Category Archives: residential

open house hobart 2020: blue magnolia

My second tour of the 2020 Open House Hobart weekend was Blue Magnolia on Molle Street.

Some of the external timber work

This is a hidden away little 1840s cottage that is an absolutely tiny space (and, therefore, almost impossible to photograph, especially with a 50mm lens, which is the lens I have restricted myself to using for 50 days, having not considered that this weekend was coming up when I decided to do it). Nevertheless, it has been photographed very beautifully (not by me, obviously).

We were lucky enough to have one of the architects responsible for the redesign, Rosa, to show us through and answer our questions.

She said the building had been two row houses, which as far as we could tell were an upstairs room and a downstairs room each, with massively thick stone walls between them.

One of the original entrances

Kitchen? Nope. Bathroom? Nope. Basically, it sounded like living there would be like camping in a stone cottage. Now the two houses were one and there actually was a kitchen and a bathroom.

Rosa explained that there had been some 1970s additions to the house, which had been removed and replaced with the new extensions in 2017.

Stone wall inside and out

It really is cool how much they have managed to fit into such a tight space behind the existing houses on the street. The bathroom is fabulous, with the clear roof and views of the city.

Blue sky views from the bathroom

The extensions have lots of beautiful timberwork and there are doorways punched through the stone walls. The whole space fits together really nicely and it doesn’t feel as small as it is.

External wall

Clearly, a space like this has insufficient space for bookcases, so I could never live there. But it would be a lovely retreat space for a few days.

open house hobart: the finale

Sunday 10 November 2019

part 1: supreme court

part 2: construction house & jarvis house

part 3: town hall, carnegie building & henry jones

part 4: riverfront motel

part 5: penitentiary chapel

part 6: treasury

After our tour of the Treasury complex and a quick sugar hit, Lil Sis and I made the drive out to Sandy Bay to visit our second Dorney house of the weekend, the house at Fort Nelson.

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Esmond Dorney House, Fort Nelson

Perched on top of one of the fort’s old gun emplacements, this iconic 1978 house is a must-see on the Open House weekend. It’s about a 15-minute walk uphill, or you can wait for the shuttle bus, which is what we did.

I think I have this bit right. The first house that Esmond Dorney built on the site was in 1949, on the southern gun emplacement.

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The flat out the back

He built a second house in 1966 on the current site, which burnt down in a bushfire caused by a neighbour’s burn-off. He replaced that in 1978 with the current house, which survived another bushfire that burnt the 1949 building.

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Underneath the fort

The ABC recently featured the house in a tour with architect Leigh Woolley.

There are many cool things about this house. The view, obviously. (Not the wind.)

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How good is the view

This wall.

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So cool

The hidden bedrooms. And of course, the sunken lounge, the conversation pit.

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Conversation pit

It was a fabulous way to end the weekend, sitting in the conversation pit listening to Paddy Dorney speak about his father’s work.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in organising it and all the fabulous volunteers on the weekend. It was one of the highlights of the year for me.

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In and out

Open House Hobart 2019:

  • 11 buildings
  • 1 walking tour
  • 48,000 steps
  • 392 photos

PS: A couple of weeks after the weekend, I found out one of my photos of the Riverfront Motel had been chosen as a winner of the OHH Instagram competition, which was very exciting and entirely unexpected.

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Glorious colours from the Riverfront Motel

open house hobart day 1 part 2

Part 1: Supreme Court

After our tour of the Supreme Court, Lil Sis and I had some time in town before our next tour so we rushed through three buildings in quick succession. The crypt at St David’s Cathedral, which sounded a bit grim but turned out to be a couple of small underground storerooms. At least we know what’s down there now.

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St David’s Cathedral crypt

Next stop was City Hall in Macquarie Street, which is a very cool building dating back to 1915.

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City Hall, Macquarie Street

Last time I was there it was full of rallying unionists. Today, it was empty. We had access to the caretaker’s cottage and the roof so there were some good views across the city and some potentially interesting photo opportunities.

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City Hall, interior

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City Hall, rooftop

Construction House on Bathurst Street is an awesome example of mid-20th century modernist architecture, and that was where we headed next.

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Construction House

It was designed by the architects Bush Parkes Shugg and Moon and built in 1956. I recently learned it was originally their offices before the Department of Education moved in. It is known for the massive rubber plant that grows up the staircase and for the beautiful mosaic by Max Angus on the front. I also recently learned that the original building only had three levels, with the other two added later.

