Burnie: A Sense of Place
Metro Cinema, Corner Marine Terrace & Wilmont Street, Burnie: Perched at the high end of Marine Terrace at the top of the rise is Burnie's Metro Cinema complex. The first building to occupy this position was the VDL Co. store, a massive warehouse which towered over the port for over 50 years.
The site of the VDL Co. store today
As the company's activities in Burnie decreased, so did its need for a building of this size. Eventually it was demolished and replaced by the headquarters of the Burnie Marine Board. When the Board was incorporated into Tasports in 2006, their building was put to other uses before being removed and replaced by the Council car park.
10 Marine Terrace, Burnie: The first Bay View Hotel was constructed in 1875 by prominent local businessman, Captain William Jones. Here, a two storey weatherboard building was erected, generally known as Jones’ Hotel. Jones and his family lived on site until 1878, before leasing the hotel. Thomas Wiseman became the eventual owner in 1884. On 27 January 1896 it was gutted by the fire that destroyed the Bay View and Commercial hotels. It was reconstructed in the same year to become the new Bay View Hotel. Wiseman constructed a new brick Bay View Hotel in 1899, incorporating Jones' adjoining brick store. The ground floor contained Jones' Auction Mart, the middle floor a skating rink, and the top floor hotel rooms associated with Thomas Wiseman's neighbouring Bay View Hotel.
14 Marine Terrace, Burnie: The purpose built building was constructed in 1898 as Burnie's Post Office. Postal services relocated to Wilson Street in the 1920s. An architecturally important example of Federation Free Classical architecture, the building is symmetrical in design, with an imitation masonry ground level, and brick above. It features classical elements in the arched window openings, window architraves, pediments and balustrade on the parapet, concealing the roofline.
22 Marine Terrace, Burnie: One of Burnie's better examples of a late 19th century two storey building erected as retail premises. It has basic elements of the Victorian Georgian style of Architecture, no doubt to blend in with the landscape of Georgian style buildings which once surrounded it, but have long since been demolished. The building occupies a prominent corner position, with entrance via corner door.
Greens Hotel, 27 Marine Terrace, Burnie: one of Burnie's oldest surviving hotel buildings, it was constructed in the early 20th century. Greens Hotel is a large, two storey, stuccoed building, constructed in the Federation Free Style of architecture. The building is asymmetrically arranged, with verandahs on both levels, and prominent gables.
30 Marine Terrace, Burnie: This Art Deco style building was constructed in 1938 by Len Frith as the Vogue Theatre. The theatre was renovated in 1941 and closed in the 1960s, before being used by the Police Citizens Boys Club.
32-34 Marine Terrace, Burnie: Like other parts of the North West, Burnie’s early industries were focused on forestry and agriculture, with dairying and milk processing being an important early industry. In 1910 the North Western Co-operative Dairy Company constructed a new three storey weatherboard factory near the corner of Marine Terrace and Spring Street. By 1927, the Company was comparable in its production with the other large producers on the North West Coast. That same year, a new brick factory was constructed alongside the original timber factory, the building which fronts Spring Street. The operation was producing 350 tons of butter a week by 1936, and like other producers, operations were affected by World War Two. The industry experienced a boom in the post-war years, and in 1954 extensive alterations and modifications were made to the premises. However, the central city location limited expansion, and the factory closed in 1976.
In 1956, MM Smith of South Burnie constructed the current brick buildings fronting Marine Terrace in a Post-War International Style of architecture, with smooth external surfaces, a rounded corner and use of glass bricks.
Burnie Railway Station, Marine Terrace, Burnie: In 1875, the VDL Co. began works on constructing a horse drawn tramway from Waratah to Burnie, over a distance of some 70 km. A station was erected near Spring Street as the port terminus, and a large stable block was built nearby. From 1883-84, the wooden horse drawn tramway was replaced by a 3ft 6in gauge railway to be powered by steam locomotives. The present railway station building was constructed in 1914 for the Emu Bay Railway Company in the Federation Free Style of architecture, with decorative gable details and timber fretwork to the verandah valances and balustrades. Historic rail cars are also held at the site.
