Bed & breakfast accommodation • Swansea • Tasmania

History of Meredith House and Swansea

Meredith House was built in 1853 by J. A. Graham on land purchased from Charles Meredith, husband of noted colonial artist and poet, Louisa Anne Meredith.The first occupier was Gordon Burgess who named it Laughton House after Laughton in Essex England, from where he came. Subsequently he married a Miss Cope, a cousin of Louisa Meredith who ran it as a Girls Grammar School... and for a period it was a maternity hospital.

Meredith House about 1910 - known at the time as Laughton House.

In 1870, James Morris, the owner of Morris Store, purchased the house and in 1892 his daughter Sarah Morris started taking in paying guests. Later Sarah's niece, Maude, married Frank Morey and changed the name to Canberra Guest House. This was its heyday - a large dining room was added and it became a very popular place for holidays and honeymoons. After a marvellous dinner the rugs were rolled back and the dancing began!

Stories also abound of ladies of the night entertaining the transient fishing fleet and large functions, including Christmases, with as many as 100 for lunch. Roast duck was a speciality of the House, harvested from the local flock. It was simply known as The Guest House.

In 1987 the noted craftsman Bill Tinning and family purchased and extensively restored it. They renamed it "Meredith House". Greer and Clive Olbery, purchased it from them in 1992, developing the character of the house as quality accommodation, fitting ensuites to all rooms and then replacing the Canberra Holiday units with the heritage style Meredith Mews, which were opened in December 1997.

You are welcomed to Meredith House today by Noel Stanley and Neal McDermott.

Swansea is a classified Historic Town and the only historic town in Tasmania situated by the sea. This provides an ambience and relaxed feel to the town. It was first settled in 1821 by Lieutenant George Meredith of the Royal Marines and two of his tenant farmers from Glamorgan in Wales, who sailed up from Hobart Town.

Swansea was originally known as Great Swanport and grew during the 1820s and 1830s. At that time there was a large convict station at Rocky Hills where, at the peak period, 406 prisoners were kept. There was a small regiment of soldiers in barracks at Waterloo Point.


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Meredith House Swansea c1910 image
Meredith House family history image