Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kings Wharf Silos, Launceston: A Different Perspective

The old silos in Launceston at Kings Wharf are a former shell of what was once an thriving industrial seaport site, known as Kings Wharf precinct. I find the silos to be a fascinating building as they are imposing and stand alone. The silos were designed in the late 1950s and they highlight the cities Industrial past, towering high enough to be seen throughout many vantage points around Launceston. The silos and the surrounding buildings are all in various states of decay and many are at risk of demolition, including the wonderful sawtooth designed woolsheds from the late 1930s. There was once a large wharf adjacent to the Silos, but only remains of large wooden beams exist, tangled in blackberry and garbage. Interestingly the silos were recently had graffiti prominently displayed on the upper facade, but as soon as it went up, it came down again with a fresh coat of new paint. Perhaps being a towering building that has dominance all over Launceston, the local authority viewed this prominent act as a negative portrayal on the city? A shame that the next step cannot be taken and for there to be real vision in adaptive reuse of silos and adjacent woolsheds. It's such a shame that sites like these are put into the "too hard basket", and then end up so badly damaged that they are no longer seen as assets but eyesores that should be demolished. This happens far too often, Launceston has many wonderful periods of architecture, but unfortunately places such as the Kings Wharf Silos that represent Launceston's 20th Century heritage are left standing with an uncertain future. Hobart had similar sized silos on it's docks down on Salamanca, these were converted into apartments....the entire docks of Hobart in the 20th Centiry were a hive of Industrial activity, only to be adaptively reused, cleaned up and turned into a tourist hot spot....you see where I am leading............


  1. I DO see where you are heading. Kings Wharf Silos were important historically and architecturally, representing Launceston's industrial and seaport past. If they are ever converted into flats or businesses, I hope a part is set aside as a historical museum; they could tell the story of the old seaport.

  2. Didn't Errol Stewart have plans for the north bank of the North Esk, kind of an extension of the existing Ye Olde Seaport? I have the feeling he needs to wait until the new levee banks are finished. Hopefully his plans include the old silos & a bit of a tidy up of that area in general...


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Join me (Thomas Ryan Photography) on a photographic project documenting Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism from the 1930's to the 1980's. The entire project gallery of 1000+ images and counting can be viewed on my website www.tryanphotos.com under art projects. I have been undertaking this project for over a decade.

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