Portside (former Burnie Technical College), 1-3 Spring Street, Burnie: this buiding occupies the site of the first European burial ground in Burnie. The former cemetery is located partially beneath the building and extends under Spring Street. During construction, human remains from the old VDL Co. cemetery were discovered.
During the late 1930s, the only technical education in the Burnie District was training though apprenticeships with local businesses and the High School offering some electrical and carpentry trade courses. However, with the establishment of the paper industry, a need grew for technically skilled employees, and political pressure was put on Premier Ogilvie in 1937 to provide for this.
The site was purchased from the VDL Co. in 1940 and plans for the buildings prepared by Public Works Department architect, Sydney Blythe, who designed many public buildings in Tasmania at this time. The project was approved in January 1941. However, the onset of World War II delayed construction, and the site was progressively developed between 1941-1949. The main College block was built between 1948-49, by local prominent firm, Carter and Peace. In 1968 a major extension was constructed on the eastern elevation of the College. Technical education relocated to Mooreville Road in 1974
1 Cattley Street, Burnie: Former bank building on the corner of Marine Terrace, was constructed for the Bank of Van Diemen's Land (V.D.L Bank), and completed in 1892. By the time the building was completed, the bank had gone broke and closed, so the building was taken over by the Commercial Bank, but not occupied. It was later taken over by the National Bank of Tasmania, which amalgamated with the Commercial Bank of Australia in 1918. The building is a good example of the Federation Free Style of architecture with a prominent corner position making a strong contribution the Streetscape.
Marine Terrace, early 1900s. The bank building can be see in the centre of the photo
3-5 Cattley Street, Burnie: This Art Deco building was originally Farthrone’s chemist shop. It remained as a chemist until occupied by Dr McGrath as a surgery. It was totally remodelled in 1957, under the direction of Kemsley & Co, architects, with practices in Melbourne and Launceston.
14 Cattley Street, Burnie: The former Launceston Bank is a two storey stuccoed building, designed in the Federation Free Classical style of architecture. Featuring a symmetrical façade, divided into three bays by pilasters, round-arch entrance, and pediment to the parapet.
11-19 Cattley Street, Burnie: were all constructed before 1918. 19-21 Cattley Street, on the right, was constructed for Ernest Albert Winter's Tasma Studio (photography) and residence, some time after 1911. 17 Cattley Street, in centre, was apparently Jones & Munn tailors by 1918, later Tasmanian Permanent Executors and Equity Trustees Limited, which became Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees. 13 and 15 Cattley Street, on the left, was apparently once a C.E. Button & Co store. At some point it was covered in metal panelling and became Gilpins furniture and white goods store.
Trustee House, 23 Cattley Street, Burnie, cnr Wilson Street: a Federation Free Style commercial building from the late Federation period, it was occupied from October 1924 by the Union Bank of Australia, and later the Launceston Bank for Savings. It was modified in 1957 for use as a store, and again during the 1990s.
Lincoln House, 26-30 Cattley Street, Burnie: Lincoln House is an example of the Art Deco Style of architecture. Opened in 1940, it was designed by Lauriston Crisp, a prominent architect of the period.
39-41 Cattley Street, Burnie: it was built as lawyers' offices in the 1930s. The building was originally built for Crisp, Hudson and Mann Barristers and Solicitors. Entrance was originally via a single door at the left, before later remodelling which relocated the entrance to the centre of the building. At one stage the building was home to a dance hall and lending library.
St Luke's Building, 43 Cattley Street, Burnie: constructed by the Hobart Bank in c.1921 it is an example of a commercial building built in the Federation Free Style, with symmetrical facades on each elevation, 2-part casement window topped by pediments and round arched recesses. The parapet wall at the top of the bay has a triangular step. The site was originally used by the Don Trading Company as their wood yard.
69 Mount Street, Burnie: constructed as a cinema in the 1950s, known as the Star Theatre and perhaps later as Cinema One. It's now a bar and café; Otis Room and Run Rabbit Run.
Cnr. Mount Street and Cattley Street, Burnie: St George's Anglican Church, brick building completed in 1885, which replaced the original St George's Church constructed in the 1880s. To mark the 50th jubilee of the Church in 1934, memorial stained glass windows were installed in recognition of former rectors and prominent members of the community. In 1959-60, major alterations were made to St George’s and resulted in the almost total demolition of the original Church and reconstruction on a larger scale. The church was reopened in 1969.
