The Private Secretary’s Cottage is the second-oldest building in Tasmania, after the commissariat store next door. It is situated on a bank above a remnant of the original foreshore – the very site where the European settlement of Hobart began. The cottage may originally have been built as an outbuilding for the commissariat, and by the late 1820s was being used as a lumber store.

That prolific colonial architect John Lee Archer converted the building into a residence for Governor Arthur’s private secretary, providing a generous garden, views overlooking the harbour and proximity to the original Government House at present-day Franklin Square. The building was incorporated into the museum precinct in 1871, first as a residence for the curator and later for the museum’s curator and other staff. From the 1950s, it was used for offices and storage.

Many alterations have been made to the building. Look out for the cottage’s crooked northern wall, which was realigned in 1901, and the verandah removed to make way for the 1960s building. Inside, the cottage is being restored to its original form and showcases early portable furniture.

Address: Dunn Place, Hobart (enter via TMAG)

Highlights: Campaign furniture, very early building

Building specs: Type: Cottage. Year Built: 1810s. Architects: John Lee Archer


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