OUR STORY

The very site of MACq 01 is infused with tales of hangings, love, whaling trade and licking flames. The characters of Tasmania have become our story. They inform the concept and design of MACq 01 and we’ll engage your every sense to encounter them. As curators of these stories, we invite you into the Tasmanian community both past and present. Encounter First Tasmanian warriors, convicts forced onto our shores, others arriving with flags, and those who walk the streets today. This is a journey of people, time and place.

  • HISTORY
  • CONCEPT
  • DESIGN
  • COMMUNITY
Hobart History

Before MACq 01...

The MACq 01 site has a colourful and distant past. The living story dates back at least 42,500 years. During this time, the First Tasmanians saw their coastline change several times with the rise and fall of sea levels due to at least two global ice ages. The Mouheneenner were the caretakers of the Country we now know as Hobart, and with kunanyi (Mt Wellington) as the everwatchful eye they lived healthy, happy and dignified lives. The Mouheneenner were sea-going people and built robust, sturdy canoes, a practice which is continued today. The men hunted larger animals like kangaroo, wallaby and emu, while the women made rope to climb trees to get possum, paddled to offshore islands to hunt seals and collect bird eggs, and dived for extraordinary lengths of time to acquire bountiful harvests of abalone and crayfish.


Hard to picture the landscape thousands of years ago? Try imagining a small rocky island where MACq 01 now stands. This was Hunter Island. During the 1800s, notorious bushrangers were hung on the isle and are still buried deep below us. Home to Tasmania’s first jetty, Hunter Island was also a handy location to stash ammunition and alcohol far from convicts' reach.

Hobart waterfront from MACq 01

The Hunter Island area later became known as ‘Old Wharf’ and flourished as one of the country’s most prized deep-water ports. Migrants and convicts set foot here and the wharf buzzed with whaling, sealing and shipbuilding activity. The good times came to an 1830s halt when the whaling industry collapsed and ‘New Wharf’ (now Salamanca Place) emerged across the bay. The bustling Old Wharf became a slum punctuated with brothels, despicable behaviour, poverty and disease.

It wouldn’t be until 1869 that businessman George Peacock breathed life back into Old Wharf, with his jam making business prospering in Hunter Street warehouses. At just 12 years old, Henry Jones began labelling jam tins for Mr. Peacock, 10 hours per day, six days a week. He eventually took over the empire, naming it H. Jones and Co. Pty. Ltd. IXL Jams and becoming one of Australia’s biggest employers.

Hunter Street Aerial

Come 1914, Ocean Pier was built at Hunter Street’s end. The pier witnessed Tasmanian troops departing for the World Wars, berthing of Antarctic vessels and exporting of local produce before a devastating fire destroyed it in 1948. Flames reached 100 feet and 50,000 cases of apples were lost.

It’s fitting that MACq 01, a hotel dedicated to sharing stories, now rests on the original Ocean Pier site. Today, the precinct is a hub of island-centric Tasmanian culture with premium dining, art and design, creativity and festivals.

MACq 01 Hotel

The Storytelling Concept

Much government and private research has been afforded to the Tasmanian visitor experience, allowing us to develop a hotel concept around what is desired. We’re told that visitors seek genuine conversations with ‘real’ people and want to know the stories of Tasmanians. Visitors see “Tasmania is an analogue place in a digital world.”  We have designed our hotel around stories of those who have shaped the Tasmanian landscape, past and present. From indigenous leaders to convict escapees to wistful artisans, we discovered traits of the Tasmanian character fell into five key types:

1.  The Fighting Believers
2.  The Hearty and Resilient
3.  The Colourful and Quirky
4.  The Grounded, Yet Exceptional
5.  The Curious and Creative

MACq 01 Hotel

Hundreds of characters were laid on the table. Doors were knocked upon in small country towns, to find out about characters who had sway and notoriety. Stories were distributed across social status, time, profession and geographical location. Each story was written, legally approved and captured in illustration by a local artist.

As you journey with MACq 01, from online research phase to experiencing our waterside hotel, we’ll deliver stories to you. They’ll be told in our soft furnishings, through antiquities in hallways, by our Master Storytellers, in the artworks lining your room and peppered through our menus.

Look above and tangled kelp holds a tale. Step outside and contemplate a Hunter Street once famed for its red light district. We have gathered Tasmania’s stories so you can tell your own.

MACq 01 Hotel

Stories by Design

Tasmanian characters informed the design of MACq 01. The Vos Group developers, Circa Architects and Pike Withers interior designers were charged with ensuring Tasmania’s personalities live and breathe through MACq 01.

By design, the hotel invites a journey. The Lounge pays homage to the Mouheneenner people and their culture, delivering an untouched feel. Our Reception area relates to ‘arrival’ and shares elements of early colonisation and discovery of new found land. The Restaurant builds on this, influenced by early industry, highlighting the likes of mining, farming, boat building and whaling. The Bar features moments that formed Tasmanian society. Each play a part in delivering the Tasmanian story through design.

MACq 01 Hotel

The rooms are designed around five Tasmanian character traits. A neutral palette for all 114 rooms allows for each to be flavoured with unexpected character notes. Every room features an original artwork by Tasmanian artist Troy Ruffels, who has interpreted each trait into his atmospheric work. Ruffels' work sets the overall tone, supported by other design features. Where possible, local designers and craftspeople have been engaged for the internal fitout. A Hearty and Resilient room might feature rough-sawn timbers, rusted steel and bold textures to reflect the hardy souls who carved a living in our rugged, isolated environment.

The design is not about a literal translation of our Tasmanian characters, but rather a building of intrigue and curiosity about these folk. Each space throughout MACq 01 captures an emotion or feeling but leaves you to meet these characters in your own way.

Country Club Tasmania

A Tale of Federal Group

The Federal Group’s Tasmanian story begins with a honeymoon. Young Greg and Dolores Farrell chose Tasmania as their little-known honeymoon destination, where Greg became quickly taken by a parcel of land on the River Derwent named ‘Wrest Point.’ In 1973, with the support of Tasmanians, Australia’s first casino opened at that very location. Tourists flocked to Wrest Point, marking a boom in the luxury economy. Operating as the Federal Group, the Farrell family then opened the country’s first Country Club Casino in Launceston by 1982.

Wrest Point

The Federal Group’s role within Tasmania’s community has continued on through generations. The second and third Farrell generation now operate a portfolio of hotel and tourism experiences including Saffire Freycinet, The Henry Jones Art Hotel and the soon to be constructed Port Arthur Luxury Lodge.

Each property is conceived to deliver a meaningful experience and strong connection to place, in addition to providing functional services. As with MACq 01, each property must add to the genuine fabric of our island culture and provide benefit to Tasmanians. Just as Wrest Point was a national first in 1973, and The Henry Jones served as Australia’s original art hotel, MACq 01 is about adding value for our guests and community beyond a room to rest your head. Our charter is about distinction and sharing the Tasmanian story with you.

Federal Group Tourism Business Unit Care For Our Community Initiatives

Saffire Freycinet

Saffire Freycinet, East Coast Tasmania

The Henry Jones Art Hotel

The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart Tasmania

Port Arthur Luxury Lodge

Port Arthur Luxury Lodge, opening in 2019/2020

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