In 1938, Carter and Peace constructed the adjacent hall. With its traditional gabled roof form, the building features a decorative Art Deco entrance. The hall was designed by prominent Tasmanian architects H.S. East and Roy Smith in 1956.
Burnie Uniting Church, 66 Mount Street, Burnie: The church is a good example of Federation Gothic architecture with steeply pitched roof, parapeted gable, arched windows and openings, and tracery.
By the late nineteenth century, three Methodist congregations had established churches in Burnie. These groups had a friendly relationship, and unified in 1900. Plans were begun to construct a new United Methodist Church on the site of property owned by the Primitive Methodists in Mount Street. The new United Methodist Church was completed in 1901 at a cost of £1,700 and designed by A.E. Luttrell of Devonport. The Church constructed in 1901 remained virtually unchanged until 1958, when extensive modifications were made to the building. The older Primitive Church was moved to the rear of the new Church, being used for Sunday School classes. With the construction of the new building, the United Free and Wesleyan Methodists sold their sites.
53 Mount Street, Burnie: This 2 storey office building (left) typifies the smaller office building contructed in regional towns across Australia in the 1950s. It is a textbook example of the International style of architecture, with its simple, boxy symetrical shape, floor-to-ceiling "curtain wall" of windows on each floor and a floor-to-roof external crazy-stone feature wall which were popular features of homes of that style and era. No 55 next door (right), which was built around the same time, is also an International style design, and also features a "curtain wall" of floor-to-ceiling windows.
57-61 Mount Street, Burnie: In 1899, a group of Burnie locals met at the Town Hall with a view to establishing a Baptist Church in the town. Their plans came to fruition, and Pastor Wood began to hold services in the Town Hall and the old Primitive Methodist Chapel. Funds were raised locally for the purchase of land in Mount Street and the erection of a purpose built Church. Opening in 1901, the congregation built a weatherboard church on the site with an adjoining two-storey brick manse for £420.
By 1925, this weatherboard church proved too small for the growing congregation and calls were made for the erection of a brick building capable of holding more than 350 worshippers. The foundation stone was laid in 1925 by J.T. Soundy, President of the Baptist Union in Tasmania, and the old wooden church was moved to the rear of the block for use as a Sunday school. Constructed almost entirely by the voluntary labour of the parishioners, the new Church was completed in 1925 at a cost of £1,675. The old Church was then converted to form vestries, a kindergarten and kitchen.
The brick church is a good example of Inter-War Gothic architecture with parapeted gable, vertical elements on the skyline, crenellations and large entrance arch. The earlier church manse demonstrates the broad characteristics of the Federation Queen Anne style of architecture with a later connection between the Church and manse.
54-56 Mount Street, Burnie: the former Advocate offices were built in 1920, replacing an earlier timber building destroyed by fire. Extensions were made to the building in 1950 to the design of architect Albert Freak. The large entrance doors to the façade have been replaced with windows. The façade of the building is a simple example of Federation Free Style of architecture with moulded stringcourses and stepped parapet concealing the roofline.
The Advocate newspaper and predecessors were established by Robert Harris, and his son Charles. Robert entered the newspaper business during the mid-nineteenth century, before moving to Victoria and also New Zealand. In 1890, Robert and his son established in Burnie the Wellington Times, and from 1899, the North Western Advocate was published from Devonport. The newspapers were merged in 1890 to become the Advocate. For its time, it was recognised as one of Australia’s leading regional daily papers, and a leader in new technology. The Harris family became very prominent members of the north west coast community, and retained involvement in the paper until 2001.
Ikon Hotel, Mount Street cnr Wilmot Street, Burnie: The Ikon Hotel was built in 1912 by J.T. Alexander, a member of the prominent Alexander family, who pioneered European settlement at Table Cape. Alexander had previously leased the Sea View (Beach Hotel) from 1902-1910, and with financial support from his family, decided to build his own hotel, the Club (now Ikon) Hotel.
