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Tasmania’s Stories

Launceston landmark leads revival

Edition 195_SilosHotel

A new Launceston landmark – Peppers Silo Hotel – has opened for business in a city currently riding the wave of a building boom.

The $25 million hotel is now Launceston’s tallest building, and fittingly it was welcomed in style with a black-tie VIP event on the first night of winter celebrating its arrival.

The Peppers Silo Hotel is the latest milestone for Launceston which is undergoing a ‘mini-renaissance’ with a flurry of developments in the pipe-line. This includes the $260 million university mega-campus, North Bank and a string of other luxury hotels.

The transformation of the old Kings Wharf grain silos into the gleaming new nine-storey Peppers Silo Hotel involved two years of construction and a decade of planning.

It is also the latest offering from prolific local developer, Errol Stewart, who says his city is “experiencing unprecedented development”.

“In my working life of 25 years in Launceston, I don’t think the city has ever been going better,” Mr Stewart told The Examiner. “I am proud of what we have delivered, and I believe that this building will now become iconic for Launceston.”

ARTAS Architects were commissioned to design the 108-room hotel.

“This is a very important development for the city,” ARTAS Director, Scott Curran, said.

“Launceston can now offer something very unique, where people have the opportunity to stay in an old converted grain silo with many of the original features – such as concrete walls – being retained as the hotel’s distinguishing features.”

Meantime, just down the road from the Peppers Silo Hotel, another large development is underway. This is North Bank, the $9 million project that is transforming an old industrial site into parkland and will be connected to the CBD by a pedestrian bridge across the North Esk River.

“Peppers Silo Hotel is actually the trigger for the development of North Bank as it is right next door to the site,” Mr Curran explained.

“And together both these developments are very significant as they will bring people back to this part of the river once again.”

North Bank is a council initiative and Launceston Mayor, Albert van Zetten, told The Examiner: “We are incredibly excited about this project and the way it is going to transform a riverfront area of our city and open it up to new possibilities.”

Another indicator of Launceston’s boom is the $40 million revival of one of the city’s oldest landmarks, the CH Smith building – another Errol Stewart project – which will soon be office space after sitting vacant for three decades.

Then there are the hotels. Three more luxury offerings.

A $50 million hotel overlooking Cataract Gorge is being proposed by Launceston’s other prolific developer, Josef Chromy; a 25-storey hotel near City Park is on the books of Singapore giant, The Fragrance Group; while the 78-room Hotel Verge on the CBD fringe has already been approved for Stay Tasmania.

However, the biggest development of them all by far, is the $260 million mega campus the University of Tasmania is planning to build in the heart of the city at Inveresk.

“This will be the game-changer for Launceston and the opportunities that are going to come out of Inveresk are unprecedented,” Scott Curran, said. “I can’t think of anything else that will be so important for the city.”

While Hobart has been riding the wave of a MONA-led renaissance for a number of years, Launceston’s current building boom is only just getting started.

In fact, local business leaders say it dates back to the announcement of the $280 million Launceston City Deal by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the run-up to the 2016 Federal Election.

This is the five-year plan that aims to position Launceston as one of Australia’s most innovative and liveable regional cities.

“I can pin-point the exact time that Launceston took off, and that was when the City Deal was announced,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Officer, Neil Grose, said.

“That created the perfect storm where everything started to change and it triggered this ‘mini renaissance’. Suddenly everyone’s attitudes about Launceston shifted with developers and investors looking at us as the next boom-town saying we can do something special here.”

Yes, things are definitely happening.

Last financial year Launceston City Council approved development applications worth $112 million, but this year that figure has already jumped to $183 million.

Describing Launceston as a city of entrepreneurs and innovators, Mr Grose is confident the best is yet to come.

“In five years' time Launceston will be one of the greatest regional cities in Australia – no doubt about it,” he said.

Image courtesy of ARTAS Architects

12 June 2018, Edition 195

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

Brand Tasmania

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