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Free Settler or Felon

Hunter Valley Inns and Hotels

The Bush Inn - Scone

Henry Smith opened a public house under the sign of the 'Bush Inn' in July 1849. Advertisements described the Inn as roomy and commodious and the wines, ales and spirits first rate. The stabling department Smith considered second to none on that line of road and he could provide the best hay and corn with a groom committed to providing the greatest attention. To travelling teams his house was considered a most desirable place to stop; the Camping Ground facing the house and the bullocks and horses able to be secured in a large paddock and brought back free of charge in the morning, to suit the convenience of drivers [1]

In October 1851 Henry Smith was convicted of receiving stolen sheepskins belonging to William Tinson and William Ivory. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison which he served in Newcastle Gaol. The entrance books for the gaol state he arrived on the Marquis of Hastings, although in which year is unclear. He was 5ft 8 inches and of strong build with a florid complexion and brown hair.

In an interesting turn of events, George Cohen a well known and respected young man of the district was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment for attempting to persuade Tinson and Ivory not to charge Smith with receiving the stolen sheepskins. Twenty-eight friends and neighbours subscribed to an address expressing their respect and sympathy towards Cohen after his sentence, and he was given high character references by no less than Edward Denny Day and John Bingle. Soon after this the conviction of 'attempting to pervert the course of justice' was reversed by the unanimous decision of Judges of the Supreme Court.

By December 1852 Henry Smith had been released from Newcastle gaol, however the Bush Inn was advertised to be let. It was described as being - 'Situated on the high road to the Northern Gold Fields. The house - 2 front parlours, 7 bedrooms, tap, verandah room, brick kitchen and servants sleeping quarters, stock and slaughter yards, stabling all enclosed with a paling fence as well as an adjoining butcher's shop. [2]

In January 1876 Duncan McPhee advertised the Bush Inn for auction - 'For Positive and Unreserved Sale, The Bush Inn and Premises in Gundy, 10 miles from Scone, At the Junction of the Nundle and Denison Gold Fields Roads. All that Valuable Block of Land containing one acre on which is erected the Bush Inn containing 9 rooms, kitchen, stables, outhouses, stock and milking yards etc., together with household furniture, cattle, horses. The Maitland Mercury 25 January 1876

William Rose junior was granted a Bagatelle licence for The Bush Inn, Gundy, in October 1879 [3]

Notes and Links

1). On revisiting Gundy: a meeting of history and archaeology Helen Brayshaw


[1] Maitland Mercury 14 July 1849

[2] Maitland Mercury 25 December 1852

[3] New South Wales Government Gazette 10 October 1879