Collinsvale, Tasmania

Collinsvale is a suburb of the City of Glenorchy in Tasmania, Australia.

Hobart, Tasmania
Coordinates42°50′34″S 147°11′21″E
Population630 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density31.3/km2 (81/sq mi)
Area19.6 km2 (7.6 sq mi)
LGA(s)City of Glenorchy
State electorate(s)
Federal Division(s)
Suburbs around Collinsvale:
Molesworth Glenlusk Chigwell
Collinsvale Glenorchy

Early history

The area was originally known called Sorell Creek, and was inhabited mostly by British settlers in the mid-nineteenth century.

Arrival of the Lutherans

In 1870, the arrival of the first immigrant ships to Hobart saw a large influx of German and Danish[2] migrants who settled in the area, attracted by the cheap land and an abundance of clean water.

The settlement was proclaimed a town in 1881, and was named Bismarck after Otto von Bismarck, the then-Chancellor of Germany.[3] "The name Bismarck had been given to the place out of compliment to the German settlers."[4]

The Lutheran Church was very slow to establish in Tasmania. Due to the lack of a stabilising Lutheran presence, some of the Germans in Bismarck ended up joining the American fundamentalists, the Seventh Day Adventists, who arrived in the region in 1889.[5][6] A Lutheran church was finally opened in Hobart on 11 August 1871[7] and remains active today[8] but none was ever built in Bismarck. This led to a fracturing of the community and a loss of its German identity.

Change of name

At the start of the First World War, Bismarck was renamed Collinsvale after a jingoistic letter-writing campaign.[9][10][11][12][13][14] (David Collins had been the Tasmanian colony's first governor.)[3]

This name change had been opposed by "a number of Bismarck residents...[who] presented a lengthy petition setting forth reasons against the proposed name change."[4] Opposing a previous petition that had instigated the called for the change, "Councillor G H Voss said [his] deputation, which comprised himself, Misters Alfred Totenhöfer, H J Smith, Levi Newman, Walter Neilsen, W Brockman, Fred Gall, and F and H Fehlberg was composed entirely of residents in the postal area of Bismarck... The petition he had to present contained 120 names of settlers residing in the postal area... The petition opposed the proposal to alter the name on personal grounds, and the petitioners were practically all of Tasmanian birth, including descendants of the Danish and German settlers who had really founded the settlement... On general grounds it was urged that the change of name would create bad feeling amongst settlers who had hitherto dwelt in amity together... Mr Voss said that the produce of Bismarck would compare with any in the State and their [agricultural] shows had won a good reputation.

Referring to a statement made by a speaker of the previous deputation that the produce of the district might be prejudiced owing to its place of origin, Mr Voss contended that there was no foundation in that argument. On the contrary it would be a serious thing if the name were changed seeing that the produce of Bismarck had an excellent reputation and always fetched top prices.

The petitioners were not infatuated with the name of Bismarck as such and did not base their case on the fact that it had been borne by a German statesman but the name was a reasonable one and was not difficult to pronounce like so many German names. The settlers of Bismarck all spoke the British language and they had no differences on racial matters... Bismarck produce was branded with the name of the grower and the settlement and he had never heard of any objection on account of the name. As a tourist resort the name was an attraction and if the name were changed the traffic would suffer. Bismarck Shows had been famous for the quality of the produce exhibited... The deputation desired to retain a name under which they had built up a reputation for good produce."[4][15] As they predicted, the town's reputation never recovered. "Collinsvale" was never to develop the reputation for quality produce that Bismarck had established and the area went into decline.

This name change marked the beginning of the persecution of Tasmanians of German descent, who were the largest non-British national group in the local population. In one case Gustav Weindorfer was accused of being a German spy and using his chalet at Cradle Mountain as a radio station to contact German ships. He was expelled from the Ulverstone Club and his dog was poisoned."[16]

Notable residents

See also


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Collinsvale (Tas) (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  2. Webb, Kerry: Rallying the Danes: Prince Frederik of Denmark, Nordic Notes (Flinders University), 2003.
  3. Tasmania's Multicultural Heritage: Northern European Migration, Heritage Tasmania, 27 April 2004.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 April 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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