A Great Sneak Peek

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 Tasmania.

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

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