Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Woolpack Inn - Prince of Wales Inn


John Butler Hewson arrived on the Mangles in 1820. He was employed as a Constable at Newcastle in 1831. In 1832 was appointed gaol keeper at Newcastle gaol [1]

He held the licence for the Union Inn at Newcastle from 1835 to 1844. In 1844 he was granted the licence for the Woolpack Inn situated in Bolton Street, Newcastle -

'J.B. Hewson (formerly of the Union Inn) respectfully announces to his friends and the public generally that he has recommenced business as a licenced victualler in those newly erected premises opposite the Police Office known as the Woolpack Inn.

J.B.H. in again introducing himself to the public begs to inform them that no expense has been spared to render the accommodations worthy the support of his old friends and respectfully solicits a share of public patronage. Every description of Malt and other liquors spirits wine at Sydney Prices [2]

The Woolpack Inn was advertised for sale by auctioneer Alexander Flood in September 1846. It was said to be one of the most classic buildings in the town. With first-rate accommodation and numerous rooms of large dimensions it was on a lease of seven years from July 1845 at an annual rent of £89 (less than half the value) having been let under the influence of generous feelings by the proprietor towards the occupant. Connected with the Woolpack were three shops occupied by a baker, a tailor and a respectable haberdasher.

The Woolpack Inn was advertised for sale again in October 1847 - Situated at the corner of Hunter and Bolton Streets and opposite the court House, occupying the best position and being the best building in Newcastle.

Three cottages adjoining the Woolpack with a frontage to Bolton Street and a handsome house of seven spacious rooms with detached kitchen situated in Watt Street; two brick built cottages with verandahs with entrance from Watt Street; a good cottage built of brick, fronting Pacific Street with a beautiful view of the Port and Ocean; a valuable plot of land with frontage to the Market place Newcastle and to the principal streets and an allotment of land situated at Raymond Terrace opposite Hart's Hotel were also advertised for sale on the same day, 1st October 1847.[3]

John Butler Hewson was granted a licence for the Woolpack in 1847 and 1848.

Prince of Wales Inn

The name was changed to the Prince of Wales c. 1850

Lewis Jones otherwise known as Turon Jones was a popular publican at the Prince of Wales in the 1860s. He may have been successful on the Turon gold fields when he joined thousands of other hopeful prospectors at the diggings in 1851. He was granted the license for the Rose and Crown at Maitland in 1853 and a license for the Prince of Wales at Newcastle in 1861 where he remained until 1868. The premises of the Prince of Wales were owned by Beresford Hudson at this time.

There was a near disaster in 1867 -

Fire- On Thursday evening, about eight o'clock, a slight stir was created in the neighbourhood of the Court-house, by a report that the Prince of Wales hotel was on fire. On making enquiries we learn that the rumour had some foundation in truth, as the bed curtains in one of the upper rooms did take fire, and for a short time created some considerable alarm to the inmates of the house. Directly the alarm was raised, five or six men rushed upstairs, tore the curtains down, and in that way quickly extinguished the flames. The accident was caused, we understand, through the carelessness of one of the servants in passing through the room with a lighted candle.[4]

Lewis Jones had married Mary Anne Macken at Maitland in September 1842. Their daughter Mary Anne Catherine Jones died aged 10 at Newcastle in 1860. Their son Lewis Accar Jones, aged 20, known as 'Lewy' to his friends, met his death by accidentally falling from the precipice at Shepherd's Hill near the Horse shoe Bend in 1869 having been bumped by his dog, while standing on a ledge of the rocks with friends, the earth gave way beneath him and he fell to the bottom, almost 200 ft. When his body was conveyed to his parents residence at the Prince of Wales, all the people of the township lined the streets to pay their respects to the bereaved parents. He was buried in Newcastle Christchurch burial grounds.

In 1861 when Lewis Jones was publican an author, known at the time, as Rob the Ranter stayed at the Prince of Wales for three months. Read his descriptions of Newcastle here

Andrew Kirkaldy held the licence for the Prince of Wales from 1870 - 1876.

Andrew Kirkaldy who had formerly run the General Washington Hotel at Stockton, took over the license in 1904 and ran the hotel for eight and a half years before he moved to the Hunter River Hotel.

Later the site of the Prince of Wales Hotel was occupied by the Bank of New Zealand, the space intervening between it and the theatre being occupied by several stores, including that of J. Spragg, Tighe's butcher shop and the surgery of Dr. Knaggs.

In 1878 the Maitland Mercury reported: The premises at the corner of Bolton and Hunter streets, long known as the Prince of Wales Hotel, with the two cottages in its rear, were yesterday bought at auction for the Bank of New Zealand for the sum of 5000 pounds. It is intended to renovate entirely the front portion of the building for the purpose of converting it into a branch of the New Zealand Bank, the houses in the rear having to be removed for the building in their place, of a residence for the Bank manager. [6]

Site of the Bank of New Zealand cnr Hunter and Bolton Streets, formerly the site of the Woolpack Inn and Prince of Wales Inn
Bolton Street looking south. The Bank of New Zealand can be seen on the left of the photograph. - Newcastle Herald

As an aside - The decorative plaster work on the Bank of New Zealand (left above) was designed and made in the art studio of Mr. Richard Ward at Wickham who specialised in decorative plaster ornamentation and modellings of all descriptions, plaster work ceilings, signs, enriched cornices, centre flowers, mantel pieces skirtings etc. The Bank of New Zealand premises later passed into the hands of the Commercial Banking Co., of Sydney.

In reminiscing about Newcastle many years later George Priest recalled the Woolpack Inn - Another familiar hotel was the Woolpack, afterwards the Prince of Wales at the corner of Hunter and Bolton street. The old building has disappeared and in its place stand the premises of the Commercial Banking Company, of Sydney.

Notes and Links

1). In 1856 John Butler Hewson was granted a licence for the Union Inn in Blane Street Newcastle [5]


[1] Sydney Gazette 14 January 1831

[2] Maitland Mercury 22 June 1844

[3] Sydney Morning Herald 1 October 1847

[4] Maitland Mercury 20 August 1867

[5] Certificates for publicans' licences, 1853-1861. NRS 14403, reels 5063-5066, 1236-1242. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[6] Maitland Mercury 18 July 1878