The Cove was the initial landing site of what is now the city of Hobart. It was founded on 21 February 1804 by Lieutenant Governor David Collins, who travelled to the shore via what was then a rocky island named Hunter Island. The connection to the shore was developed and is now known as Hunter Street. The island now has a building directly above it.
Although the first European settlement in the state was further up the river at Risdon Cove by John Bowen a year earlier, that settlement was abandoned and relocated to join the Sullivans Cove settlers.
Collins named Sullivans Cove after John Sullivan, Permanent Under Secretary to the Colonies.
Sullivans Cove holds large historical and sentimental value for the city. The cove area itself is now known as Macquarie Wharf and serves as the main port for the city. Many of the original buildings along the esplanade are still standing.
The University of Tasmania's School of the Arts building is based on Hunter Street.
A serviced apartment building, ZeroDavey, has drawn criticism for its Davey Street facade, being condemned by the local community as aesthetically unpleasing consisting of a grey concrete prefabricated wall with jarring blue metal ledges, as opposed to the rest of the building having a sandstone facade to blend with the heritage Hunter Street buildings next door.
An international design competition was held for the Hobart waterfront in 2006. It attracted 280 entries from over 50 countries. Three winners were announced on January 26, 2007.
The Cove also looks set to receive a facelift to some parts including Parliament Square where a $100 million redevelopment is set to begin in March 2010, as well as redevelopment of Prince Wharf Shed 1 to be more adequately prepared for the huge Taste of Tasmania Festival and to be more aesthetically pleasing. Other redevelopments are also in the work such as the $350 million revitalisation of the TMAG (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery) and plans to develop the Brooke Street Pier into a more suitable ferry terminal for a renewed public transport ferry service.
- "Hobart Waterfront International Design Competition". Retrieved 2007-01-31.
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