Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

William the Forth Inn


Joseph Swales arrived as a convict on Calder 1822. He was a farrier and had been a soldier with the 8th Dragoons in Calcutta. On his arrival he was assigned to Alexander Shand at Illalaung. He married Mary McDonald at Newcastle in January 1829. Mary was a nursery maid from Monaghan who arrived on the Mariner in 1825. Joseph was granted a Ticket of Leave for the district of Maitland in 1831.

Joseph Swales was granted a publican's licence for the King William the Fourth Inn in 1839 and William the Fourth Inn at Morpeth in June 1840, 1841 and 1842.

He became insolvent in the depression of the 1840's and was accused of removing a crane from the fireplace of his former home. The sale of his property took place in March 1844 - 'To sell by order of the Trustees: The large and commodious house the late property of Joseph Swales, insolvent, and for several years past a licenced Public Inn, situated in Steamer Street, having large and numerous buildings to the rear, extending to the banks of the River Hunter, consisting of dwelling houses, out houses, stables, and possessing every possible convenience requisite to the management of an extensive and first rate business. [1]

His wife was later accused of larceny also.

He was refused a publican's licence due to the above circumstances and returned to work as a blacksmith. His blacksmith's shop was situated behind the blacksmith's shop belonging to John Portus in Morpeth. He again applied for a publican's licence for the 'Steam Shipp Inn' (formerly the Globe Inn) in September 1849 but this was refused by the Bench. When he applied again in December of that year Mr. Doyle and Mr. Child objected to the licence being granted as the evidence given in a charge of fraud some years since wherein Mrs. Swales was tried at the Quarter Sessions and acquitted, prevented them from consenting that she should again hold a licence. Swales promptly published an angry letter to Mr. Doyle in the Maitland Mercury. In part he wrote: 'It appears to me that you have travelled out of your way to do an injury to a person of whom you can know nothing except by hearsay; for at the time in question you were not so public a man as you have become of late days, and it strikes me you cannot recollect much of the case or you would not confound 'Quarter Sessions' with 'Circuit Court'. Between the time Mrs. Swales was committed and her trial taking place, applications for publican's licences were under the consideration of the Bench of Magistrates; mine was granted to me conditionally pending the verdict of a jury; Mrs. Swales was acquitted; I had not sufficient means then to pay for the licence having incurred a number of bad debts. The case was tried in the Court of Requests before Mr. Day; and as every person who knows Mr. Day is well aware he adjudicated all cases in that Court by conscience and equity, they must be satisfied that he had good grounds for dismissing the case.

In the same edition of the Mercury, auctioneer Jeremiah Ledsam advertised Swales 'Magnificent House and premises' for sale. They were described as situated in Swan Street opposite the mills of John Portus within three minutes walk of the Steam Company's Wharf and contained 9 rooms. In addition the premises boasted a cellar, detached kitchen, and stabling for six horses with a comfortable dwelling at the rear of the building. The house was described as a splendid edifice executed in masterly style. The foundation was of stone and the superstructure of brick [2]

Joseph and Mary Swailes were residing in Adelaide by May 1850. The licence for the Unley Inn was transferred to Joseph Swales in December 1850. He was publican of the Launceston Hotel in Adelaide in 1858.

He moved to Salisbury in 1859 and became landlord of the public house known as the Coach and Horses. He was declared insolvent for a second time in that year.

Notes and Links

Swales - On the 31st January at the residence of her son-in-law, Captain Hugh Quin, Church street Port Adelaide, Mary, relict of the late Joseph Swales, aged 84 years - South Australian Register 6 February 1888


[1] Maitland Mercury 9 March 1844

[2] Maitland Mercury 8 December 1849