The co-founders of Virgin Blue Airlines, Brett Godfrey and Rob Sherrard, have purchased the historic Quamby Estate, at Hagley in north-eastern Tasmania, from Grant Hunt’s Anthology.
“We plan to use the winter season to both review and renew the product to expand its appeal to leisure travellers and corporates alike, with a view to having the Estate re-opening as a year-round destination,” said Godfrey, who was CEO of Virgin Blue Airlines Group, now named Virgin Australia, until last year.
“Quamby is now closed for the winter (and) the doors to an enhanced Quamby will open to welcome guests by late September 2011,” he said.
Sherrard added: “We are excited to take Quamby into the next phase of its life. I moved to Tasmania several years ago and have delighted in seeing this state grow into a fantastic tourism destination.
“Quamby’s location so close to the thriving city of Launceston and also the Tamar Valley Wine Trail and some of the most amazing gourmet farm door outlets provides us with a great opportunity to continue to grow tourism in this region,” he said.
Godfrey and Sherrard, who are also the developers and co-owners of Noosa’s beautiful Makepeace Island with Sir Richard Branson, also own Tasmanian properties The Pilot Station at Low Head and Lake House, Cressy.
Following the purchase of Quamby in 2008 by Anthology, Quamby was given a complete make-over by heritage architects and builders to restore the home to its former glory.
Built in the 1830s, the homestead holds great historic significance. It was the home of Sir Richard Dry, the state’s first Tasmanian born Premier. Dry was held in high regard by colleagues and the English royal family. As such Quamby has been referred to as Tasmania’s “Parliament House of the North”.
Quamby is a rare example of Anglo Indian architecture. In addition to the main house, there are various heritage listed outbuildings on the estate including the original manager’s residence and office (c1852), a blacksmith’s workshop, stables, granary and shearing shed.
All of the buildings have retained their heritage feel as they have undergone the restoration – this includes the spectacular marble fireplaces, wide verandahs, bushranger shutters, soaring ceilings, decorative cornices and servant bells.
But in keeping with the notion that Quamby was considered “cutting edge” when it was first built, a contemporary look and feel was introduced to the interior design by tourism industry design specialists, Pike Withers, who were responsible for the makeover of the grand home. Artefacts, paintings and ceramics produced by local Tasmanian artists are featured at the Lodge.
In 2009, following a $280,000 conversion, the stables began serving as the base for guests of the Bay of Fires and Cradle Mountain Huts Walks during the walking season from October to May each year. This will continue to happen under the new owners.
The former contemporary “conservatory” style restaurant which was upgraded to a stylish and modern functions space for weddings, conferences and events will also remain open as will the beautifully groomed nine-hole private golf course.
Quamby is located only 20 minutes outside Launceston and is set on 64 hectares of picturesque countryside consisting of rolling hills, lakes and ancient trees. Entry to the estate is along a 1.6km drive lined with magnificent hawthorn, poplar and elm trees.