Sunday, 17 March 2013

Royal Engineers Building, Hobart

This Gothic Revival style building was constructed in 1846-47 to house the senior members of the Royal Engineers, who were responsible for arranging all works in the colony. Designer unknown, the building is of sandstone front and facings, with brick sides and rear, which were subsequently cement rendered.  An interesting feature of the building is that two of the windows on the northern side are false and appear to be windows from the outside only. The large area of Crown Land included the engineers’ parade ground, workshops, houses and, earlier, works stores, timber yard and jetty, much of which dated from John Lee Archer’s time as engineer and colonial architect from 1827 to 1838.

The Tasmanian Main Line Railway Company, which built the railway from Hobart to Western Junction (and modiļ¬ed the line to Launceston) from 1873 and operated it from 1876, occupied the building as its headquarters until the State Government acquired the company’s assets in 1890. The building continued as railway headquarters until the Transport Commission was established in 1938. It subsequently became the railway’s printers and stationery store.

More recently, the building was acquired by the State Government and restored with funds from Government grants, gifts from professional engineering organizations and public subscription. The building is currently leased by the Institution of Engineers, Australia, and occupied as headquarters of its Tasmania division and is situated at 2 Davey Street, Hobart, opposite the Gasworks Village area.