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Staircase + rubber plant

My dentist operates out of this building, after the building that previously housed his practice at 173 Macquarie Street (also, coincidentally, designed by Bush Parkes Shugg and Moon) was demolished to make way for the Ibis hotel. I’ve never been as good at remembering to go to the dentist as I am now. I have a theory, after seeing other dentist practices in beautiful modernist buildings, that dentists operate out of lovely buildings to encourage their clients to visit regularly.

Today, thankfully, was not a dentist visit and we had access to the staircase and the rooftop, which was great because of the views and the chance to see the rubber plant all the way up.

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Construction House staircase

We didn’t stay long because we had another tour booked in Bellerive and had to leave for that. This was the Jarvis House, which is one of the many sensational houses designed by Esmond Dorney. This one is from 1959.

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Esmond Dorney drawings for the Jarvis House

The owner of the house, Carol, was recently featured on an ABC radio segment about the house and as I was listening to it, I was wishing I could actually see what they were talking about. Today was that opportunity.

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Jarvis House

It’s a lovely house with great views (which would be much improved by removing the tree over the road . . . . ) but if you go over the road the outlook across the river to kunanyi is breathtaking.

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View from Bellerive across the river

It was worth the trip just for that and the house was a bonus! One interesting feature of the house is the way the ceiling actually slopes downwards towards the back of the house, which isn’t immediately obvious until someone points it out to you. (Look at the drawing!)

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How gorgeous are these curves!

It’s been (sympathetically) extended over the years and Carol has been very passionate about keeping it consistent with its original form. It really is remarkable and I am very grateful that Carol was so willing to share it with us.

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Jarvis House front deck

So that was our Open House morning, with much more to look forward to in the afternoon and the next day.

Behind the sunrise

I slept in every day this week and missed all the beautiful orange sunrises that I saw in my social media feeds earlier in the week. I was disappointed because orange skies are my favourite skies and I rarely see them in person. But I only had myself to blame.

I finally decided that, as I  describe myself as someone who walks a bit, maybe missing my morning walks isn’t particularly congruent with who I profess to be. I walk every day, and this week I haven’t.

I went out this morning and, of course, today wasn’t the day for an orange sunrise.

Well, it was orange, it just wasn’t the dramatic orange I was hoping for.

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River Derwent | 26 April 2019 | 7.00am

Not to worry! I was back out doing what I loved and that was the main thing. Not too long after the sun rose, it started to rain. Lightly, at first.

Where I was standing on the beach are some boat sheds, which I sometimes photograph if the light is right. This morning it was, and I took some photos from where I was standing—the usual place I try to photograph them from. I was waiting for the light.

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Waiting for the light

The light hadn’t quite hit the boat sheds when something made me walk along to the other side of them to see if I could get a better angle from there. As I turned around, I saw a rainbow over the beach and realised this was the shot I needed to take: the photograph behind the sunrise.

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Behind the sunrise

By the time I’d clambered over rocks to try and get the right shot, the rain was getting heavier, the wind had come up and it was becoming unpleasant. I took some okay, not great, images of the boat sheds from the other side and decided it was time to go.

A man at the house over the road had been watching me, probably thinking (not unreasonably) that I was mad to be standing around taking photos in this onslaught. “It wasn’t like this when I left home!” I complained, in response to his comment on the “wild and woolly” weather. (Totally off topic, where does that phrase even come from? It makes no sense to me at all.)

I carried on along the street, turned the corner and headed towards home, eager to be warm and dry again.

As I was walking, I looked ahead and saw the most wonderful sight: a modest-looking house sitting on the next corner, shining in the golden light. It looked beautiful! This was really the thing I was meant to see this morning, not the sunrise, not the boat sheds, not the rainbow. This one photograph, of all the ones I captured this morning, made it worth getting wet and almost blown away. I just wish I’d had my camera instead of my phone.

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Friday morning light

When I was taking the photos of the rainbow, I’d been thinking how funny it is that sometimes the thing you really need to be looking for is right behind you. (Does that sound too much like an airline safety briefing?) And, after seeing the house, I realised that if it’s not behind you, it will be somewhere else you didn’t set out to look.

Taroona to Moonah

I’ve been in a heap of fun runs (walks) with catchy names like Point to Pinnacle, City to Casino, City to Surf (okay, I have never participated in that event but I needed three names to emphasise my point).

