Arthouse Hostel was originally built in 1888 as a trades hotel. It served beers on the waterfront for many years, and was a prominant feature on Launcestons bustling riverbank. The waterfront was such a feature of the city that the Queens procession passed by, heading over the Tamar Street bridge, past what is now the Inveresk Rail Museum and the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery.
The hotel had quite a reputation that is remembered by many people currently living in Launceston. There was many a night of after hours drinking, scuffles, fights, and even at least 1 gunshot. A lady who lives around the corner today had a stray bullet go through her bedroom window when she was 9 years old.
The hotel became a parsonage at one stage in its life, and the bell in the tower was used to call people to prayer, as well as serving a practical function. The parson kept an eye out for ships on the Tamar river, and rung the bell to call the dockworkers to work. They were able to rest at home (or down at the pub) until the bell tolled for them.
In the late 1990's, the building became a old mens hostel for the down and out men of Launceston. Even today we get the occasional man looking for shelter. The building became quite run down with poor maintenance and hard use.
Luckily the building was bought by a man named Mark who had a vision of restoration. He teamed up with CRC Builders who have a passion for Heritage buildings and Tasmania in general. Together they secured old photographs and restored the old building back to its old glory - externally. Internally the building needed some more work. Mark sold the building to a lady from Victoria named Julie who undertook some more internal renovations and ran the place as the Old Esplanade B&B. It wasnt particularly successful being remotely owned, and the renovations probably werent quite enough for a B&B.
We then took ownership in February 2007, and have teamed up again with CRC Builders. We have completed stage 1 of the project, which is to completely refit ground and first floors. Stage 2 will encompass the attic space, raising the roof in the rear section and putting some unique accommodation in the attic. You will have to visit us soon to see what we have done, and return to see what we will do.
As we find out more about the colorful history of the beautiful Arthouse Hostel, we will post it here.
As mentioned on the home page, Arthouse Hostel is the Worlds First Carbon Neutral hostel. We have used accurate carbon calculators based on a projected consumption and occupancy, then tripled the requirements to offest the carbon dioxide production. We have invested in an urban re-forestation in conjunction with Launceston City Council, making our project multi purpose. Its an exciting prospect, an original idea, and fun as well. We will post our calculations here soon, and invite comment or correction.