Feature image

Tasmania’s Stories

New life for Maylands mansion

Edition 196_Maylands

Hobart’s heritage gems are being re-imagined as luxury accommodation; and while all eyes have been focused on the historic Treasury Building, a stunning transformation has been quietly taking shape in the suburbs.

The Treasury Building is a Hobart jewel. And it’s been big news ever since plans for its sale were revealed in the recent State Budget.

This grand sandstone edifice is one of Australia’s finest colonial buildings, but it has been languishing as Government offices. However, it is generally agreed that a restored Treasury Building would be ideal as an iconic luxury heritage hotel – in a city still suffering from a shortage of beds.

Meantime, a little further north another important historic building – Maylands – is taking on a new life, also as luxury accommodation.

And just like the Treasury Building, Maylands is a heritage gem that has also been languishing.

Once one of Hobart’s grandest mansions, Maylands has been variously used as a hostel, girls school, and in its most recent incarnation as the Salvation Army headquarters. Tucked away amongst houses in the inner northern suburb of New Town, it has remained hidden from view for decades.

Now, an 18-month restoration project is returning this grand building to her former glory and next month Maylands Lodge, once more a stately lady, will open her doors as up-market boutique accommodation.

“It is absolutely wonderful to see this iconic building come back to life,” Maylands Lodge General Manager, Gareth Hinds said.

“It really is a hidden Tasmanian gem.”

It was built in 1887 as the ‘trophy mansion’ for one of Hobart Town’s richest citizens, businessman John Pearce, and is a splendid masterpiece from the legendary colonial architect, Henry Hunter.

Encompassing three levels of Victorian Italianate grandeur over 1000m2, Maylands took two years to construct and displays some of the most intricate craftsmanship you will see anywhere in Tasmania.

There’s the sweeping staircase hand-crafted from Baltic pine, Huon pine and blackwood; wide floorboards made from New Zealand Cowrie pine; towering stained-glass windows; and enormous wrap around balconies that look down over the city.

But this is also the story of a Tasmanian family who banded together to bring Maylands back to life.

The Hobart based Gardiner family run a successful engineering firm with a background in building. They also happen to own the apartments next door.

They bought Maylands in 2016 when it was put up for sale for the first time in 90 years, and patriarch Alan is on site putting his skills to use every day, along with the rest of his clan.

A business yes, but very much a labour of love.

“This is very much a family affair and we have all been working really hard together over the last 18 months to restore Maylands,” Alan Gardiner said.

“Our built heritage is such an important part of Hobart, and that includes incredible properties like Maylands. Bringing them back to life is also very important for our growing tourism industry."

Maylands Lodge will be ready to receive guests in mid-August as high-end boutique accommodation offering 12 rooms.

Set on more than half a hectare it will also have a large market garden, giving guests a garden-to-plate dining experience in the intimate restaurant.

Mr Hinds points out this will bring something exciting and new to the market.

“We are not on the waterfront, we are for the traveller who wants to experience something a little different. If you want a real Tasmanian experience seek out a property like this,” he added.

Meantime, along with its dignified transformation, Maylands Lodge will have an ethos of donating money to charity. As Mr Hinds explains: “We are about making the world a better place."

Image Courtesy of Gareth Hinds

View our video tour as we visit historic Maylands and see the restoration underway:

Video still - Maylands Lodge Hobart
Watch video on YouTube

11 July 2018, Edition 196

Back to index

Like to know more?

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Join us

Become an eFriend

Join our mailing list

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Brand Partnership

Are you a Tasmanian business or operator? Join us in raising the profile, quality and value of Tasmania’s products.

Apply online

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

Become an eFriend


Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition.

I’ve already subscribed