‘Sotherton’ An interview with owner Robert Dusting

‘Sotherton’ was built in 1931 in the Arts & Crafts Style for Dr. Clifford (CMG) and Edith Craig. Clifford’s friend, Hubert Springford East, was the architect and the builders chosen for the construction were J&T Gunn. It was built as the Craig’s private residence and professional rooms, each with their own entrance, on the western of two blocks formed from the former front gardnes of ‘Sunnybank’ (circa 1824). The professional rooms were extended on the western boundary in the late 1930’s-40’s.

Primarily, the building incorporates the bricks, windows, cedar doors, fire surrounds, and so on, salvaged by Dr. Craig in 1930 from the demolished Launceston Club Hotel (1840’s) which was located at 43 Brisbane Street. The interior of ‘Sotherton’ contains many rooms and was designed in the Georgian style. The marriage of Arts & Craft and Georgian is said to be unique.

In 1939, Dr. Craig purchased ‘Beulah’ at 21 High Street and moved there with his family. He retained his rooms at ‘Sotherton’ and was later in partnership there with Dr. J L Grove. The house was leased to Sir Richard K Green (KBE) in the early 1950’s before being turned over completely to commercial use and was, for some time, Launceston Pathology.

In September 1978, the property was puchased by Hugh Howell and Andrew Crawford (trading as Sotherton Properties Pty Ltd) to be used as professional rooms for accoutnants and counselling rooms, and so on, until it was sold at auction on Saturday 26 July 2008 to Robert A Dusting, a retired Federal public servant who was living in Burnie at the time.

The home, while having been adequately maintained as office accommodation, required extensive restoration work in order to return the building to a fine residence. Over the past years, Robert has managed not only to restore the residence, but has made it once more a warm & welcoming home. 

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