Marine Board Master Warden's home included in Open House Hobart

A home designed for a Marine Board Master Warden is included in the Open House Hobart 2023 program.


23 October 2023

TasPorts is always excited to share the inner workings and storied history of the Port of Hobart with the Tasmanian community.

Open House Hobart is returning in November 2023, and TasPorts is thrilled to participate again in this year's event, offering tours of the iconic Port Tower, which provide a valuable glimpse into the day-to-day operations that connect people, products and solutions for the benefit of all Tasmanians.

TasPorts was interested to see the inclusion of 540 Churchill Avenue in the Open House Hobart program, which was designed for Mr H.H. Smart, a long-serving Master Warden for the Marine Board of Hobart. Designed by Barry Fisher, the home showcases seafaring influences and expansive views across Hobart and the River Derwent.


In 1957, the Marine Board of Hobart welcomed a new warden, the “vigorous” H.H. ‘Bert’ Smart, who had studied port administration ‘of many world centres’ and spent five years in the Merchant Navy.

One of Bert’s notable contributions was the establishment of a tug service for Hobart, a service that wasn't initially used for berthing or towing large ships. He successfully convinced Australian Newsprint Mills (ANM) at Boyer to finance tugs for its barges.

His vision extended beyond his role at the Marine Board. He went on to establish his own company in Hobart, the Hobart Tug and Lighterage Co.

January 1951 marked a significant moment as the first privately-owned tug, the Maydena, assisted in towing the freighter Willesden out from Kings Pier, demonstrating the practicality and importance of tug services in the Port of Hobart.

Bert’s dedication and commitment to the Marine Board were truly remarkable.

He served for 26 years as a Warden and later as Master Warden before his retirement in 1983.

His tenure witnessed a period of change and evolution in the Marine Board as the 1980s brought new challenges, requiring lateral thinking and fresh perspectives.

Master Wardens

Warden Smart also displayed a keen interest in maritime exhibits within the port area, a testament to the area's rich trading heritage over the years. His directive for the Board to play an active part in preserving the history of the Port area continues today. Bert arranged for the owners of the trading ketch May Queen, with no further use for the vessel, to be gifted to the Tasmanian Government in early 1974, which, in turn, handed her to the Marine Board of Hobart.

The SV May Queen is Australia’s oldest sail trading vessel, built in 1867, and one of only a handful of wooden ships of her era still afloat in the world.

Today, TasPorts is proud to continue to support the preservation of Tasmania’s rich maritime history, including the SV May Queen, which berths at Constitution Dock. You can read much more about the May Queen and its history here.

Historical information from Capital Port: A History of the Marine Board of Hobart 1858-1997 by Audrey Hudspeth and Lindy Scripps. Commissioned by the Hobart Ports Corporation in 2000.