The Club was and still is Burnie’s largest and most extravagant early hotel. Alexander faced opposition in his plans, with criticism that the hotel would be too close to several churches, and disrupt the peace. Nonetheless, Alexander succeeded and built the hotel. Constructed by F.H. Haines of Devonport, the hotel cost 3,500 pounds. Alexander was known for his generosity to many needy families during the Great Depression. However, with mounting debts, Alexander was forced to sell the Hotel in 1933.
Architecturally, the Ikon Hotel is an excellent, and very prominent building, given its location at the corner of Mount and Wilmot Streets. The three storey building is dominated by the tall pyramidal tower, and flanking verandahs on two levels. It features very fine cast iron valances and balustrades. The building extends along both street frontages with double hung sash windows and prominent gables.
54 Alexander Street, Burnie: constructed as a Masonic temple and opened in 1923. It demonstrates the broad characteristics of the Federation Free Classical stye of architecture. Windows and the entranceway have been modified.
52 Alexander Street, Burnie: The Art Deco building was constructed in 1937, to the design of Melbourne architects, Hugh and Arthur Peck. Arthur Peck was also involved in the design of a Boer War Memorial and Majella in Melbourne. Originally known as Cromer Court, the apartment block was built for Mr Bullings, constructed by Frederick Parsons. The building was constructed as ten flats for use as rental accommodation. It also incorporated a row of garages, demonstrating design evolution in response to growing private vehicle ownership circa 1938.
36 Alexander Street, Burnie: The RSL building is of functional modern construction. The site was previously a house and was bought and remodelled by the RSL in 1952.
53 - 55 Alexander Street, Burnie: a former residence now used for commercial purposes, this building has basic elements of the Federation Queen Anne Style of Architecture.
4 Alexander Street, Burnie: a former residence, this two-storey building has basic elements of the Federation Queen Anne Style of Architecture.
23-25 Ladbrooke Street, Burnie: an example of a simple commercial building form the inter-war period.
Mallee Grill, North Terrace, Burnie: The Hotel Regent was constructed on the site of a former blacksmiths, and on 24 December, 1952. The hotel was constructed for Mrs Tucker who ran the establishment for the next 12 years. It was built by her son, Tom Tucker, who carried out most of the concrete construction himself. Mrs Tucker had previously managed hotels in Launceston, and remained licensee of the Regent until it was purchased by Tasmanian Breweries. The hotel was then leased to Max Green, prominent footballer with the Cooee Football Club.
The Hotel was designed by the prominent architects Roy Smith and Willing from Launceston. Smith was a prominent architect, designing the important Holyman House in Launceston. He was also the first Tasmanian architect to be president of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. This building is an example of Post-War International architecture, with strong references to the previous Art Deco period. This is demonstrated by its simple geometric shape, roof concealed by the parapet, and the strong horizontal emphasis.
Beach Hotel, 1 Wilson Street, Burnie, corner North Terrace: Originally the Sea View Hotel, it was built in 1901 for Cyril Davey. The first licensee was Joseph Thomas Alexander, who later built the Club Hotel which opened in 1912. Occupying a prominent corner position, the hotel originally had the entrance via a corner door.
The Beach Hotel in its original form
In 1938 internal and external modifications were made to the building to the design of Melbourne architects Seabrook & Fildes. The hotel was extensively modified again, by Tasmanian Breweries in 1960 to the design of Philp, Lighton, Floyd and Beattie of Hobart. The building now has the basic elements of the Victorian Georgian style of Architecture.
Brownell Place, 12 Wilson Street, Burnie: Located at a prominent location, this building is a simple example of Post-War International architecture, demonstrated by its simple geometric shape, roof concealed by the parapet, the strong horizontal emphasis and the extensive use of glass. It maintains its original signage. The building's name recalls Brownell Bros, drapers. n the late 1890s, Davidson opened a branch of the Brownell Bros business on Cattley Street. In 1907, the business moved to the newly constructed building on the corner of Cattley and Wilson Streets. This row of shops became known as Brownell’s Building with the firm occupying the corner store for its own business.
14 Wilson Street, Burnie: The pharmacy is the oldest retail establishment on Wilson Street which continues to exist on the same site. The first pharmacy was established on the site in 1887 by H.G. Spicer. The current building was constructed in c.1923 by Nathaniel Brown, with the shop on the ground floor and residence above. It demonstrates the broad characteristics of the Federation Free Classical type of architecture.
15 Wilson Street, Burnie: This commercial building has elements of the Art Deco Style of architecture. The building was constructed for the Maples Department Store in 1939, by the local firm, Carter and Peace. Reportedly, at its time of construction, the building had the largest plate glass windows in Tasmania. Structurally, the first floor was supported by slim circular columns, clad in stainless steel. It forms an important grouping with the very similar commercial building on the other side of Mount Street.
17 Wilson Street, cnr Wilmot Street: This art deco style building was constructed in 1940 by Carter & Peace for Mace and Wardlaw. It is a good example of the Art Deco type of architecture and is associated with Lauriston Crisp, a prominent architect of the time. In 1969, modifications were made to the building by Philp, Lighton, Floyd & Beattie of Hobart. Long term residents of the building included the Charles Davis store and Guy Jones Furnishings.
39 Wilson Street, Burnie: This is an example of a commercial building from the Federation period, demonstrating the Federation Free Classical type of architecture. These characteristics are demonstrated by the symmetrical façade, contrasting materials and colour, classical details such as the pediment and semi-circular window opening on the upper level.
40 Wilson Street, Burnie: an example of the inter-war free classical style of architecture on a site with long associations to E.A. Joyce and Son Jewellers. Joyce was a watchmaker from Launceston, who established Joyce’s Jewellers, one of Burnie’s oldest continuing businesses, and built one of the city's grandest homes, Wyona. Earlier premises were destroyed by fire and a new shop was constructed in 1900. This was extended and modified in 1928 and again in 1958, including the creation of Joyce’s Shopping Arcade. Joyce was also a leader in the establishment of the Baptist Church in Burnie.
56-62 Wilson Street, Burnie: A group of commercial buildings, later consolidated into the larger Harris Scarfe building. The building was originally constructed in 1907 for Brownell's & Co., drapers, and was known as London House. The site was later known as Palfreyman's Corner, and occupied by FitzGerald’s and Harris Scarfe department stores.
In 2008, the aluminium cladding was removed from the upper level of buildings on the corner of Mount and Cattley Streets. Its removal revealed upper storey shop fronts from the Federation period with bricked in window openings. These upper storey shop fronts are examples of the Federation Free Classical type of architecture, demonstrated in the contrasting use of materials, classical motifs in the pilasters with Corinthian capitals and arched window openings.
75 Wilson Street, cnr Cattley Street, Burnie: sometimes known as the Tasmanian Government Insurance Office (TGIO) building. It was apparently constructed for the Commercial Bank starting in 1913 or later, and designed by George Stanley Crisp of Hobart, but they never used it. Built in the Federation Free Style of architecture, it features a rusticated sandstone foundation, with brick above. Strong horizontal division is formed by the stuccoed bands between the levels. The prominent corner entry includes classical details of a pediment supported by Doric columns.
88-98 Wilson Street, Burnie: Western District police adminstration and SES regional office. A former house with Federation Filigree architecture, it was built for the Loucade-Wells family by the contractors Greenhill and Rogers. It was later acquired for use as a combined residence and dental surgery. Historical items from the surgery are now contained at the Pioneer Museum.
The building is a very fine example of Federation Filigree architecture. The two storey building is symmetrically arranged with a hipped roof featuring a widows walk, and prominent verandahs on both levels with excellent examples of cast iron work in the balustrades.
112 Wilson Street, Burnie: This former two storey residence has basic elements of the Federation Queen Anne Style of Architecture.
Brethren Gospel Hall, 109 Wilson Street, Burnie: The Christian Brethren began services in Burnie in 1875 with the meeting of a small group at the home of George Atkinson. A committee was formed for the purposes of constructing a Gospel Hall. Their work was assisted by James ‘Philosopher’ Smith, of Mount Bischoff fame. Smith was deeply religious and donated land in Mount Street for the Hall. In 1875, the three trustees called for tenders for the construction of a simple timber building. The Hall was opened in 1876, at a cost of some £25. At first, conditions were primitive, with no floor and unlined walls. Over the years the building was improved, and sometimes used as a school. On the death of Smith, his widow donated further land in order to construct a bigger, brick hall alongside the original timber structure. The current hall was built in 1915 at a cost of £900, and was enlarged in 1930.
