Salamanca Market has been a weekly Hobart ritual for five decades.
Every Saturday morning along Salamanca Place, lines of marquees appear and market goers gather before a row of handsome 19th-century sandstone warehouses framed by kunanyi / Mount Wellington.
After beginning modestly in the summer of 1972 with 15 stalls, the market has become a showcase of Tasmanian creativity. Held every Saturday from 8.30am to 3pm, it now spans more than 300 stalls and stretches the length of Salamanca Place, featuring produce to pottery, fine arts to food trucks, books to buskers. It’s as Tasmanian as we can make it.
“The market is different every Saturday – there’s a surprise almost every week,” says stallholder Alison Brolsma, of Alpaca South. “And that’s from someone who’s there every week.
“I love the people-watching, I love talking about something that I’m completely passionate about. The one thing you can be certain of is that you’ll have fun.”
During the pandemic and beyond, the market has operated at a lower visitor capacity of 500 people, but it remains a comprehensive showcase of Tasmania’s artistic talents, and it’s now even more personal. Take the time to chat to the makers and growers – most wares are handmade or homegrown in Tasmania, and are likely to come direct from the hands that made them.
“I think meeting the maker is really an important part of the market,” says ceramic artist Sallee Warner, a stallholder at the market for the past 10 years. “I love being able to sell my own work and tell my own story. I think what’s special about the market are the characters. I really enjoy the little community of stallholders around me. There’s a really lovely feeling about being here.”
Pressed between Salamanca’s historic Georgian warehouses and Hobart’s waterfront, and a short stroll from the city centre, the market is the cornerstone of the weekend for many locals, while travellers often plan their itinerary around market day.
“People often come to Salamanca with a specific purchase in mind, and it’s lovely when they can find that,” says Brolsma. “Others come with a general view to buying presents for people back home – a lot of very happy cat-sitters get one of my rugs.”
Spend a few hours exploring the market, fuelled by freshly prepared food for sale. Browse the stalls and then dive into Salamanca’s warehouses. They were originally used to store whale oil, grain, timber and imported goods, and today house a collection of fascinating art galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes.
Slip out of the market stream to find historic Kelly’s Steps, built by whaler James Kelly in 1839, and ascend into the village-like streets and Georgian cottages of Battery Point, where a colonial maritime atmosphere still lingers.
Or pause in the shade of Salamanca Place’s plane trees and admire that most perfect of Hobart views rising above the market stalls.
Need to know
The market is held every Saturday, 8.30am-3pm, at Salamanca Place, Hobart.