Cornwall Hotel, 1880s (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)
The Cornwall Hotel was built in 1824 by John Pascoe Fawkner, one of his many businesses. With two storeys and thirteen rooms, it was Launceston's leading hotel. JE Cox took over in the 1830s and ran a coaching service to Hobart from the hotel, and James Whitehead added assembly rooms which were used for banquets, balls, bazaars, recitals and public meetings, the Anti-Transportation Society's formation in 1849, and the Launceston Municipal Council's first meetings from 1853. Guests included Governor Sir Henry Fox-Young, Sir Richard Dry, several Irish exiles, and in 1852 Lord Robert Cecil, later Lord Salisbury, Britain's Prime Minister.
In the later nineteenth century the Cornwall was eclipsed by the Brisbane Hotel as Launceston's leading hostelry. In 1905 the owner, Mrs Fahey, extensively remodelled it, increasing its accommodation to 35 rooms. Renamed the Batman Fawkner Inn in 1981, it is Launceston's oldest hotel still trading on the original site.
Further reading: Examiner, 4 February 1988; D Radford, A–Z of Launceston's colonial public house licensees 1824–1900, Launceston, 2003.