Sawyer’s Arms (1)

Cameron Street


The Colonist, 20 May 1834
The Colonist, 20 May 1834

[Antonio Martini] By 1823 he had received his ticket-of-leave and moved to Launceston. The same year he bought a town allotment in Tamar Street and three years later purchased adjoining land. In 1825 he received his certificate of freedom and built two dwellings on his land. One structure, a two-storey wooden building with verandah and balcony, was to become known as Martini’s Corner. About 1828 he rented this building to B Smythe, who conducted his Cornwall Collegiate Institution there until 1834, when Martini converted the building to a hotel, calling it the Sawyer’s Arms. He was the licensee until 1843.

About 1832 he started a timber business in partnership with William Burke: in 1833 Martini was listed as a sawyer in Launceston. In 1833 he married Mary O’Mara, who had arrived in Hobart on the Norval in 1830. They had a son, born in 1834, and a daughter, born in 1836. Mary died on 18 June 1836, soon after the birth of her daughter. In 1838 Martini constructed a wooden building in Cameron Street, next to his hotel on the corner of Tamar and Cameron streets, to serve as the first dedicated place of worship for the Catholics of Launceston. It was the Catholic Chapel from 1838 to 1842, when St Joseph’s was opened in Margaret Street. He built a brick hotel on the corner of Brisbane and Tamar streets in 1844. Later named the Royal Oak, it was leased by the Martini family to a succession of publicans until the 1950s when it passed out of the Martini family ownership. Antonio Martini died at his home in Tamar Street on 6 March 1867, aged eighty-seven years.
Launceston Historical Society Inc, Newsletter No 104, October 2007, p. 6 (pdf)

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