Bass Strait Maritime Centre, Devonport

The Bass Strait Maritime Centre is situated in parkland at the mouth of the Mersey River in Devonport, located in the north west of Tasmania. The centre explores the themes of the natural history of Bass Strait and its islands, including European exploration, settlement, early shipbuilders and entrepreneurs, shipwrecks and the creation of the Port City of Devonport.

The centre was established in 2010, bringing together the collections of the former Devonport Maritime Museum and Devon Historical Society. Around this time, Hansen was engaged by the City of Devonport to undertake landscape concept design and construction documentation for an extension to the former Devonport Maritime Museum in order to accommodate the new expanded centre and its collections.

The existing maritime museum was considered a cultural asset to the local Devonport community, housed in a heritage property which was originally the Harbour Master’s house. In developing the initial design, Hansen worked closely with JAWS Architects to ensure the landscape concept would complement the proposed architectural extension and sit within the existing open lawn setting.

The main features of Hansen’s landscape design included a forecourt entry area, a timber decking area to the rear of the museum and extensive expanses of lawn. Hansen also collaborated with JAWS Architects to include feature lighting within the design to enhance the architectural details of the new museum and its entrance.

The landscape also clearly expresses a number of thematic ideas relevant to the coastal location of the museum and natural marine processes at work. Carefully chosen colours, plants and materials assisted in bringing these associations to life as well as enhancing the coastal ambience and marine character.

The result, which opened to the public in 2013, is a highly functional and attractive space for the museum’s visitors and staff to enjoy.