Our people their stories: Warren French

QVMAG Friends

Born in Launceston in 1951, Warren grew up on a mixed farm at Selbourne to parents known for breeding Guernsey dairy cows.

The middle of three brothers, he was educated at Hagley Farm School, Prospect High School, and Launceston Matriculation College.  

Warren began his working life in the finance sector with AMP, then spent time in retail, and in real estate with an interesting diversion in hire canoes at First Basin, and canoes and catamarans at Trevallyn Lake.  

Warren began prefabricating and flat packing little wooden houses in the mid 80’s before acknowledging his lifelong ambition, and enrolling at UTAS in the School of Architecture.  

His keen interest in progressing the Australian building industry to have a more sustainable approach saw him awarded a study trip to Europe in 2009. He saw the need for Australians to be building as the Germans had been since the 1960s, using pre-fabrication and Structurally Insulated Panels.

Warren adapted these panels for the Tasmanian climate using local materials and together with his daughter, Penelope Haley, a qualified builder and educator,  he established Valley Workshop in Westbury. They have developed an award-winning system for building and designing hyper-insulated houses which have been created for a variety of different sites from urban to rural, and including a challenging site at Frenchman's Cap. 

Warren's outside interests include Tasmania’s wonderful environment including walking in it, skiing on it, and sailing round it.  Also romanticism and nostalgia, which manifests itself in an accumulation of old houses, old boats, old vehicles, and even an old 1:1 scale toy farm.

"In the early 1960’s Australia had the highest standard of domestic building in the OECD.  Since then we have dropped almost 30 spots.  There is so much to be done, which goes to the nub of my talk." 


Queen Victoria Museum at Inveresk

10.30am, Wednesday 25 October 2023

Admission FREE for QVMAG Friends, $5 for the general public.
RSVP is essential by Monday 20 November. 
Please email admin@qvmagfriends.asn.au or telephone 0459 658 457


  • Wednesday, 22 November 2023 | 10:30 AM


Museum at Inveresk, 2 Invermay Road, Launceston, 7250, View Map

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