Wrest Point Celebrates 40 Years
January 7th, 2013
WREST POINT CELEBRATES 40 YEARS
An icon of the Tasmanian entertainment and tourism scene, Wrest Point, will mark its 40th birthday with four weeks of celebrations from January 14.
Titled 4 Decades in 4 Weeks, the packed celebration schedule will kick off with a Wrest Point community barbecue breakfast on the rooftop car park on January 14 and culminate with the highly anticipated Red Hot Summer Tour Concert on February 10.
“Rather than just celebrate on the official birthday date (February 10), we decided to put together four weeks of activities that truly capture what Wrest Point is all about – from its early history to its current role as an integral part of the Hobart entertainment and tourism landscape,” Wrest Point Sales and Marketing Manager Matt Mellor said.
“Over the four weeks we will be running a variety of activities including food and wine events, a photography competition, a barbecue on the lawns for Australia Day and various events for current and past staff to gather and celebrate.
“We will even be reopening Regines as a tribute to Wrest Point’s entertainment past, and asking boats to Light Up the Derwent to highlight our connection with Hobart’s spectacular waterside location.
“We encourage everyone to come and help us celebrate this major milestone for Wrest Point, as well as rediscover what the property has to offer.”
When Wrest Point Hotel Casino (as it was then known) opened on the banks of the Derwent River on February 10, 1973, it received national and international acclaim not only as Australia’s first legal casino, but as putting Tasmania and its tourism attributes firmly on the global map.
“Wrest Point plays a significant part in Australian history, being the country’s first legal casino,” Wrest Point General Manager Mike Davey said.
“The property also opened up Tasmanian tourism to a new level of sophistication and customer service. In its first five years of operation, Wrest Point entertained more than five million visitors and held more than 100 conventions and trade gatherings.
“The iconic tower is a distinctive part of the Hobart landscape and is etched in many Australians’ memories from their visits during the past four decades.
“In 40 years of operation, Wrest Point has hosted a variety of people from royalty to politicians, celebrities to a large percentage of Australian and international visitors to the state.”
Further details on the celebrations are available at wrestpoint.com.au.
Wrest Point history
In 1939, with Hobart suffering under challenges of the Great Depression and the onset of World War II, Tasmanian tourism pioneer Arthur J. Drysdale realised his dream, opening an international resort-style hotel on the banks of the Derwent River – the Wrest Point Riviera Hotel.
The hotel was a sign of hope for a generation. Built during the Depression, it provided jobs for many local men and women and was a social hub for Hobart’s elite, soldiers and visitors alike. In 1947, his dream fulfilled, Arthur Drysdale sold his hotel to Federal Hotels Ltd. Federal Hotels Ltd began in Victoria in June 1885, and is Australia’s oldest hotel group and the second oldest in the world. The chairman of Federal Hotels Ltd, Mr Greg Farrell Snr, was also a man of vision. His dream for Wrest Point Riviera Hotel was that it should one day become Australia’s first legal casino.
Australia’s first legal casino, Wrest Point, was opened to much fanfare on February 10, 1973. By 1978, after five years of operation, it had entertained more than five million visitors and held more than 100 conventions and trade gatherings. Federal Hotels Ltd, now known as The Federal Group, is now a family owned and run company by Greg Farrell Snr’s five children.
In the past 40 years Wrest Point has celebrated many other landmarks, opening the Conference Centre in 1984, and hosting many high-profile visitors including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Princess Diana and Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
In 2004 it opened Tasmania’s first five-star hotel rooms, and refurbishment continues on the iconic tower. Wrest Point also features five bars and four restaurants, a large conference centre and entertainment facilities that host many local, national and international acts.