This is a building that anyone driving down Macquarie Street in Hobart will have seen and probably wondered why the side of the building is one giant billboard. This two storey building is known as Loretto and is believed to have been built in the early 1840’s for an early settler. For over half a century, its now fading advertisement for McCann’s has probably been Hobart’s best known advertising although it is now well and truly out of date.
Very little is known of the early years of the property. However, there is a very old faded notice painted onto the side wall of the building that indicate that the building was at one time a “Boarding Establishment”.
Records from the beginning of the 20th century indicate that in 1904, Loretto was run in that capacity by a Mrs B. Gossner. By 1906, the property appears to be owned and operated by Mrs H Stump. It seems that members of the Stump family owned and operated the property as a boarding house until at least 1948. A Tasmanian Hotel & Boarding House Directory, which was published on an annual basis, showed that from 1924 the property could accommodate six tenants at 4 shillings per day or 25 shillings per week. For the whole decade through to 1934, these rates remained unchanged while the proprietor remained a Miss Stump.
The Post office guide from the time showed that a Mrs M Stump lived in the premises from 1927 until 1944, then a Miss Florence Stump lived there until 1948. No reference, however, was made in that publication regarding the house being a boarding house after 1934.
In more recent years the property has been converted into professional suites and offices and although the renovations for the suites has swept away much of the early Victorian flavour from the interior, it still retains reminders of its original character. The two front rooms still retain their immaculate cast iron fireplaces and the entrance hall retains elaborate decorative cornices and an archway that leads up the balustraded staircase to the second level which has four floors and a store room.
The rooms in Loretto are fairly small and originally numbered 12 rooms. Recent additions have increased the number and out buildings have been added. Also included is the above ground basement area.
Loretto is a very interesting, yet simple building, especially more well known for the advertising on its western wall than its older history as a settlers home and then as a boarding house.
Main Information source:
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman