Stretch was born at Geelong, Victoria, Australia and educated at Geelong Church of England Grammar School and Trinity College, Melbourne, where, on 2 July 1872, he was the first student to enrol in the first residential college erected in association with the University of Melbourne.
He graduated BA in 1874 and LLB in 1887. Ordained in 1878, he began his ordained ministry as a curate in Geelong. In 1892, Stretch became Vicar of St Andrew's Church, Brighton, Melbourne having previously served as incumbent of Holy Trinity Church, Maldon and St Mark's Church, Fitzroy. Appointed to be Dean of Ballarat in 1894 and Dean of Newcastle in 1900, in 1906 he was elevated to the episcopy as the Bishop of Newcastle in New South Wales.
He retired in 1919 and died at Killara, Sydney, survived by his two daughters and four sons. Two of his sons, John Carlos William and Cliffe Maurice Osmond, were also Anglican clergy. He was buried in Sandgate cemetery, Newcastle.
- ADB entry
- Who Was Who 1897-1990 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN 0-7136-3457-X
- Personal papers of son
- Calendar of Trinity College within the University of Melbourne, 1897, p. 202.
- Diocesan history Archived April 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Stretch, John Francis (Jack) (1855–1919)". Australia Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 2012-12-25.