The church is a good example of Federation Gothic architecture with steeply pitched roof, parapeted gable, arched windows, and buttresses marking the structural bays.
100 Wilson Street, Burnie: This two storey building was constructed as showrooms and workshops for D. Loane Pty Ltd in 1958. It is a late example of Art Deco/Functionalist style and one of few of its style that survives.
103-105 Wilson Street, Burnie: this building is noted for its association with John Mylan, Burnie’s first qualified tradesman and the town’s most prominent businessman in the 1860s and 1870s. Mylan arrived in Burnie in 1848, and purchased land on the corner of Ladbrooke and Marine Terrace. He later went to Launceston and Melbourne where he trained as a blacksmith and coachbuilder. Mylan returned to Burnie in 1868, where he established business as a blacksmith, builder and undertaker. Later tenants of this shop on Marine Terrace entrance included Recardos Fruit Shop and Avery Scales.
Burnie Inn, Burnie Park: Burnie Inn, first known as Burnie Tavern was Emu Bay's first licenced tavern established in 1847 and after the discovery of rich tin at Mount Bischoff Burnie started to boom and the Inn was extended.
Moved from its original site in Marine Terrace on 20 August 1973, the Inn is a fine example of a Colonial vernacular cottage in this area. The first licensee of the then 'Birnie Tavern' was Joseph Law in 1847. Law was still the licensee when the name was changed to Burnie Inn in 1851 and he held the licence until 1855. Location: Burnie Park, near intersection of Parklands Road and Park Street, Parklands, Burnie.
The Menai Hotel Motel in South Burnie, at the corner of Edwardes Street and Menai Street. The hotel was commissioned by Wilf Campbell and opened circa 1954 after about four years of construction. It's built on the site of Captain William Jones's homestead Menai, which still exists at the back of the hotel.
Captain Jones was a prominent local identity known as the ‘King of Burnie’. Jones was a very successful Burnie business owner and entrepreneur, owning the Burnie brickyard, hotels, butter factory, abattoir, cordial factory, timber and mining holdings and several farms.
Former APPM Administration Building, Cnr Bass Highway and Reeves Street, South Burnie: This is one of the finest examples of 1930s Functionalist/Art Deco architecture in Australia. The APPM factory started production in 1938 and reached final closure in 2010, but at the start of the 1970s around 3,700 people worked for APPM in and around Burnie - the mill was one of the main employers of the region. Driving into Burnie, the Burnie Paper Mill was a mighty impressive sight to behold, an industrial powerhouse, reminding one that you were now entering the industrial capital of the North-West.
Former Burnie High School Domestic Arts Building in Burnie, the last surviving building from the original Burnie High School site, opened in 1940. The Domestic Arts Building is a single storey brick building from the inter-war Period, with prominent hipped roof, and decorative stucco.
Wyona, 7 William Street, Burnie: originally on High Street. A Federation Queen Anne style house built circa 1914 for Edward Alfred Joyce (1871-1947). A leading Tasmanian manufacturing jeweller, he took not only an interest but also a pride in the progress of Burnie and widened his business interests as the town developed. Joyce Arcade, which he built, is named in his honour. His jewellery store, E.A. Joyce and Son, opened for business at 40 Wilson Street, Burnie in 1893. It finally closed in December 2019, after 126 years of service.
Joyce had a special interest in the Burnie Baptist Church. He was a foundation member, and secretary of the church for more than 41 years, an office from which he retired in September 1941. He was secretary of the Burnie Sick and Benevolent Fund for many years, and held the office during the depression years when there was much work for the organisation to do.
Parkside Building, Strahan Street, South Burnie: today home to miscellaneous medical facilities, it was built next to Burnie Hospital (opened 1951, since demolished) as accommodation for nurses. After World War II, Australia experienced a building boom, but materials were scarce and expensive, so very simple, basic design and construction became a neccessity. The resulting architectural style was named International.