SHIPPING containers have formed the basis of a temporary housing solution in Tasmania, with the state government there calling on other states to consider the same option.

The Tasmanian government, together with shipping container company Royal Wolf, is providing accommodation that is said to be low-cost, fast and effective.

With increased stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, quick-response solutions are said to be more important than ever.

Royal Wolf’s Michael Nicholson outside some container accommodation. Credit: Royal Wolf

Planning laws across Tasmania were revised in 2019 to allow non-government organisations to install shipping container homes, under a whole-of-government response overcome homelessness.

Eighteen self-contained ‘pods’ were installed at Hobart’s Bethlehem House for crisis housing for men and 17 family-sized shelters (10 of the 17 supplied by  Royal Wolf) are being built for the Hobart Women’s Shelter.


Royal Wolf chief executive Neil Littlewood said the accommodation units were a safe, secure and cost-effective solution.

“Royal Wolf is setting the standard in providing portable, tailored shipping container solutions, not only for crisis accommodation projects, but also infrastructure accommodation,” he said.

“It is an uplifting feeling for the team to be involved in such a worthy cause.

“Every piece of assistance will make a difference to the welfare of those less fortunate.”

Containers used for women’s accommodation. Credit: Royal Wolf

Mr Littlewood said they were ready to deliver similar solutions across Australia.

“The need is there, and we have an answer,” he said.

“With the right framework in place, everyone can benefit from the dignity of a safe and warm home.”

The project comes as the Tasmanian government sets aside $258m over eight years to address homelessness and housing affordability. 

Housing minister Roger Jaensch said it was a complex issue requiring a multi-pronged solution.

“We also recognised that the response needs to be nuanced and adaptable due to the complex nature of the issue,” Mr Jaensch said.

“Our message to others is to listen and don’t be afraid to try new things.”

Royal Wolf became involved in housing when it provided the University of Tasmania with 180-bed student accommodation in response to a critical shortage last year. The Tasmanian Government then asked Royal Wolf to provide solutions for Bethlehem House and the Hobart Women’s Shelter.