Launceston Flagship Architecture – The Federation

I was recently doing an Auction in South Launceston. It was a circa 1900 Federation style cottage and it made me think how iconic that style of home is on our local landscape.

The federation style is charactarised by features such as free planning, tuck-pointed brickwork, stucco banding, leadlight windows, and roofs covered with Marseilles tiles, although cheaper examples might be of painted timber, with corrugated iron roofs. Elaborate woodwork was often used in place of imported Victorian and Edwardian cast iron ‘lace’.

The history of building in the federation era really goes back to the late 1800’s where Launceston was going through an economic “purple patch”

The Northern Tasmanian mineral discoveries of the 1870’s, and their subsequent exploitation by predominantly local companies, had, within a decade, noticeably affected the building industry in Launceston. The discovery of Tin at Mount Bischoff and gold in Beaconsfield were flooding money into the Northern economy. The population nearly doubled in Launceston from 1870 to 1890 making it one of Australian Richest Cities.

With the economic growth and wealth it was naturally going to stimulate the local building sector. Tasmanian architects continued to be aware of the latest ideas through travel and study abroad and the ever-increasing flow of overseas publications.

New builds mushroomed out into new suburbs like Trevallyn, Invermay, West Launceston and East Launceston and fortunately many of these homes are still predominant in our street scape today.


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