Salamanca markets on a Saturday in Hobart, with tourists and sightseers shopping and enjoying the markets

The Market as Metaphor

Oct 27

In the late 1950s, it seemed convenient to tear down those trashy old buildings at Salamanca.

Many of you talked about it: what nearly happened. You spoke of how Battery Point was nearly razed to build something more modern and efficient. Salamanca Market and Battery Point are now in Chapter One of every tourist’s guide to Hobart.

Some of you are too cool for the Market because it’s too big and touristy now. Others think it’s a perfect encapsulation of Hobart: shamelessly Tasmanian yet global, fancy and grubby at once, a lovely mess of ambition by the river.

Hobart is a market town, and its markets are incubators. If you want to try something new, and test it on an audience, public markets are an affordable way to take a risk. From your white tent, you can improve your product, develop a following, forge partnerships with other entrepreneurs and, when you’re ready, lease commercial space and even launch your product nationally.

A crucial part of the big city culture and small city scale that we love so much about Hobart rests in its “market town” quality. It works for businesses, for the arts, and for social ventures. We can try something here for curious locals, and for visitors starved of unconventional experiences in a conventional world.

One of you talked about launching a night market in Elizabeth Street Mall, to extend its hours and make it more fun. Someone else talked about bringing mini-markets to other suburbs and providing micro-grants to tinkerers who could be entrepreneurs with a bit of encouragement.

Imagine quitting your job and trying something entirely new, based on your talents and obsessions. What would you sell at the market?