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The History and Heritage of Kilmarnock House Launceston

Kilmarnock House is listed by the National Trust, National Estate and the Heritage Commission and is an exceptional example of the superb architectural and construction skills found in Launceston at the turn of the 20th century.

The Property
Kilmarnock House was built in 1905 as a townhouse for John Ingles, a well known Launceston merchant. The completed cost was a moderate 1588 pounds, 15 shillings and threepence. It is distinctly Italianate in the handling of the planning and building mass; the circular corner tower echoed by an encircling verandah of delicate timberwork.


Upstairs Foyer
Some of Kilmarnock House's impressive heritage features include: turned blackwood staircase rails leading past stained glass windows; intricate, hand formed, cornice work; and soft furnishings combined with locally crafted early 1900s antique furniture.
The property was sold by the family during the 1960s to become a business premises and flats.

In 1985 Kilmarnock House a substantial Ewardian home was restored and renovated to reflect the charm and elegance of by-gone days. Kilmarnock House has been decorated and furnished in the style of the early 1900s, using authentic furniture, crafted locally.


Kilmarnock House Launceston
'Towards the Dawn', Howells & Nicholson, (1989) refers to Kilmarnock House as follows:
"The design is a reduction of the essence of the traditional Victorian house into a Federation form by creating the balanced gable form, and thus strong diagonal lines of symmetry, with a visually powerful sense of movement. No asymmetrical 'picturesque' elements are allowed to upset the strength of the composition."


Impressive Heritage Features
The Architect
In 1855, the architect Thomas Searell was born near Exeter in England. During 1865 his parents immigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand.
Searell was articled to Fred Stouts in Christchurch in 1873, ten years later moving to Auckland where he practised for four years. He arrived in Melbourne in 1887 and set up a practice. He eventually moved to Hobart to supervise construction on a design, although the date of his arrival in Launceston is uncertain.
Until World War I, Searell was to design and construct up to seven buildings along Elphin Road, East Launceston.