The imposing bulk of the Carnegie Building, now home to the Maritime Museum, was once the city’s first public library – one of 2507 library buildings worldwide built using funds from the Scottish–American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

The genesis of the building goes back to 1860 when the local council borrowed money to build the Town Hall on condition that a library be included. It took more than a decade for the library to become established in the Town Hall, and by 1902 it had more than 100,000 users and was running out of space. A new building was proposed, but the council struggled to raised the necessary funds. Finally, the library trustees received one of only four Australian Carnegie grants to build the new library, which opened in 1907.

Since the library moved to Murray Street in 1960, the Carnegie Building has been used as council offices, a gallery and is now home to the Maritime Museum of Tasmania, which collects and displays Tasmania’s maritime history from whaling to yachting, Derwent River ferries to surfing, a convict-built dingy and even a sternboard from a boat once captained by Joseph Conrad.

Address: 16 Argyle St, Hobart

Highlights: Maritime history, library nostalgia

Building specs: Type: Library. Year Built: 1903-07. Architects: Alan Cameron Walker and Douglas Salier

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