Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Freemason's Arms

West Maitland

Walter Rotton built the Inn known as the Freemason's Arms situated in High Street in 1830. There was a great flood at Maitland in 1832. Many years later he described some of the previous floods of Maitland...The flood of 1857 was two feet higher at the Queen's Arms than in 1832 (I built it, and lived in it then); but the back water was not so high by an inch or two only. This was caused by the length of time it was running. In 1826 I was on the Plains, but was told by old (William) O'Donnell who shewed me the mark on his house, that 1826 was higher by seventeen inches than 1832; but in 1832, the river kept steady for seven days and nights, never varying more than three inches the whol time and I then crossed the race course, in a straight line from the Queens' Arms to Aikenhead's in a boat with never less than eight inches water. [7]

In August 1836 the premises 'lately known as the Freemasons Arms' were offered for sale in two lots. At this time the Inn consisted of a large shop front 30 x 16 with a room equal size above with a private entrance to the dwelling house of six rooms, a stable large enough for eight horses with a loft for grain and gardens. The Inn was situated next door to a stone building in High Street West Maitland then or later known as Rickard's or Paulovich's stores. [1]

James Young

The name of this hotel had changed to the Queens Arms by 1838, about the time James Young took over the licence. James Young had previously been Chief Constable at Maitland. In an article many years later refuting George Boyle White's predictions that some day West Maitland would be completely flooded and in all probability some or most of the houses swept away, The Queens Arms was mentioned......there had been major flooding in 1840 and the weatherboard building of the Queens' Arms was slightly twisted when the flood waters first struck it, but remained standing and was still standing. [4]

Thomas Smith

When the premises of the Queens Arms was advertised for sale in 1848, James Young had held the licence for 10 years.

The property had a frontage to High street of 70 feet with a depth f 608 feet. The building itself was said to exhibit an extensive respectable external appearance with internal rooms so neat in their appearance as to render them highly comfortable. It was in the centre of some of the leading mercantile establishments in the town.
The Ground floor consisted of
1 Tap room 21ft by 15ft 9 in
1 Bar Room 10ft. by 10 ft
1 Store room 13 ft 6in by 10 ft.
1 Back Parlour 19 ft by 19ft
1 Bedroom 9 ft 6 in by 10 ft.
1 front Parlour 15 ft 6 in by 13 ft. 6 in
2 bed rooms each 9ft 6in by 10 ft
Hall 13 ft 6
The Second Story
1 front Sitting room 21ft by 15 ft 9 in
2 Bedrooms each 7ft 9 in by 10 ft
Twelve rooms
Kitchen 14 feet by 14 feet
Abutting the kitchen was a large brick building containing the laundry 14ft by 14ft and a bake house 24 feet 6 in by 14 ft.
Also included was a 3 stalled stable.

The licence was transferred from James Young to Thomas Smith in March 1852. [2]

Patrick Fitzgerald

The Licence was transferred from Thomas Smith to Patrick Fitzgerald in December 1852 [3]

Dennis Holland

In April 1856 the licence was granted conditionally to Dennis Holland who was a new applicant. The applicant's brother in law had purchased the house, and the licence was granted on condition of its being propertly repaired. [5]

The Queens' Arms suffered in the disastrous flood of 1857. Part of one side was washed away. All the brick chimneys had totally diappeared. The water was four feet high in the house and a very strong current was flowing against it. [6]

Dennis Holland's application for a licence as refused in April 1859 after it was found that he was living with the wife of another man.

Joseph Cannon

Joseph Cannon was granted a licence in April 1861. He transferred the licence for the Queens' Arms to a house in the Horseshoe Bend in June 1862

Notes and Links

James Young moved to Redfern, Sydney in April 1852. Sadly his young son Thomas James Young died of croup aged 3 years 9 months one month later. He was at the Hand and Heart Hotel in Botany Road when another son Robert Scott Young died in January 1853 aged 1 year and 4 months.

Walter Rotton was granted the licence for the Forbes Inn at Singleton in 1847. He left for the California Gold Fields in 1849.


[1] Maitland Mercury 3 March 1852

[2] Maitland Mercury 10 March 1852

[3] Maitland Mercury 22 December 1852

[4] Maitland Mercury 30 May 1855

[5] Maitland Mercury 17 April 1856

[6] Maitland Mercury 29 August 1857

[7] Maitland Mercury 3 September 1857