The Royal Hobart Regatta is a three-day series of aquatic competitions and displays held annually in Hobart on the Derwent River. The regatta runs for three days over the weekend of the second Monday each February. The Monday is a public holiday for a large part of southern and eastern Tasmania and is Tasmania’s oldest sporting event.
About 40,0000 attend the regatta which is held in grounds known as the “Regatta Ground” at the Queens Domain along the western side of the River Derwent.
The long weekend is packed with events on the Derwent River. The water events include sailing, rowing, jet ski racing, dragon boat racing, and the Trans-Derwent Swim; a 1 .8 km swim across the river from Montagu to the Regatta Grounds..
Out of the water there is a stage and grandstand for continuous entertainment and concerts; plus the regatta includes log chopping, sideshows, a Greasy Pole, a tug-of-war there is also a Miss Regatta girl competition.
The Royal Australian Navy, Airforce and Army give great support to the Regatta sending a warship to be a flagship, providing fly-pasts and aerobatic performances, helicopter demonstrations, sky diving displays. Army and Navy Bands also entertain the crowd.
The regatta’s long history began in 1838 to commemorate the discovery of Tasmania. The then Governor, Sir John Franklin, provided free food and beer for all of the spectators, and the tradition of free entry – but not free food and beer, unfortunately – continues to this day. The Monday was declared as a public holiday by the governor, and is now the oldest public holiday still continuing in Australia.