I always wondered why they didn’t include Taroona to Moonah as such an event. It’s a catchy name AND it rhymes. Win-win!

Unfortunately, the road race organisers have never cottoned on to this one so if I ever wanted to do it, it was going to have to be on my own.

I do like walking and, while the 15 km or so that this walk would be is longer than most of my “long” walks, it’s not a difficult distance for me and I wanted to do it just for the satisfaction of saying I’d walked from ‘Roona to Moonah. So I added it to my list of 19 things I intended to do in 2019 (aka 19 for 2019—I’ve been blogging about it on my personal blog) and there it’s sat since the start of the year.

I was thinking last Saturday night that I really needed to get out and go for a long walk again, take some photos and wander for the sake of wandering. Last time I did that was back in January.  After I hurt my back three weeks ago in an unfortunate incident involving wet stairs and slippy shoes, I’d not been walking a lot and I was starting to feel a bit cabin feverish.

That walk was beckoning. My back was feeling okay and it wasn’t going to be stupid-hot so I decided to do it.

I had no idea how long it would take or even how far it was but I had no expectations. I was just going to walk, take in whatever I wanted on the way and the goal would be simply to get there. Whatever happened after that would be fine.

And that’s exactly how it turned out.

I wandered my usual route along Sandy Bay Road, stopping to photograph some of my favourite places.

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Long Beach Bathing Pavilion | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 7.26 am

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Wrest Point Casino | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 7.48 am

I took a turn along Marieville Esplanade so I could go through Battery Point and pass by other friends I hadn’t seen for a while.

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1 Cromwell Street, Battery Point | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 8.22 am

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Empress Towers | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 8.36 am

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The Silos | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 8.48 am

I stopped briefly at the Supreme Court before heading down to the bottom of Collins Street to take photos for my Hobart Street Corners project.

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Collins & Campbell Street | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 9.24 am

Finally, I turned towards my destination and made my way up Argyle Street.

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282 Argyle Street | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 9.53 am

My journey took me to New Town Road, through New Town and, finally, to Creek Road, the boundary between Hobart and Glenorchy, commonly referred to as the Flannelette Curtain.

I was in Moonah. I’d done it! If I’d wanted to I could have turned back and gone home again having checked off this mission.

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Main Road & Creek Road | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 10.35 am

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I made it!

I didn’t want to though. I was way past ready for breakfast and headed to a coffee shop so I could sit down for a break and think about what I wanted to do now I’d reached my destination. It was starting to get warmer than I was feeling comfortable with and I hadn’t dressed for burny sun so I didn’t feel like being out much longer.

I decided I’d at least walk to the end of Moonah, which ended up being a trek through Derwent Park and into Glenorchy itself.

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The Carlyle Hotel, Corner of Main Road & Tregear St | Sunday 17 March 2019 | 11.56 am

I hadn’t planned on that, but I reached a bus stop with 10 minutes to wait before the next bus back to town so I figured I might as well walk to the next one, forgetting that on this route the bus stops are a lot further apart than they are on my bus route.

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Howard Road & Main Road Glenorchy from the bus stop | Sunday 17 March 2019 |12.07 pm

Not to worry, I made it in time and after over 16.5 km (I turned the tracker off when I got to the coffee shop but I reckon I would have walked about another 2 km after that) and five and a half hours, I was heading back home with a thing crossed off my 19 for 2019 list, tired but satisfied.

There are some things in the Moonah area that I wanted to check out but they weren’t the purpose of the walk and I can go back and do them another time. By bus, I think.

blue days

I enjoy walking through Battery Point in the mornings. Two of my favourite buildings in Hobart are here.

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Empress Towers | 2 January 2019

Empress Towers was constructed in the 1960s and is Hobart’s tallest residential building. I believe it was intended to be the first of a series of taller residential blocks in Battery Point that never saw the light of day. It stands out from the smaller buildings in the area and is visible from many different vantage points. It gets wonderful light on the river-side first thing in the morning, as well as in the late afternoon when seen from the other direction. I love to photograph it from multiple angles, especially in the morning like today.

My second port of call is often the Silos Apartments, a complex which was constructed in 1951 to store grain waiting for export. It was converted to apartments in 2001. It’s another building that gets interesting light and has many moods to photograph.

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The Silos | 2 January 2019

Both of these buildings made several appearances in my 2018 black & white project and I’m sure they will feature in many more posts in future.