Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Aberdeen Inn

The Aberdeen Inn was built in 1837 - 1838.

In those far-off days Aberdeen boasted but half a dozen houses, and these were far apart. However, the centre soon became busy, due mainly to many towns in the north and north-west taking shape, and the teamsters, who plied from Morpeth up, made Aberdeen a stopping place. At times, particularly in wet seasons, as many as 100 teams camped at a spot near the present traffic bridge across the Hunter River. When floods occurred they were held up for weeks at a time. All the bricks for the hotel building were hand-made, and a contractor named Hadaway erected a kiln at Red Hill, several miles south of the town. The two-storey structure, after many building delays, was completed in 1839, and the official opening ceremony took place in April. [1]

Ralph George Martin was the first licensed innkeeper at the Aberdeen Inn. He was issued a license dated 17 April 1839.[2] Ralph G. Martin had previously held the license for the New Inn at Black Creek; for the Traveller's Rest in Murrurundi and later for an inn at Armidale.

The annual duty was fixed at £25, and this sum had to be paid in quarterly instalments. At the end of the period Martin sought a renewal, but the Crown had, by this time increased the yearly rate to £30.[1]

The Aberdeen was advertised to be leased out in 1839 -

To Innkeepers and others - To be let for a term of seven years, from 1st July 1839, that splendid Inn at Aberdeen, Hunters River, on the main road from Maitland to Liverpool plains, New England, and all the out stations. The Township of Aberdeen is just commencing and in a few years it promises to be the first town in that district. The above Inn is now in full trade, and the license will be transferred immediately therefore it being the best time of the year for the trade; harvest and sheep shearing just commencing the tenant will have the benefit of it. The Aberdeen Inn being so well known it requires no puffing, but any respectable party that might rent the inn with attention will realise a fortune in three years. An Eight horse flour mill was also advertised separately.[3]

Some months later, on the 14th May, 1840, Philip Wright took over. He also owned and controlled the Aberdeen general store. In October of the same year Wright disposed of his interest in the inn to James Kay Hannaford. By this time the township was beginning to go ahead. A steam flour mill was opened in November, 1840, by Edward Sparke, junr., and other prominent men who had taken up large areas of land.[1]

Maria Pearce was granted a license in 1843 and 1844.[2]

John Cundy held the license from October 1844 to June 1845. [2]

Scone folk were in a state of great excitement in November 1844 when it was thought that Governor Gipps would being visiting on his journey up the valley. He was expected to stay at the Aberdeen Inn and then proceed to meet the gentry of the district. On reaching Aberdeen however he was taken suddenly ill and compelled to go to bed. Dr. Joseph Docker and Dr. Isaac Haig attended him in his illness.

This was a great disappointment to Scone people as many had invited the Governor to partake of their hospitality. John Bingle's mansion at Puen Buen was put to inconvenience to make ready in case the Governor should visit. A correspondent to the Maitland Mercury observed that His Excellency preferred stopping at inns rather than private estate because of the abuse he had received from the grazing and squatting community for promulgating the new squatting regulations.[4] Some of the Governor's suite and a select few gentlemen were entertained at Puen Buen in his absence.

The Australian Inn

In 1851 John Cundy, who had been living at 'Whissonsett,' Blandford, came to live in the village, and purchased the hotel outright. He made a success of his investment, and as time went on acquired much land in and around the town. Next door to the hotel he established a blacksmithing business, and a little further south he opened a general store. All these remained in the hands of the Cundy family for a long period. Shortly after he took control of the public (house) John Cundy changed the name to the Australian Inn.

Commercial Inn

Many years later the name was changed to the Commercial Inn. Select here to read more about the old Aberdeen Inn / The Australian / Commercial Inn in 1860 - 1939.


[1] The Scone Advocate 21 April 1939

[2] State Archives NSW; Series: 14401; Item: [4/76-77]; Reel: 5059.. New South Wales, Australia, Certificates for Publicans' licenses, 1830-1849, 1853-1860

[3] Sydney Herald October 1839

[4] Maitland Mercury 2 November 1844