Mawson’s Huts Foundation says it remains in limbo about the future of its Hobart museum

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A concept drawing of Spirit Place on the site of the Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum in Argyle St. Picture: JAWS ARCHITECTS

THE Mawson’s Huts Foundation remains “in limbo” about the future of Hobart’s popular replica huts museum, as Hobart City Council prepares to redevelop the site.

The replica huts are located on the Council-owned block known as Civic Square, bounded by Morrison, Argyle, Davey and Elizabeth Streets.

Council is seeking public feedback on its preferred proposal for the Square, including a hotel, shops, cafes, a new visitor information centre and public laneways.

The redevelopment will require the removal of the replica hut museum.

Mawson’s Huts Foundation chairman David Jensen said the foundation had been seeking talks with council about a new waterfront location for the museum.

A concept drawing of the Spirit Place development. Picture: JAWS ARCHITECTS

Mr Jensen said it made sense to consider a suitable plan B for the museum well ahead of any development that would require its removal.

“This leaves us in limbo with a great deal of uncertainty. We employ staff and have wonderful teams of volunteers,” he said.

“The replica museum has provided Hobart with a significant tourist attraction which is bringing in tens of thousands of visitors to Hobart and Tasmania, we would hope that is recognised and that we can sit down and discuss a potential new home, if the proposal goes ahead.”

DEVELOPER SPRUIKS THE BENEFITS OF SPIRIT PLACE COMPLEX

Mr Jensen said the Foundation had been contacted by Mawson’s grandchildren who were dismayed by the uncertainty around the museum.

“All of them expressed great disappointment that the replica of the hut built by their grandfather may be removed,” he said.

A concept drawing of the Spirit Place development. Picture: JAWS ARCHITECTS

Council is accepting public feedback on the Civic Square redevelopment until July 21.

In her latest newsletter to ratepayers, Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds expressed some reservations about the Council’s decision to offer Civic Square over to private developers.

“Since 2015, a series of decisions has seen Council head down the path of seeking expressions of interest from the private sector, rather than finding ways to develop or improve this important site ourselves,” Cr Reynolds wrote.

“The process has not been as transparent as I would have liked. Civic Square has been considered at 15 different Council meetings since 2015, but only two of these were open to the public.”

Cr Reynolds said she was concerned the Spirit Place proposal did not meet the “basic requirement” that public land should be used in the public interest.

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