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Kerslake Hall

Kerslake Hall History

Kerslake Hall was built in the early 1970's to house students attending the then Tasmanian College of Advanced Education (TCAE) which, in 1984 changed its name to the Tasmanian Institute of Technology (TSIT).

In 1990 the Launceston campus of the TSIT became part of the University of Tasmania. Between 1990 and 1997 Kerslake Hall accommodated 153 fully catered residents annually.

In 1998 Kerslake Hall was closed due to falling interest from students requiring catered accommodation. P Block which consists of 62 rooms remained open for casual self-catered accommodation.

An increase in student demand in 2001 resulted in H Block and P Block being re-opened to accommodate 107 fulltime self-catered students.

When originally built, Kerslake Hall was on the outskirts of the Campus, but with increasing infrastructure, today Kerslake is located in the centre of the Launceston Campus.

The Hall was named after the first Female Warden at the Launceston Teachers' College, the late Irene Kerslake. Upon her death Ms Kerslake bequeathed some of her many loved tapestries, which are currently displayed in P Block.

Irene Kerslake, Women's Warden, 1948-71

Irene Kerslake was born in 1913 and died in 1995 she was the longest serving employee at the Launceston Teachers' College, and her influence throughout its life was very strong. She was a member of a family who lived at Erriba in the north west of the State. Her well-read mother had encouraged her children from their earliest years to gain a good education, something she herself had not, in the formal sense, enjoyed. Irene matriculated from Devonport High School in 1929 with brilliant results. At 15 years of age, too young to go to Teachers' College, she gained a position as a junior teacher in a Hobart school and commenced a BA at the University of Tasmania. She completed her BA in 1933, and her MA in 1935. At that time she was the youngest person to gain the MA from the University of Tasmania.

In 1948 she was appointed Women's Warden at the TCAE. In this role she was responsible for the general welfare and behavioural standards of the women students and for the activities of the Student Association. These roles placed her in a position of great influence and responsibility within the centre. She perceived herself to be "old-fashioned", but she did her best to get to know the students well and related easily to them. Students soon realised that she was very kind and intent on doing her best for them. She was practical, down-to-earth, not at all unworldly, and seemed to have an intuition about people that helped her enormously.

Miss Kerslake cared very deeply for her students, and the profession they were entering. She became a quiet agitator for women's rights and alerted many to the discrimination against women that the then system generally accepted and perpetuated without much thought.