Built in 1838 with convict labour for a former convict, Launceston's Franklin House was originally owned by local brewer and successful businessman Britton Jones and is now in the care of the National Trust. The beautifully restored Neo-Classical Greek Revival-style home was constructed with New South Wales red cedar and the estate also contains stables and a garden.
Launceston's only historic house museum is remarkable for its period restoration and attention to detail. After Britton, the house was leased and extended by Englishman William Keeler Hawkes to accommodate a private school, known colloquially as Mr Hawkes' Academy, from 1842 to 1866. Today, the 'Soft People' art project shows a life-size master and students in situ in the heritage school room. Other notable features of the interior of Franklin House include a collection of fine English period furnishings, musical instruments, clocks, fine china and exquisite objets d'art.
Outside, the Victorian Kitchen Garden forms part of the English-style garden and was established to reflect a working garden of the era. It thrives with heritage fruit trees and authentic seeds and plants in the intricate and formal quadrant design of the period. Produce from this delightful garden is used in the cosy Tea Room, which serves morning and afternoon teas. Also onsite is a gift shop with local crafts and National Trust items for sale. Many of the former inhabitants of Franklin House are buried in the nearby St James Church, which was built in 1845. The church can also be inspected by prior arrangement with the National Trust.
Entry to Franklin House is AU$10 for adults and free for those under 18 years. To visit the site from St John Street in Launceston, metro buses 40 and 50 stop outside Franklin House – a 24-minute journey.