Wednesday, 3 April 2013

51st Regiment Barracks, Triabunna

Maria Island was a penal settlement between 1825 – 1832 and 1842 – 1850. The 51st regiment, whose duties were on Maria Island, was stationed at Spring Bay (Triabunna) in 1843. The government relied on private enterprise to house 80 men & officers. This proved a boon to Spring Bay as cottages were built for families, stables for horses, barracks for the men and Inns were opened for quenching their thirst.

The stone barracks were built on land previously owned by John Ibbotson, a publican, in 1843. By 1844 the site also included 3 wooden buildings, one an Inn which had various names, including the Freemason’s Arms, but most popularly known as the Retreat Inn. It was then owned by George Rudd.
After the departure from Spring Bay of the military in 1850, the stone barracks were used to stable the coach horses. After numerous licensees, Alex Thompson bought the Retreat Inn in 1902 but later allowed the lease to lapse after he bought the Pembroke Hotel, now the Spring Bay Hotel which was next door.

Mrs Reardon was the Postmistress at the Retreat Inn between 1911 and 1926. Bob Barry also opened a bakery. He installed a larger oven in one of the stone stables behind the inn. This oven could accommodate 100 double loaves each weighing 4lbs. The bread was especially popular and the fishermen would often call in to purchase loaves. On the death of his father in 1940, Keir Barry ran the business until 1955.
The Retreat Inn was demolished in 1960 and the stone barracks were purchased with the intention of restoration. Ideas of a restaurant and museum did not come to fruition because of restoration costs. The buildings currently stand idle and are up for sale.

Text & Information from information signs located outside the building and site in Triabunna