Terracotta tiles from Monier Roofing were the product of choice for the owner of an iconic building in Burnie, Tasmania during its restoration.

Previously a paper mill office that employed one in three people in the Burnie area, this classic old building dating back to 1937, had been lying vacant for 15 years following the mill’s closure. Steve Kons, who acquired the building, has begun a year-long restoration project on the heritage structure.

A long-time Burnie resident and former mayor and state MP, Kons views the planned restoration of the grand old building on Tasmania’s northern coastline as a labour of love; having always admired the building, he considers it a privilege to undertake its restoration.

Kons owns three of the 20 heritage buildings left in Burnie, and feels it’s important to restore such iconic sites to their original glory. He has already restored the building next door, which was acquired at the same time.

For the paper mill office’s restoration, Kons is replacing the existing roof tiles and returning them to a more authentic heritage terracotta product – Monier’s Marseille in Aurora Gold, a special made-to-order product.

“We're restoring it back to terracotta because it was terracotta,” Kons says. “The other tile did its job for many years but the building hadn't been occupied for about 15 years and even then, it wasn’t maintained well beforehand because the paper mill had slowed down and neglected the maintenance of these buildings, so it was time for an upgrade.”

Kons selected the Monier product because of the great service he received from the local Monier team.

He is also impressed with the Monier terracotta product’s qualities. For instance, the tiles won’t fade, and the restoration will last well into the next generation (or two). Additionally, Monier’s terracotta tiles would not be affected by the environmental conditions with the building situated close to the coastline and in an industrial area; this environment would have been an issue with a metal roof substitute, leading to rust and corrosion.

The restoration work began from the roof down with the installation of terracotta roof tiles from Monier’s Marseille range.

Kons is planning to turn the building into a whisky distillery, capitalising on Tasmania’s growing distillery industry. He also expects the building to be in the running for some national heritage restoration awards when it’s finished.