Celebrating Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism

This year’s International Day for Monuments and Sites celebrated cultural heritage and sustainable tourism.

Tasmania is renowned for the role adaptive reuse has played in supporting the protection and preservation of historic heritage places, including in the area of tourism initiatives.

From the Salamanca Warehouses through to Pumphouse Point, Tasmanians continue to show initiative, creativity and passion, transforming under-utilised spaces into vibrant, living places that strengthen our island identity.

There are many examples of adaptive reuse amongst the entries on the Tasmanian Heritage Register. The practice has a long history itself, beginning with the transformation of the Port Arthur penal settlement into the bustling town of Carnarvon. The town traded heavily on visitors who came to gain an appreciation and understanding of the area’s convict past. Tourism became so important to the town, that in 1927 the original name of Port Arthur was reinstated.

Photo courtesy Tourism Tasmania. Copyright Tourism Tasmania.

The value of protecting and building on the stories of Tasmania’s historic past is often an impetus for revitilisation. The transformation of Hobart’s 1830s-1840s Salamanca Warehouses into an artistic hub began in the 1970s. The visionary group behind the idea formed the Community and Art Centre Foundation. In 1976 the Tasmanian Government purchased seven of the sandstone warehouses, leasing them to the Foundation in return for repair and maintenance of the buildings. Now known as the Salamanca Arts Centre, its creation has been pivotal to the growth of Salamanca as a social and creative precinct for Hobart, and a must-see for visitors.

Launceston too has embraced its industrial past, converting former Inveresk Railway Yard buildings into a second home for QVMAG, officially opened in 2001. The dramatic contrast of the grey and rusting patina of the disused workshops with the brightly coloured additions encourages visitors to explore the stories of the past, alongside the intriguing new design and artworks.

One of the state’s latest tourism initiatives in the heart of the Tasmanian World Wilderness Area may be on a smaller scale, yet required the same level of extraordinary vision. Opened in 2105, the Pumphouse Point eco-tourism hotel began life as a five-storey building housing enormous water turbines to support the state’s hydro electricity push. Projecting 900 feet into Lake St Clair, the collision between wild natural scenery, industrial heritage and luxury accommodation is rarely as striking as it is at Pumphouse Point.

The Tasmanian Heritage Council is in the fortunate position of working with owners, developers, architects and builders to support the sustainable use and development of Tasmania’s rich and diverse historic heritage. It looks forward to continuing this engagement to explore new and innovative ways of protecting the past whilst helping bring Tasmania’s historic heritage to life.

Back Home