About us

Tasmania, Hobart and Battery Point are rich in history. Aborigines have lived on the island for around 40,000 years, and distinct aboriginal cultural practices are still observed by their descendants. European contact has been recorded from 1642 when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman made landfall. Other leaders of the great age of exploration visited the island, including Tobias Furneaux and Captain James Cook. The first European settlement was established in 1803 and Tasmania became the second British colony in Australia. Convicts were transported to the colony until 1853. Tasmania was the destination for some of the worst British transportees and for secondary offenders from other colonies. Nevertheless, convicts played a central role in creating some of the most beautiful colonial era buildings, bridges and other infrastructure in Australia, not only as labourers but as architects, engineers and skilled artisans. A concise history of Tasmania can be found here.

Battery Point saw some of the earliest construction in the new colony. Its name comes from the defensive gun batteries that guarded the Derwent River. By the 1830s it had become the site for some of the fine Georgian cottages and grand homes that still stand today. The centre of Battery Point is the beautiful St George’s Church, one of the earliest churches in Tasmania. At night, its wonderful neo-classical architecture stands as a beacon on the highest point in the suburb. A Sculpture Trail leads around Battery Point with installations representing the period 1833 to 1909. A fascinating historic walk through Battery Point can be found here, and you can read engaging local stories about Battery Point and its history here.

The house

Pretoria is a heritage listed property. It was built by Herbert Cripps, Hobart’s first commercial baker, in 1900.

Along with the conjoined house Mafeking, he named them after British victories in the Boer War.

The intricate iron lacework on the front of the building is characteristic of the Victorian era, and common in the Australian colonies.

As well as the elegant house it was originally and is now, Pretoria was used as a refuge for women.

Your host

My name is Nicky McKibben. I have 20 years experience in the tourism industry in Tasmania and love operating my business. Don’t hesitate to ask me for any help or advice concerning your stay.

I have lived at Pretoria House since 2008. I have extensively renovated the house to restore its heritage exterior and add the comforts of modern living to the interior.  Pretoria has stood for over 100 years and I hope that, under my stewardship, the house has been well cared for and will prosper for another century and more.

I am very interested in the rich history that makes Tasmania such an interesting place to live, and in Battery Point’s place in that story.

As a seasoned national and international traveller with recent trips to Peru and Canada, I’m always interested in swapping travel stories.

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