motor mechanics, commercial subjects, plus lectures in various other topics.


1932 – Hobart Children’s Court established in the YMCA building.


1939 – 1945 – YMCA of Hobart are deeply involved in providing services the war effort . YMCA Ladies Committee records (in State Archives) show that this committee was very active during WW11: troop farewell luncheons, and dinners at Brighton Camp, Wednesday evening dances for servicemen, daily afternoon teas served at the Hobart YMCA.


1946 – Eight members of the Hobart YMCA were presented with life membership at a victory thanksgiving ceremony. All exceeded 40 years of service. Post war beginnings with trained staff secured, re-vitalisation of boy’s clubs, newsboy’s clubs, public speaking, camps, 1st Hobart Scouts (their 35th Birthday) and Cubs.


1947 - Construction commenced at Temple House site of additions with the new building to be know as the YMCA War Memorial. Three huts are brought down from Brighton Army Camp & re-erected at Moonah for use as a suburban branch YMCA youth centre.


1951 - A special Service of Appreciation is conducted for Mr FL Langford for 50 years service.


1952 – Camp Carlton is purchased. A Memorial Tablet is unveiled at Temple House to commemorate service in WW 1 and WW 2.


1953 – First schoolboys camp at CampCarlton. Death of A C Peterson (member since 1908) who had served as Physical Director, General Secretary, Chairman of Naval and Field Service Committee and member of the Board.


1957 – First Leadership training course in conjunction with Hobart Christian Youth Council.


1961 - Lionel Kable passes away. He was a Youth Director at the Hobart YMCA: a Trophy for a deserving YMCA member is inaugurated in his name.


1964 - Cascade Neighbourhood YMCA formed in South Hobart. ‘Live Y’er’ Magazine begins publication.


1965 - Girls Department established. Cascades (South Hobart) YMCA and Lindisfarne YMCA suburban branches established.


1967 – Bushfires destroy Cascades Hall in Strickland Avenue, South Hobart. Establishment of Tasmanian Regional Council.


1968 - Highfield Hotel in Hobart purchased, but redevelopment did not proceed.


1970 - Central YMCA moved from Temple House to Sackville Street.


1971 - Constance Avenue Glenorchy facility Opens, with assistance from the Rotary organisation. A new premises was built with a gymnasium, 2 squash courts and a youth drop-in & fitness centre.


1973 - Tasmanian YMCA Regional Council (George Town, Launceston and Hobart YMCA’s) established. Final move from TempleHouse location after being there since 1922 to Sackville St. A three quarters of an acre block was purchased in Campbell St. Adoption of a branch structure: Lindisfarne, Central, Glenorchy, and CampCarlton. Other areas served with programmes this year were Sandy Bay, Talire Swimming Pool, Claremont & Kingston. Y Mobile commenced operations: initially used in Kingston. Mr Reginald G Blundstone is awarded Life Membership after 51 years of membership and dedicated service. He served for 18 years as a Director and 8 years as President.


1974 – Kingborough branch established. Claremont operations commenced.

Howrah branch commenced (became eastern Shore branch). Fire partially destroyed Sackville Street Centre in October, also destroyed were most of the records.


1975 – Les Hanslow joined the Hobart YMCA as a recreation officer in the Claremont area. The YMCA Swim Club included over 150 swimmers who lived on both sides of the river.

1976 – Central and Eastern Shore branch operations cease.

1977 – Les Hanslow is appointed Executive Director.

1978 – Sale of CampCarlton. Kingborough branch downgraded to a part-time operation.Final decision made to abandon Complex in central Hobart and to re-allocate appeal funds to Glenorchy Centre.


1979 – Extensions to Glenorchy Centre to include 3 squash courts, a fitness room and an equipment store, Activities commenced at New Norfolk.


1981 – This was described by the Manager Les Hanslow as ‘a solid year, with no spectacular advances, however, much good work was accomplished.’


1982 – YMCA of Hobart celebrated 100 years of continuous existence. Special Events included: Mr Geoff Davis MHA, great grandson of Mr Charles Davis unveiled a commemorative plaque at Centrepoint in Hobart, Tasmanian historian Mr Basil Rait arranged for an exhibition of YMCA photos at the ANZ Bank in Liverpool St, a commemorative Envelope and Special Post Marker, Fire of Friendship at Camp Carlton, a History of the Association was commissioned, and a Bush Dance was held at Glenorchy.

1983 – YMCA operations returned to satellite activities on the Eastern Shore and at Kingborough & New Norfolk. The return to the Eastern Shore was after an absence dating back to the destruction of the Tasman Bridge (1976).


1984 – YMCA Hobart hosts the 36th YMCA National Convention.


1986 – Outreach programmes were conducted in Goodwood, Moonah, New Norfolk, Rokeby, Glenora, Taroona, HobartCity, Bellerive, Nubeena, Chigwell, Derwent Park and New Town.

Lionel Kable Award:


1990 - By the 1990’s the YMCA had built two more squash courts, a meeting room, a child minding centre, a spa and sauna and a fitness room.

Tony Giles receives the Lionel Kable Memorial Trophy.


1994 - Annual Report mentions Life Member and Ladies Committee stalwart Mrs Doreen Hutton had turned 90 years of age. Her mother Life Member Mrs Brownell, and grandmother Mrs Cane were early members of the Ladies Committee. Special Olympics Aust award YMCA of Hobart a National Award for ‘Outstanding Organisation’


1996 - New Kable Sports Centre opens at Constance Avenue.


1997 – CEO Les Hanslow retires after 23 years service and is awarded Life Membership.


1999 – YMCA in Glenorchy closes down for 1 month due to financial difficulties. State Premier Jim Bacon provides a lifeline.


2001 to 2005– Executive Board manages activities.


2003 – YMCA commences management of the redeveloped Clarence Aquatic Centre.


2007 - Fit n Fun Centre opens in the Kable Sports Centre.

YMCA of Hobart commences management of George Town Pool and New Norfolk Pool


2009 - YMCA management contract for Clarence Aquatic Centre is renewed for ten years. New energy upgrade at Clarence Aquatic Centre. George Town Pool contract is renewed until June 2011. YMCA begin managing the Oatlands Pool


2010 - YMCA begin managing the Rosny Public Golf Course


2011 - YMCA begin managing the Glenorchy Swimming Pool.

Life Member. Sid Gammon passes away.


2012 – The Governor, The Honorable Peter Underwood is appointed patron.,

YMCA of Hobart hosts the 2012 National YMCA Convention.

Colin Sproule (Life Member), his wife Wendy Sproule (staff and volunteer)

and June Murton, long time member and President of the Ladies Committee pass away.


This information was prepared by the Hobart YMCA History Committee; Keith Albiston, Colin Dennison, Geoff Long. All care was been taken to ensure that the information listed is accurate. Due to a fire in 1974 most of the original records were lost and there are many gaps in our knowledge. To advise any errors or to supply any further information we would appreciate being advised on gglong@netspace.net.au

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