Bass Strait Maritime Centre

The Ritz

Opened by the Devonport Fish Supply Company and managed by Mr G. Smith, The Ritz was opened to provide “dainty fish suppers”1 after the pictures. Luncheons were also available. The freshness of the fish, the cleanliness and pleasantness of the surroundings, and the exemplary service at private tables were advertised as markers of the business. In adverts the motto of the Ritz was said to be “cleanliness and prompt attention.”2

Housewives were also advised they could rely on being able to obtain fresh whitebait, flounder, cooked and uncooked fish, scallops, cooked meats, chicken, Frankfurts, smallgoods, vegetables and fresh fruit on a daily basis.

In this photo, facing the building, it can be seen that the Ritz was situated between the Bank of Australasia on the left and the Bank of New South Wales on the right. In modern street numbering the building was located at what would now be designated as 31 Steele Street. The Ritz building was originally built for Mrs S.V. Hall in 1887 and was occupied by Mrs Butler’s Wattles Cafe from 1921 to 1922.

The Ritz appears to have been successful. Originally opening in 1924 in the building pictured here in Stewart Street, it moved to the lower end of Rooke Street near the Town Hall and then in 1932 moved again to the top end of Rooke Street, opposite the Commonwealth Bank. The new premises were reported as being “more commodious”3 with “one of the best ever seen”4 window displays filled with the choicest fruit and vegetables and various varieties of fish, meats and smallgoods. A newspaper article from 1932  advised that a new Frigidaire had been installed, chocolate coated ice creams were available, and reminded shop patrons to ask for a coupon when calling into the shop, as every purchase had a chance of winning a Tatts prize.

Written by Leah Johnson


Thank you to Stephen Hiller for the use of his research on the history of the Ritz building.

  • The Advocate Tuesday 12th August 1924, pages 4 and 7
  • The Advocate Friday 23rd December 1932, page 5
  • 1  The Advocate Friday 7 October 1932, page 9
  • 2. The Advocate Friday 25 November 1932, page 5
  • 3 & 4. The Advocate Friday 16 September 1932. Page 5