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Launceston, Australia

Launceston is a small city in the north of Tasmania, Australia, population of approximately 98000, located at the juncture of the North Esk, South Esk, and Tamar rivers. Like many Australian cities and towns, it was named after a town in the UK - in this case, Launceston, Cornwall. (Note, however, that while the English Launceston is pronounced "Lawnson", the Australian one is pronounced "Lon-cess-ton.")

Europeans originally settling near the mouth of the Tamar in 1804; however they moved to the present site of Launceston in 1805. As such, it is Australia's third oldest city (after Sydney and the state capital, Hobart), and has a lot of historical buildings and sights.

Launceston was once the home of John Batman. From Launceston, Batman planned and designed the city of Melbourne, and in 1834 he sailed across Bass Strait to settle there - specifically, at Port Phillip, Victoria. Note: The spelling of John Batman's name is Bateman in some literature.

It serves as the commercial hub for the north of the state, and like many parts of Tasmania, is a major tourist centre. Major points of attraction:

Launceston is the home of York Park, the state's only first-class sports ground equipped with lights for evening games. As a result, two of the Melbourne teams, Hawthorn and St Kilda, have agreed to play a small number of AFL (Australian football) games there each year.

There is very heated (but friendly) rivalry between residents of Launceston and the southern capital Hobart. The AFL games mentioned above are an example - Hobart residents are disappointed about missing out.

Launceston was the home of many firsts:

Launceston has also produced two of Australia's top cricket batsmen in recent years - David Boon and Ricky Ponting.