History of Ingle Hall

Hobart Town in the 1840s

Ingle Hall - Hobart's Georgian gem

Much research has been done into the subject of this building's history. Yet, despite the investigations by historians, scholars and architects, mystery still surrounds the building's origins.
The Georgian-style building, undeniably one of the oldest surviving buildings of its type in Australia, was not known as "Ingle Hall" until the latter part of the 19th century. Until then, official documents refer to it simply as "the building on the corner of Macquarie and Argyle Streets, Hobart."

Who was its first occupant? Early settlers and merchants John Ingle or Edward Lord? They were friends; both came to old Hobart Town in 1804 with Lieutentant -Governor David Collins; and both are known at some stage to have owned the building.

Opinion is divided as to whether John Ingle was its first occupant as early as 1811, or whether it was his friend Edward Lord. Even the date is disputed. Its occupancy could have been as much as three years later in 1814. The problem is, before 1822 Tasmania - or Van Diemen's Land as it was then known - had not established an official government records office.
Lord's great-great grandson, the late Mr E. R .Henry, of Hobart, extensively researched the subject and concluded Ingle Hall was in fact established in 1814 by his ancestor.
Quoting from Reverend Robert Knopwood's Diary in November 1814, "a great ball and supper was given by Mr and Mrs Lord to all ladies and gents in the colony, the greatest dinner given in the colony." Knopwood was a good friend of both Lord and Ingle.
There is also documentary evidence that Lord sold the residence and store on that site to John Ingle in 1831 for 4000 as part of a debt. However, that is not to say Ingle had not previously owned the building.
Over the years, Ingle Hall has known many owners - and been used for many purposes.
In 1846, it was the site of the first Hutchins School for boys, a role it served until the completion of the new Hutchins School further up Macquarie St (on the corner with Barrack St) three years later.
Architect/project manager Stephen Firth and his colleague, conservation architect and planner Peter Freeman, were commissioned by the Mercury to plan and supervise the 1997-98 restoration of Ingle Hall, in preparation for the development of the Print Museum.
Freeman concludes that even though the building was named after John Ingle, an owner and proprietor for many years in the early 19th century, the "common name" for the building is rather less than accurate. He concludes: " the building was conceived and built by Edward Lord, the noted early soldier and merchant."

An earlier conservation study of the Ingle Hall site was commissioned by the Mercury in 1992 and done by Hobart architects Crawford, Cripps, Wegman.

The building and front landscaping had been classified by the National Trust. The register of the National Estate lists the site and its buildings, and the Hobart Planning Scheme's heritage register lists the site as being significant and includes the site within its Heritage Area.

As a result of the 1992 study, general restoration work, including re-roofing and the installation of fire protection equipment, was done at Ingle Hall.
Architect Richard Crawford concluded in his report that opinion was divided "50-50" as to the origin of Ingle Hall. He concluded the building was more likely to have been built as a wharehouse in 1812, and finished in 1813. Crawford's research concludes that when then Lieutenant Lord returned to Hobart Town about that time he, in partnership with Ingle, sold merchandise from this house.
Crawford's research shows Ingle left the colony in 1818 to return to England with his family, leaving his considerable financial affairs in the hands of local agents. When he left, never to return, Ingle sold much of his land to Lord.

He became a magistrate in England, and left a considerable estate in Orleigh, Devon, when he died in June 1872, at the age of 91. His Tasmanian estate was valued at 2081.


In 2012, Ingle Hall was visited by Ingle's great-great-grandson from South Africa.

Ingle Hall through the Ages - A chronology: