Open House Hobart 2016 was a brilliant opportunity to
explore some great heritage places not usually open to the public.
The author took the opportunity to take half a day to
explore four diverse buildings: Wrest Point Hotel Casino, the basement of 105
Macquarie Street, the development of Macquarie Point #1 (Macq1) and the roof of
the Colonial Mutual Life (CML) building.
Each building gave visitors some
interesting insights into the history and former lives of the building, as well as the work that has
gone into restoring or redeveloping them in contemporary ways. Each quite
unique, with some great features and good stories to share.
At Wrest Point Hotel Casino it was fascinating to gain an
appreciation of the former buildings on the site, including the original house,
and the streamlined art deco hotel structure that is now incorporated into the
older part of the site that used to house Regines nightclub.
The guided tour exposed visitors to the site’s former
house, hotel and more recent accommodation; the gambling and gaming areas; the
landscaped grounds; and the showroom and the revolving restaurant. Different
staff spoke fondly of their links to the place.
105 Macquarie Street, the former Mercantile Mutual building,
was built in 1847 for the Comptroller General of Convicts, and is now
offices. The plaster walls in its basement have been stripped-back to
reveal some sandstone walls that’s created a fresh and inviting meeting space.
By contrast, a visit to the modern VOS construction site at
Macq1 gave an appreciation of this new hotel and restaurant area, and the
history of the Hunter Street area to the north. Watch out for how this
new hotel which will give insight into the people and events that have shaped
Finally, a visit to the roof of the CML building opposite
the General Post Office gave visitors the ability to appreciate the details in
the coloured tiles, gargoyles and other roof features, including the historic
workings of the lifts and the stunning views over the city and Sullivans Cove.
A great event organised by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) to help to celebrate and also expose both locals and visitors to Tasmania’s unique architecture, historic and contemporary.
Story provided by Pete Smith, Heritage Tasmania