Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Black Cock Inn

Black Creek

William Court held the licence for the Black Cock Inn in the years 1839 - 1842. When William Court became an innkeeper at the Settlers Arms in High Street, Maitland, William Watts took over the license for the Black Cock Inn.

William Watts

William Watts probably arrived in 1824 as a convict on the ship Guildford. He received a ticket of leave for the Patrick Plains district in 1832.

Under William Watts the name Black Cock Inn was changed to the Cock Inn. William Watts remained proprietor for many years although the licence was issued to another person for a short time in 1849. Perhaps this was due to the death of his fourteen year old son James.

James died after being injured in an unusual assault outside the Inn in November 1848 by an aboriginal boy 'Charley'. Charley had become enraged at James' teasing and called to his master William Thorley for a knife threatening to rip open James' 'bingee' (stomach). At first Thorley refused to give Charley a knife however James' own brother persuaded him thinking James would be frightened and run home. When Charley was given the knife he at once threw the knife spear fashion at James' head where it stuck firmly in the skull. The knife was extracted by Thorley and James returned home, the wound soon healing over. On New Years Day James began to complain of a pain in his head which became much worse. Dr. Henry Glennie was sent for and the site was treated externally. James once again seemed to recover. In early February he once again became very ill and a day later, died. Charlie was later found guilty of manslaughter and William Thorley was severely censured by the jury for providing the knife. [1]

In September William Watts took out a licence for this hotel under the name of the Golddigger's Arms [2]


[1] Maitland Mercury 28 February 1849

[2] Maitland Mercury 6 September 1851