Charles Chiniquy was a well-known Catholic priest in North America from 1833 to 1858, before being expelled and joining the Presbyterian church. He spent the next forty years lecturing around the world against the dogmas of his former church, and arrived in Hobart for a week's visit in June 1879. At his second public lecture, a riot occurred when hundreds of Catholic opponents forced their way into the hall. After further abandonments and because of fears for audience safety at the final lecture, 150 special constables and 400 members of the Volunteer Force were added to the regular police and military to ensure the peace was kept. Although there were many protesters outside the Town Hall (the Mercury estimated 4000), this show of strength allowed the meeting to run safely.
Further reading: E Dollery ,'The Chiniquy riots, Hobart', THRAPP 9/4, 1962.