State's divide an entrenched legacy

PAROCHIALISM: a narrow outlook or scope; provincialism.

The rivalry between Tasmania's North and South is well known and many historians believe it originated from when Van Diemens Land had a governor either side of the 42nd parallel, during the early years of European settlement.

However, one governor was introduced in 1813 and there have been several attempts to quash the rivalry, but it still continues today.

Tasmanian historian and University of Tasmania senior lecturer Stefan Petrow said throughout the 19th century Launceston thought Hobart received too much government funding.

"Launceston got a bit tired of asking for money so they became very self-reliant and the Launceston City Council did a lot of things off its own back," Dr Petrow said.

"That is why Launceston had a sewerage system earlier than Hobart, had a really good water supply, electricity and so on.

"They always looked forward and just did it instead of waiting around for government to do it for us.

"Launceston was a leader in municipal government, not just in Tasmania, but in Australia."

Dr Petrow said almost every capital city around the world was always favoured by government - simply because of its capital status - and that Hobart was no different.

"But the problem was Hobart was run down for much of the 19th century and it wasn't until the early 20th century it started to pick up and follow Launceston's lead," he said.

"Even though Hobart is the political capital, Launceston has always been regarded as the commercial capital.

"Rivalry is probably natural in a small place ... it can be mainly beneficial if it spurs people on to bigger and better things, but if it makes people disillusioned, disenchanted it's a different story."

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