Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Bush Inn


Captain David Brown came to Paterson in the early 1830's. He may have at one time, been the Captain of the Pandora, a coastal trader sailing between Newcastle and Sydney.

David Brown built 'Longhouse Green' overlooking the township around 1836. [1] The premises were re-named Bush Inn in 1838, the same year he married Mary Hodgson at Scots Church, Sydney. The old Inn was described many years later in the Dungog Chronicle -

"The Inn was built of stone and was situated about half a mile north of Paterson township on the Gresford road on the south bank of Browne's Creek. It was built well out of flood reach. A well appointed two-story building with a shingle roof, it had six rooms upstairs; two large rooms below used as dining room and kitchen, three smaller rooms and a large bar room". [2].

David Brown was granted a publican's licence for the Bush Inn in June 1839. [3]

A meeting of the Paterson River Steam boat Company was held at the Bush Inn on 28th November 1839. In the forties also, it was the lodge room of the Loyal Paterson Union Lodge No. 4221 I.O.O.F. Manchester Unity. On their fifth anniversay celebrations held at the Inn on April 14, 1851, tickets were 5/- earch. Stephen Stanbridge was the N.G. and Daniel Cowley was V. G. This Stephen Stanbridge built the court house at Paterson in 1866. [3]

Paterson Packet

David Brown established a ship building yard at Paterson and has the distinction of having built the first vessel on the Paterson river [4]

.... From the Maitland Mercury 19 December 1846 - On Thursday after noon, the beautiful little schooner, built by Mr. David Brown, of the Paterson, made her first entrance into that river. In consequence of the additional interest of a boat race, the township was thronged with visitors. Shortly after one o'clock the gentlemen connected with the vessel arrived, and all the arrangements having been made, the props were knocked away, and the little vessel glided gracefully into the dancing waters which were thenceforth to be her home. The vessel was named with the usual formulae, by the Rev. W. Ross, the Paterson Packet Victoria. She is schooner rigged of about 70 tons burthen, and intended for the Paterson and Sydney trade. Upwards of 200 persons were present on the occasion, all seeming to take the liveliest interest in the proceedings. After the ceremony, about twenty of those present sat down to a capital lunch provided by mine host of the Paterson Hotel, Mr. Brown when every respect to creature comfort was duly paid.

The Sydney Herald recorded the dimensions of the Paterson Packet - The vessel does great credit to Mr. Brown, by whom she was designed; her model is very good. The following are her dimensions: keel, 44 feet; length over all, 55ft 6 inches; beam, 17 feet 4 inches; depth of hold, 7 ft 3 inches; and measures about 62 tons O.M. She is well adapted for the river trade, drawing little water and carrying a large cargo and proves to be a fast sailer as well as a good sea boat.

David Brown used this vessel to trade between Newcastle and Sydney. During his absence Mrs. Brown managed the Inn. [3]

James Keppie

James Keppie arrived in the colony as engineer of the steam Sophia Jane. [5] He held the licence for the Bush Inn from November 1840 - 1844 and was selling colonial beer which had been produced in West Maitland at the Hunter Brewery

David Brown

1845 the Inn was again licensed to David Brown and then Daniel Brown.

In December a public Dinner of the brethren of the loyal Paterson Union lodge was given to their late host David Brown at the Lodge Room in the Bush Inn. It was organised as a token of their esteem for his services as host of the Lodge for the last eight years. The room was tastefully decorated with evergreens and flowers for tie occasion. The table groaned under the good things prepared. The chair was taken by Mr. J. Duke; the vice chair was occupied by Mr. Stanbridge senior. Several friends and visiting officers and brethren honoured the occasion with their presence. After doing justice to the eatables, and the cloth removed, the Chairman gave toasts and the guest of the evening Mr. David Brown responded ably to the honour conferred on him.

In November 1854 auctioneer William Gibb under instructions from David Brown sold by auction a set of splendid furniture at the Inn.

Matthew Healey

Matthew Healey was proprietor by 1855 - 1858. He sold his livestock and left the Paterson in 1859

William Richard Ley

William Richard Ley was proprietor of the Bush Inn when the Tradesman's Ball was held on 6th July 1860...... Single tickets 4s Double 6s.

Flood at the Paterson

The Paterson and Allyn River experienced a destructive flood in April 1861. The river broke the banks in three different places within the vicinity of the town; a little below the Queen's Wharf, a little below the Scotch Church and near the Bush Inn; but did little damage. The Commercial Road leading from the town at the end of the Scotch Church ground was about eight feet under water and the same road a little beyond the Bush Inn was ten feet under water.

William Richard Ley left Paterson in 1863.

William Corner

David Brown became insolvent in 1858 and by Order of the Supreme Court of New South Wales Colin Piper McKenzie was appointed Official Assignee of the insolvent estate. On 4th April 1859 John Piper Mackenzie conveyed to William Corner several of David Brown's parcels of land including the Bush Inn. [1]

David Brown died in May 1867.

William Corner established a general store there in the early part of 1867. He had previously had a store since 1848 on the other side of Brown's Creek, but his business had increased so much he required larger premises.

Sussex House

William Corner made numerous alterations including building on to the front, a fine two storey residence [6]. He re-named it Sussex House. He retired in the 80s and lived there with his sons Henry, Frank and Stewart until his death in 1894.[3]

Thomas Jordan

Mr. Thomas Jordan bought the property in 1918 and lived there for some time.

Dr. Kem Yee

When Dr. Kem Yee wanted the building for a hospital it was leased to him. After serving as a hospital for some years it was let as a private house. [3]

Sussex House was demolished in 1966 to make way for the widening of the road [6]

Notes and Links

1). Reminiscences of the Paterson District - Maitland Daily Mercury 10 September 1898


[1] Threlfo, Shirley, Commercial Road, p. 3

[2] Dungog Chronicle 31 August 1949

[3] Certificates for Publicans' Licences State Archives NSW; Series: 14401; Item: [4/70-71]; Reel: 5055. Year 1839. New South Wales, Australia

[4] Maitland Mercury 23 December 1846

[5] Dungog Chronicle 29 October 1949