Hof’s Building (Stanton House) was built on land originally purchased by John Frederick Hof in 1867. Hof initially built two timber shops on the site, but later in 1884-1885 he constructed the permanent building at 197-203 Flinders Street that exists today. After a fire damaged buildings in Finders Street East, new building regulations were introduced which required all structures to be of stone, masonry or metal. The double-storey, rendered-brick building backs onto Melton Hill and was constructed in a classic asymmetrical style with a sheet metal roof and plain parapet at the front, and was referred to as the ‘Hof’s Building’.
The Anglican Diocesan Synod of North Queensland used the property as the Diocesan Registry and in 1933 purchased the property, and named the building ‘Stanton House’ in honour of George Henry Stanton who was the first Bishop of North Queensland in 1878. They added a third storey in 1942 which closely mirroring the second level. For further information, see the Queensland Heritage Register entry for ‘Stanton House’
Who was Hof?
“This particular allotment was offered in the first land sale in 1867, which was three years after Townsville was established and the port declared” Kim OwensJohn Frederick Hof (1838-1912) arrived from Germany in 1856 and worked on a number of Victorian goldfields before relocating to the Cape River diggings in North Queensland in 1861. He became involved in a number of different ventures and befriended Thankful Percy Willmett, who worked as the Cape River postmaster before settling in Townsville in 1870. When land was released in Townsville in 1867, Hof purchased the block on Flinders Street. He later married Jane Cramp (1862-1918) in March 1884 and they had eight children. Hof died in a Goodna hospital near Brisbane on 1 July 1912. John Frederick Hof also established the Brunswick Brick and Tile works at West End in 1884 and had his trade mark ‘J.F.HOF’ pressed into the surface of each brick. These bricks were used in the construction of the ‘Hof’s Building’ at Flinders Street.
Who occupied the Stanton House building?
“Rubbish pits are good because they tend to reveal how people lived” Dr Nigel Chang
James Cook University staff and students from the Archaeology department conducted a three-day dig at a site behind Stanton House on Flinders Street East that backed onto Melton Hill.
The area was once the site of a World War 2 air raid shelter, and in 2009 a development plan required some demolition and excavation. This provided an opportunity to examine a stone wall possibly built around the 1880s to early 1900s and the existence of rubbish pits that revealed a glimpse into Townsville’s heritage and different time periods.