Free Settler or Felon

Convict and Colonial History

Hunter Valley Inns and Hotels

The Highland Home - Mount Wingen

The Highland Home was situated near the 'burning mountain' - Mount Wingen

David Watt

David Watt was granted a publican's licence for the Highland Home in the years 1845 - 1847.

Frank Hyde

Frank Hyde was proprietor in 1854. He purchased a large number of township allotments in the newly surveyed town of Wingen in 1857. The Maitland Mercury reported the death of Frank Hyde in December 1862...... The death of Mr. Frank Hyde who was so many years proprietor of this well known respectable Inn, will in all probability ere long cause the house to fall into other hands. Nothing certain is yet decided upon as one of the executors of the late Mr. Hyde's Will is away on a journey, but has been sent for. The Highland Home will always be in the hands of a respectable person, one of the best houses on the northern line of road. [1]

A correspondent described the countryside around the Highland Home Inn in 1866 - After leaving Scone the ride for the first few miles on towards Murrurundi (a distance of twenty five miles) is a very good and level one. Along the road here and there may be seen patches of land under cultivation, but the whole of it odes not amount to much. Between Scone and Murrurundi there are no less than about ten public houses, the one at which most travelers stop being the Highland Home, some three miles from the foot of that noted hill known as Warland's Range. As you near the Highland Home the scenery becomes very wild, and the country exceedingly mountainous. Piled up on the top of one another all around you as you journey along are to be seen short, abrupt jagged looking and in many cases fearfully precipitous ridges .......After giving my horse a feed and a good rest at the Highland Home hostelry, I prepared to drive on to Murrurundi some nine or ten miles distant. Directly you leave the Highland home you commence to ascend Warland's Range, a very steep hill, which is known by name at least to most persons in the Northern district as being the spot upon which the foul murder of the unfortunate Peter Clarke by the Ruffian Wilson was perpetrated. (2)

James Quigan

In September 1867 James Quigan of Rix's Creek became proprietor. The horses for the mail coach were stabled at the Highland Home at this time. In 1868 a contract to build the extension of the Great Northern Railway from Muswellbrook as far as the Highland Home was signed.

A railway camp was soon established; stables and offices for the contractors were built. In 1869 Spencer Stephens of Murrurundi built a large store at the Highland Home, He also had a saddlery and harness making business adjoining the store. There were plans that the railway line would be completed by 1871 however the Cobb and Co. coaching was still operating at this time The following account of an accident mentions the Inn.....

An accident occurred to one of the Cobb's coaches in September 1871 - The coach as usual left the Wingen platform under the careful guidance of Mr Wightman and placidly proceeded towards the Highland Home. No sooner had it arrived at Mr. Quigan's hostelry than the tyre of the off-hind wheel suddenly burst and came off at the very moment that Mr. Wightman drew up his team in front of the door of the Highland Home Hotel. The passengers alighted and transferred to another vehicle. It was fortunate that the accident occurred where it did, immediately opposite a blacksmith's forge and not on top of the Range. [3]

James Quigan died 14th August 1877. A last mention of the Highland Home Inn in the newspapers at Trove is in 1892 when a correspondence to the Maitland Mercury in mentioning W.E. Abbott who owned nearby Glengarry, recalled an occasion twenty five years earlier when, being compelled to go on the wallaby (wallaby track)* he travelled up the country on the road past the Highland Home public house and camped on the creek nearby.

Notes and Links

Australian Slang and Unique Phrases

* Wallaby track - place all his worldly possessions on his back in search of employment.


[1] Maitland Mercury 30 December 1862

[2] Maitland Mercury 4 January 1866

[3] Maitland Mercury 14 September 1871