South Hobart Centrepiece Reopens

The Former Macquarie Street school in South Hobart has reopened as the South Hobart Living Art Centre to resume its role as a centerpiece of the local community.

A passionate group of individuals keen to keep the building in community hands received assistance from local, state and Federal Governments to realise their vision. The result is a new venture that continues the building’s rich history as an education and social hub for the local community for more than 100 years.

The South Hobart Progress Association and everyone involved is to be congratulated for recognizing and supporting the local community’s desire to have access to the much-loved building. The soft approach utilised in the restoration has revitalised the many beautiful spaces throughout the Gothic sandstone building and its companion weatherboard hall.

It is a perfect example of adaptive reuse supporting community values and allowing ongoing community use through an economically sustainable model.

The 1895 building is the second Macquarie Street state school to service the growing needs of the South Hobart area. By the 1920s, the building was once again proving too small. The Education Department constructed an infant school in nearby Weld Street, with the Macquarie site continuing to host senior classes.  Several additions were made to the building in the 1930s to accommodate the every-growing student numbers, and the needs of teachers. In 1942 the weatherboard physical culture hall was constructed at the rear of the sandstone building.


By the 1950s the Education Department was facing increasing pressure to build a new primary school, and with the opening of a new school in Angelsea Street in 1963, the Macquarie Street building was closed.

It remained in the ownership of the Education Department, initially as part of its Library Scheme and from1969 to 2010 as an adult education centre. It is in this last incarnation that many Hobart residents remember the imposing Gothic sandstone building.


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