Leisure Inn Penny Royal Hotel & Apartments
The Penny Royal Motel and Apartments is located at 147 Paterson Street Launceston, on the peaceful fringe of Launceston’s CBD, well positioned within a minutes’ walk to the famous Cataract Gorge. Recently refurbished at a cost of $2.5 million by the current owner and offering 33 modern & well appointed motel rooms, and 50 serviced apartments, ranging from studios to 3 and 4 bedroom apartments, with well appointed kitchens and some with basic cooking facilities, it is well equipped to cater for all accommodation requirements. The Penny Royal Watermill Motel and Apartments is perfectly situated to explore Northern Tasmania, offering a child friendly environment, free onsite parking and the friendly staff to assist with all your travel plans. The local on site restaurant, the Watermill Tavern, offers quality cuisine opening for Breakfast and Dinner 7 days.
The building also has a remarkable and interesting history; it was originally built by Andrew Gatenby a Yorkshire man who arrived from England in 1823, bringing his wife and seven children from Wales where they had been living for 10 years. When they arrived to Van Diemen’s Land, the family settled on land between Cressy and Ross on the Isis River, which was then known as Penny Royal Creek.
The original holding was a 1500 acre grant to Andrew Gatenby made on the 4th September 1823. He and his family had travelled on the ship ‘Berwic’ bringing with him 1214 pounds, nine shillings and tuppence halfpenny in goods and cash. Andrew Gatenby was a man with vision and first built a small dwelling on the land, later he was to build a very impressive stone farmhouse of 48 square feet, with one storey and attics above the ground floor. Barton Homestead as it is named is of the Edwardian period, the old buildings are still standing today.
By the September of 1825 Andrew and his sons had by their own efforts built a substantial timber flour mill, by 1840 which was later replaced by a free standing building. The mammoth task was overseen by Andrew Gatenby and his sons. The operation involving some 6,000 stone blocks weighing over 1,800 tons, huge timber beams and other materials, all of which had to be purchased and moved over great distances and difficult terrain. The materials required to build such a structure would have been something like 400 and 500 tonnes of lime mortar to cement the stone blocks, with none other than man power and the primitive sand sieves of the 19th century.
In 1972, inspired by this story of ingenuity and purpose a Tasmanian by the name of Roger Smith undertook a task of similar mammoth proportions to that of the late Andrew Gatenby, with a vision as great and as challenging. Costing $20 million in the 70’s, in today’s terms a rebuild like this would cost more than $100 million, making it almost impossible to achieve such a feat.
He employed tradesmen and labourers to disassemble the Penny Royal Mill, and stone by stone move it to the site where it is today. He used a 60 foot, six tonne hydraulic crane for the job, a five ton fork lift, bull dozer and other heavy earth moving and hauling equipment to carefully re-erect the mill at its current site.
The honey coloured stone looking much like stand stone is actually much more likely to be English gritstone. It was found by the stonemasons of the 1970’s to be very hard rock that was indeed unique, but the exact location of the quarry is not known today.
The picturesque site and buildings will be developed further, with some of the surrounding buildings undergoing refurbishment in the near future. This will provide an added attraction of a function and conference centre, with the latest in communication technology and facilities.