By World War One the north-western coastal town of Devonport had begun to develop into the third most important town in Tasmania. It possessed a small but growing industrial economy and port and an increasing population, causing the town to expand. These developments, while welcomed, underlined how badly Devonport had originally been laid out. The 1915-16 lectures by visiting British town planning advocate Charles C. Reade stimulated much interest in town planning, especially how to make the most of Devonport’s natural beauty before the town grew further. For ten years town planning was widely discussed in the Devonport Municipal Council and the regional newspapers, largely motivated by the need to attract tourists. From the mid1920s, without a town planning association to assert the power of public opinion, interest in town planning was confined to individual enthusiasts and waxed and waned until World War Two. From 1943, in the expectation of a new society promised in the post-war world and the need for more housing once war ended, town planning assumed greater importance. A new force, the Devonport Chamber of Commerce, became a vocal proponent of town planning to stop the town developing haphazardly and halting commercial and population growth. The Municipal Council responded positively to the Chamber’s lobbying. The State Government also saw the need for town planning and passed the Town and Country Planning Act 1944. Finally, the interests of the Municipal Council, the State Government and pressure groups had found a common purpose. This paper shows that discussion of town planning was not confined to Australian capital cities by examining the progress of town planning in the growing regional town of Devonport between 1915 and 1945.
The author 2018
Proceedings of the 14th Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference 2018