ROYAL ENGINEERS BUILDING

A symbol of the colonial era of the burgeoning settlement of Hobart, the Royal Engineers Building has been a mainstay of Hobart’s cityscape.

Constructed in 1847, the Royal Engineers Building was purposed built as the headquarters of the Royal Engineers, who oversaw the British colonial construction program in Tasmania as part of the Ordinance Department.

At more than 130 years old, the Royal Engineers Building underwent major conservation works in the 1980s, with much of the damaged stonework repaired.

In 2022, the Royal Engineers Building will undergo restoration works to repair deteriorating stonework, ensuring the heritage of the building can continue to be enjoyed by the public for years to come.

Situated next to the Mac Point urban renewal project, the Royal Engineers Building will fit within the broader development of the site and serve as a reminder of the site's significant industrial uses over the past 200 years.

The building will continue to remain in public hands as a component of the 13,000m2 central parkland at Mac Point.

Who were the Royal Engineers?

The role of the Engineers was broad. They were responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of all convict and military buildings, fortifications and hospitals. Their work extended from Hobart to Launceston, including the towns of Ross, Campbell Town, George Town, Westbury, Richmond, New Norfolk and the penal settlements on the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas.

During the 1840s, the work of the Royal Engineers grew further. Their responsibility included all civil government works in addition to military and convict projects, together with maintaining provisions for troops and convicts. In 1837, this amounted to 500 military personnel and 4,000 convicts. By 1847, it had grown significantly to 3,000 troops and 20,000 convicts.

In response to this massive increase in work, a new headquarters was established on Macquarie Point, constructed in the Victorian Tudor style. The Royal Engineers and Ordnance served in Tasmania from 1835 to the early 1870s.