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Aussie plans to turn morgue into motel

SYDNEY--An Australian businessman is hoping to turn a disused morgue which once served unfortunate psychiatric patients into a unique motel — offering autopsy slabs for weary heads.

The morgue in the state of Tasmaniate has been idle for more than a decade, after the historic Willow Court colonial-era mental hospital was closed down.

Owner Hadyn Pearce is now looking to turn it into accommodation.

“It's still got its terrazzo slabs, and it's still got its pull-out fridge, it's a beautiful thing,” he told AFP on Monday.

Antiques dealer Pearce bought seven acres of the historic site several years ago, which contained six buildings that he is gradually restoring — one of which is the 1950s-era morgue that served patients and the wider community.

A previous owner is believed to have had plans to turn it into an ice-cream parlor and child minding centre, but Pearce thinks visitors might be intrigued enough by features such as the stainless steel bathtub for washing cadavers to want to spend the night there.

“We'll be looking at putting a double bed in one of the rooms and then we have three slabs and two pull-out fridges which could be used,” he said.

Asked whether travelers would really want to sleep in the four-bedroom motel, he replied: “We're going to find out.”

David Llewellyn, who heads a committee which hopes to protect many of the historic buildings of Willow Court, said although the morgue was outside his gambit as it was privately owned, the idea was a positive one.

“I guess the more development that's on the precinct the better it is, in terms of protection of the site from vandalism and further deterioration,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

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