Discover the Henry Jones Art Hotel History
History of the Harbourside
In the early morning of Sunday, 19th February 1804, Lieutenant Governor David Collins and the Reverend Robert Knopwood stepped from a rowing boat onto the shore of Hunter Island, in a remote corner of Van Diemen’s Land. The beautiful, forested bay they had entered had for thousands of years been a traditional food gathering area for the indigenous Mouheeneer band of Tasmanian Aborigines. But the arrival of the two men on that hot summer’s morning marked a new era of change for the island—the settlement of Hobart.
Hunter Island was the ideal secure location for storing goods and supplies for the new settlement. A building and small wharf were soon built and the newly named Sullivan’s Cove became a station for military personnel, convicts and supply stores. The settlement grew rapidly, fed by thriving whaling and sealing industries and a steady supply of convict labour.
Development on Hunter Island quickly expanded. In 1820, a causeway was constructed to connect the island to the mainland. Factories, storehouses and dwellings emerged and over the next 15 years, the area experienced a huge turnover of businesses.
But in the 1830s, a severe depression hit the area hard. The whaling industry had collapsed, a new wharf had been constructed across the bay (at what is now Salamanca Place) and the Old Wharf and nearby Wapping residential area was gripped by poverty and misery. The rivulet that supplied Wapping with fresh water had become contaminated by pollution from factories and slaughterhouses. Disease was rampant, and the area was prone to flooding, adding to the wretchedness of the inhabitants. Slums proliferated and the buildings of Old Wharf fell into disrepair. The Old Wharf, with its brothels, taverns and nefarious activities, developed a reputation for wickedness.
But in 1869, businessman George Peacock moved his successful jam making business to newly acquired warehouses on Old Wharf—the best location in Hobart for exporting produce. Peacock Jams were in high demand, and the shrewd businessman had a vision and determination to expand his flourishing business.
At 12 years of age, Henry Jones presented himself for his first day of work at George Peacock’s jam factory – his first and only employer. From humble beginnings, working ten hours a day, six days a week, sticking labels to jam tins, Henry would rise through the ranks of the expanding Peacock empire to eventually take over the business that would one day bear his name—H. Jones and Co. Pty. Ltd. IXL Jams.
Art & History Tour
When you stay with the Henry Jones Art Hotel you’re immersed in an environment of original, contemporary art by Tasmanian artists. It is like staying in an art gallery.
Our Art and History Tour gives you the opportunity to enjoy and experience the Henry Jones art collection in more depth, and to share in the stories of the Henry Jones site and the generations of people who have created it.
Hosted by our knowledgeable and passionate guide, the tour will lead you through the intriguing spaces and corridors of the hotel, explaining contexts of the artworks on display and the deep history etched in the fabric of the heritage buildings. You’ll discover the Henry Jones story; from thriving industrial beginnings to its place as a contemporary art hotel. Enjoy a glass of wine or beer as the narrative of the site and its art unfolds.
Our Art & History Tours begin* each Friday afternoon at 4pm*, and are complimentary for guests of the hotel. For tour guests who are not staying at the hotel, bookings are available at a cost of $15.00 per person. Bookings are essential and can be made by emailing the hotel Concierge For more information you can also contact us on +61 3 6210 7700.
*Tour departures may be subject to change—please check with our Concierge at the time of booking.