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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

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