Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Old Black Swan Inn

West Maitland

John Ewbank Simpson held the licence for the Black Swan Inn in 1833 and 1834.[1]

In April 1835 the Sydney Gazette carried an advertisement for the newly build Black Swan Inn at Maitland which was without a tenant at this time.

The Inn was situated on land that later became the site of Mrs. J.F. O'Brien's house at the corner of Ledsam Street.[2]

John Nicholas

In 1836 the licence for the Black Swan was granted to John Nicholas who had previously been at the Wheatsheaf Inn at Hexham.

New saleyards were opened at the Black Swan by John Nicholas. He advertised on 3 November 1836 that he had fenced two large paddocks and constructed extensive stockyards with the object of holding fortnightly cattle sales. The first sale was held there on 7 November 1836, and cattle, horses, and sheep were sold. The sales were continued for several years. These were the first saleyards on Campbell's Hill. [2]

Charles Bowman

By 1837 Charles Bowman had taken over as innkeeper. He ran a four horse coach to and from the Green Hills on the days of arrival and departure of the Steam boats, carrying eight passengers inside and four out; and calling at Mr. Benjamin Cox's Albion Inn and all the respectable public houses in Maitland.. He also fitted up a hearse and commenced a business as undertaker. Select here to read his advertisement in the Sydney Herald in July 1837.

By September the Black Swan was offered for sale - All that substantial and recently erected House and Offices together with seven acres one rood and nineteen perches of land (lately known and well accustomed as the Black Swan Inn), containing eleven airy and well arranged rooms with a barn and other but offices, situated on Campbell's Hill about a quarter of a mile from West Maitland and contiguous to the long bridge at the entrance of the town. The property which cost the Proprietor but four years since, when building materials were not more than half the price they are now £1000- in the erection; has attached to it nearly seven acres and a half of land, stands on the high road and joins the intended site of the new Toll Bar, is bounded by the properties of Captain Roxburgh and the late F.A. Hely Esq., of whom a portion of the land was purchased at the rate of £150 per acre, offering to capitalists and speculators a most undoubted and profitable investment not only from the fact of its forming a portion of the township, but also from its pleasant and commanding situation, and being abundantly supplied with excellent water, in the driest seasons, from a lagoon which comprises part of the property. It is at present under a lease as a private residence, but which expires in June 1838.....Sydney Gazette 9 September 1837.

In March 1842 the Black Swan was offered for lease -

For any term that may be agreed upon - The well known late Black Swan Inn, situated on Campbell's Hill; well adapted for the public line, wholesale spirit Stores, General warehouse etc. on account of its excellent situation and conveniences. Apply to Mr. Peter Green, West Maitland for particulars.''

In March 1843 Jacob Hinchcliff, a general dealer recently moved to Maitland advertised the opening of those large and commodious premises formerly known as the Old Black Swan Inn at Campbell's Hill as a General Store where he would supply wines, spirits, porter, ale, flour, tea, sugar, tobacco, American furniture, ovens etc. He would accept all kinds of colonial produce in exchange, requiring no money.

The Black Swan went out of existence and its licence was transferred to a cottage near the site of the Family Hotel opposite Maitland Hospital. The name of the inn was altered to the White Swan Inn. [2]. In an article written in 1919 the location of the White Swan was said to be at the corner of Regent street and the Long Bridge and facing the hospital. [3]

White Swan Inn

Jacob Hinchcliffe

Jacob Hinchcliffe was granted a publican's licence for the White Swan Inn in October 1843

In June 1844 he decided to 'remove to the metropolis' and auctioneer Jeremiah Ledsam offered for sale by public auction the entire household furniture and stock in trade together with drays, a gig, horse, cow, personal items, clothing and a silver Hunting watch belonging to Hinchcliffe.

Long Bridge West Maitland - Frederick Charles Terry - National Library of Australia
Long Bridge West Maitland. National Library of Australia - Maitland Hospital in the distance. The building in the distance opposite the hospital may be the White Swan Inn.

Lachlan Boyne

Lachlan Boyne held the licence later in 1844. In November 1845 auctioneer Jeremiah Ledsam advertised a quantity of household furniture, horses, cows, pigs and a dray etc. to be sold at the White Swan Inn. Lachlan Boyne died in 1846.

Robert Cottrell

On the same day coachbuilder Robert Cottrell sold his household furniture, stock in trade, smiths' tools and other items with the intention of taking over the White Swan Inn.

Henry Early

Henry Early was the next publican at the White Swan. A burglar had a lucky escape in 1848 when he disturbed Mr. Early late one Saturday night. On hearing the burglar attempting to force open the front door, and observing a man hastily getting away over a fence Mr. Early fired his pistol which fortunately for the robber, misfired.

Henry Early was fined 2 pounds in 1849 for a breach of the Licensing Act when he provided rum on a Sunday to Maitland Tailor Thomas Richardson.

Joseph Eckford

Joseph Eckford was granted a publicans licence for the White Swan at Campbell's Hill in April 1854.

Seven Stars Inn - James Richards

Seven Stars Inn - In December 1849 James Richards was granted a publican's licence for the Seven Stars Inn formerly the White Swan Inn which was said to be situated nearly opposite the Falls in West Maitland. He still held the licence in April 1854.

The Inn had flourished in the forties and for many years following. Later it became the residence of Mr. John Comerford when he was inspector of the Campbell's Hill saleyards. [2]

Notes and Links

1). Select here to read about a battle amongst native tribes near the Old Black Swan in 1843


[1] Certificates for publicans' licences, 1853 - 1861. NRS 14403, reels 5063-5066, 1236 - 1242. State Records Authority of New South Wales. (Ancestry)

[2] Newcastle Morning Herald 7 December 1935

[3] Newcastle Morning Herald 26 June 1919