Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Caledonia Hotel


Just below the Albion Hotel and on the same side of Watt street, Newcastle was the Caledonia (later the Orient) This hotel was said to have been built by Major James Reid in 1824, although there may have been an earlier Inn on this site as far back as 1818 that was selling rum to sailors.[1]

James Croft, Patrick Campbell, Alexander Flood and many other pioneers of note were once hosts of the Caledonia[2]

James Croft

James Croft arrived as a convict on the Lady Castlereagh in 1818. He was appointed gaoler at Newcastle Gaol in 1822. He was granted a publicans' license for the Caledonia in 1846 and 1847[3]. He was publican at the Victoria Inn in 1847 on the occasion of Sir Charles Fitzroy's visit to the Hunter.

Patrick Campbell

Patrick Campbell held the license in 1850 - 1851. He teamed up with coach driver Samuel Smith of Maitland to provide a coach service between Newcastle and Maitland

Alexander Flood

In 1851 a License was taken out by Alexander Flood who had resided in Newcastle for many years.

Alexander Flood was born in 1806. He married Phoebe Clark in Bellary, Madras on 20 December 1824. They arrived in Australia on the Caroline in 1831. In 1833 he was employed as overseer at Glendon, the estate of Robert and Helenus Scott and was one of the men who apprehended convicts who had absconded from the Castle Forbes estate in that year.

In 1838 Alexander and Phoebe ran a school in Newcastle. The school was attended by 26 boys and 24 girls and the allowance to the master was £30 a year; to the mistress £10, with £30 a year for house rent, and £13 5s 1d from the Treasury for teaching, or a total from the Treasury of £73 5s 1d

During the 1840's Alexander Flood was variously employed as Postmaster, Collector of Quit Rents and later Health Inspector. He also held an Auctioneer's license.

After taking out the License for the Caledonia in the 1850's he extended the building by adding a new suite of six rooms and a verandah over 100 ft in length in 1852 and hoped to attract invalids and other desirous of enjoying the 'invigorating sea breezes of Newcastle'. He served colonial wines produced at Irrawang and Burnetland at the Caledonia. In 1856 he left the Caledonia and took out the license for the Newcastle Railway Terminus Hotel in Maitland Road (1856 - 57) [4]

In 1867 he became insolvent and was sent to Maitland gaol where he remained for three months in default of payment of £100. It seems he recovered financially however as his name was one of many on a list of Newcastle men who purchased Crown land at Waratah at a sale in May 1868

Phoebe Flood died at Newcastle 18 November 1870. Alexander died at Newcastle in 27 June 1871 aged 75 years

Robert Lorn Pattison

Highly regarded steam-boat captain Robert Lorn Pattison held the license for the Caledonia for about nine months in the 1850s before he returned to a life on the sea.

Nathaniel Smith

The Newcastle Chronicle reported in October 1866 that the Caledonia Hotel, after being closed for several months was again about to be opened as a first class hotel. Mr. Nathaniel Smith of Hinton, who previously held a bagatelle license was the proprietor [5].. A large quantity of furniture was brought up to Newcastle by the steamer from Morpeth and conveyed to the Caledonian. He intended to re-open on 1st November 1866. [6]

Nathanial Samuel Smith held the license in 1867 - 1868 [7]. He was fined 20s and costs for keeping his hotel open for the sale of liquor at unlawful hours on a Sunday in September 1868. [8]. He was declared insolvent at Newcastle in 1871. [9]

Joseph B. Olliffe

Mr. J. B. Olliffe held the license prior to 1869 and then the Volunteer Hotel in West Maitland. In November 1869 he opened a new hotel at the corner of Hunter and Bolton streets known as the Criterion. [10]

Henry Williams

Henry Williams was the proprietor in August 1869. A travelling chiropodidist received patients at the Hotel in September 1869. Williams was fined 20s for keeping the hotel open at an unlawful hour in March 1871. [11]

A wooden building was erected next door to the Caledonia by Broughton and Downey as a grocery store later became known as The Assembly. Afterwards it was converted into a theatre by Henry Williams and actor George Anderson and known as the Theatre Royal and also the Prince Alfred Hall and became very popular. Volunteer drills and band practices were held at the Hall adjoining the hotel at this time. [12] Afterwards the old hall was used as a prize-ring and then a second hand and boot shop. It was demolished in September 1919. [13]

Henry Williams was charged with attempting to commit suicide in June 1871[14]. His stepson took over the license until December 1871 when Williams was granted it again. [15]

William Ellen

William Ellen held the license in 1875. [16]

John Cox

John Cox of the Caledonia was granted a Billiard and Bagatelle License in July 1876 [17]

Mr. Russell

Mr. Russell in November 1878 [18]

Robert Morgan

Robert Morgan left the Caledonia in July 1885 [19]

Frederick Boland

Frederick H. Boland's license was renewed in June 1886 [20]

David Beveridge

David Beveridge was licensee in February 1887[21]

The Orient Hotel

The Caledonia became the Orient Hotel. In 1925 when Frederick John Edwards held the license, tenders were called to build a large and up to date hotel to be erected on the site of the Orient Hotel. [22]. By July the old building had been completely demolished [23] The new building was also known as the Orient.

John William Hitchcock took over the hotel on 12 December 1932

The License was transferred from Veronica Savage to Alice McGuinness in December 1933 [24]

The license was transferred from Albert William Dains to Joseph Lowe of Kurri in December 1939 [25]


[1] Newcastle Sun 27 July 1925

[2] Newcastle Sun 3 January 1938

[3] Certificates for Publicans' Licenses. State Archives NSW; Series: 14401; Item: [4/79, 4/81]; Reel: 5061

[4] Certificates for Publicans' Licenses. State Archives NSW; Series: 14403; Item: [7/1507-1508]; Reel: 1239

[5] Maitland Mercury 15 December 1864

[6] Newcastle Chronicle 12 October 1866

[7] Certificates for Publicans' Licenses. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 14411; Item: 7/1514; Reel: 1243.

[8] Newcastle Chronicle 24 September 1868

[9] Maitland Mercury 12 January 1871

[10] Newcastle Chronicle 6 November 1869

[11] Newcastle Chronicle 30 March 1871

[12] Newcastle Chronicle 7 August 1869

[13] Newcastle Sun 15 September 1919

[14] Newcastle Chronicle 22 June 1871

[15] Newcastle Chronicle 21 December 1871

[16] Certificates for Publicans' Licenses. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 14411; Item: 7/1514; Reel: 1243

[17] Newcastle Chronicle 1 July 1876

[18] Newcastle Morning Herald 12 November 1878

[19] Newcastle Morning Herald 24 July 1885

[20] Newcastle Morning Herald 26 June 1886

[21] Newcastle Morning Herald 12 February 1887

[22] The Newcastle Sun 12 January 1925

[23] Newcastle Sun 27 July 1925

[24] Newcastle Sun 5 December 1933

[25] Newcastle Sun 5 December 1939