Imagine the waterfront of Hobart /nipaluna in 1804.
There were no big hotels, paved streets or industrial yards; no waterfront restaurants, pubs or cruise ships. Instead there was a bay surrounding a small rocky island. When the British arrived, they named it…


‘View of Sullivans Cove 1804’, watercolour, possibly by George William Evans.  This image of Hunter Island captures soldiers and convicts walking along the sandbar (which became Hunter Street) to shore (now Davey and Macquarie Streets). On the island are the colony’s first bond stores, and in the foreground are ‘the rocks’ which became part of Macquarie Point. 
(Image used with permission from the State Library of NSW, SV6B/Sull C/1) 



Hunter Island was a tidal island 160 by 40 metres, connected to the shore by a sandbar. At low tide, it was possible to wade from the island to shore. In Hobart Town’s earliest days, Hunter Island served as a supply post, the site of Tasmania’s first bond store, and the arrival point for all new settlers and convicts. In 1804, a jetty was erected; later a causeway. Hunter Island was the focal point of the new settlement.

Then it vanished. During the 1820s and 1830s, with the need for better marine access, Hunter Island was incrementally buried under Hobart’s man-made sea walls and dock expansions.
Today, the area where Hunter Island once stood is unrecognisable.

When you’re visiting the waterfront of Hobart/nipaluna, it’s easy to forget that you’re walking on reclaimed land.

Hunter Island is gone, but the waterfront precinct which has replaced it serves the same purpose. It’s Hobart’s gateway, a place of arrival and promise. To stand on the site where Hunter Island once was, and look beyond the buildings and human activity, all you see is natural bounty: a deep harbour, a river full of life, and an undulating landscape dominated by the ancient sentinel, kunyani.




Damian Mackey began his professional life working as a graduate surveyor for Bill and Lyn Lark. The story of Tasmania’s modern distilling was unfolding before his eyes, and he decided then and there that whisky was the game.

Mackey’s Distillery was established in 2007, and although small, Damian completed the mashing, fermenting, distillation and maturation of the first Mackey Whisky casks all under one roof. In those days, there were just a handful of Tassie distilleries, and none were producing triple distilled whisky. When the first port-aged, triple distilled, 100 litre casks were released, there was instant success.

Triple distillation has become Damian’s signature, and distilling whisky remains his passion. In 2018, he and Madeleine sold the Mackey Whisky brand, and commenced the planning for their new venture almost immediately, this time going ‘full Irish’. Single Pot Still Whiskey has always been Ireland’s domain; but Damian believed that Tassie’s rich, oily barley would be its perfect partner. In January 2020, he laid down the first Australian-made casks of pot still whisky in the Irish tradition. And it’s ready to drink!



Sign up to receive updates, including details of new releases



Hunter Island Distillery acknowledges the traditional owners of the land and waters on which we stand. We acknowledge the continuing strength and resilience of Tasmania’s First Peoples, and we walk alongside them with respect.

Under the Liquor Licensing Act 1990 it is an offence: For liquor to be delivered to a person under the age of 18 years. Penalty: fine not exceeding 20 penalty units. For a person under the age of 18 years to purchase liquor. Penalty: fine not exceeding 10 penalty units. Please enjoy responsibly. Liquor Licence Number 92338

Copyright © 2022 Hunter Island Distillery
Website design by Moon Cheese Studio / Website development by Neton

Shopping cart


No products in the cart.

Continue Shopping