Free Settler or Felon

Convict and Colonial History

Hunter Valley Inns and Hotels

The Market Wharf Inn at Newcastle

The Market Wharf Inn was situated on the corner of Market and Scott Street off Hunter street

In 1859 Maurice Magney, formerly of the California Hotel, announced that he had rented extensive premises near the Market Wharf which he had fitted up in first rate style and opened as The Market Wharf Inn. Breakfast 1s 6d; Dinner with a good glass of ale 1s 6d. tea, 1s 6d. bed, 1s. 6d. etc. The premises had originally been built as stables.

Princess Theatre

In July 1859 it was reported that Maurice Magney had built a large room 60 feet by 24 near the Inn that could be used for a concert room or public meetings. [1] Magney himself referred to it as a casino and advertised for a pianist and a comic singer as vocalist to be employed there. [2] No expense had been spared with regard to decor and soon the rooms were named Princess Theatre. Magney would allow travelling performers to rent the premises for suitable purposes and offered reduced rates of accommodation at his Inn for the performers. Mr. Holloway being about the first to play there in the Hunchback. The theatre was run on London music hall lines. [3]

On Saturday mornings scores of settlers assembled at the Inn for the purpose of disposing of their produce. The Inn also became a prominent land mark for those embarking on harbour ferries.

Later the Princess Theatre was used as a produce store for John Burke and also Captain Weatherill used it as a ship chandlery store. [4]

Elaborate Boxing Day celebrations were held at the Inn in December 1860 - an old English sports day at the rear of the Inn, a performance in the Princess's Theatre in the evening to be followed by a free ball in the Saloon.

Section of a map of Newcastle c. 1889showing the corner of Market and Scott Streets and the Market Wharf. Illustrated Sydney News 1889

Meetings and Inquests

Meetings were also often held at the Inn or the Princess Theatre, the Volunteer Fire Brigade being one of the first.

In February 1861 an historic miners' meeting was held in the Princess Theatre of the Market Wharf Inn. The miners intended to hold the mass meeting on the flats near St. John's Church but rain prevented it and Maurice Magney, put the theatre at their disposal. Following the meeting the men formed a procession and marched through the town with a banner and band of music. Over 1000 men were present. The object of the meeting was to form an association for protection in case of strike or turn out and to regulate the daily wage of the miners employed in the collieries of New South Wales. James Fletcher whose statue is so well known in Newcastle, was elected on the day and presided over the meeting and parade. Sydney Morning Herald 21 February 1861

Coroner's Inquests were also held at the Inn at various times.

Free and Easies

The Princess Theatre being attached to the hotel, 'Free and Easies' were often held there with Maurice Magney as chairman, and the company supplying their own artists and buying their refreshments from the hotel between times. This type of entertainment was favoured by Scottish miners of the era. [5]

In July 1861 the attraction billed at the Princess Theatre were Mr. Frank Short, the favourite comic singer who was to sing 'Will Ye Haver Go Home' and 'My Johnny Was A Cob-li-er'. Mr. W. Cleveland, the renowned Lancashire clog hornpipe dancer was to perform several times throughout the evening.

The Free and Easies were very popular but were contrary to the Licensing Act and hotel keepers who organised them were liable to large fines.

It is not known whether Maurice Magney was ever fined for holding Free and Easies, or whether his downfall came by other means, however he was declared insolvent in 1861 and seems to have lost everything once again.

Morris Magney died aged 52 at Elizabeth Street Singleton on 5 December 1863 after a few minutes illness.

In 1863 the Lease of nine years together with Good-Will, Furniture, Stock etc was advertised for disposal. Description: The Property stands in the best position in the city doing a first rate business, and will be enhanced in value considerably when the whole of the Sydney steamers are placed at the foot of the street within 100 yards of the house. [6]


Maurice Magney
Granted a License in April 1859 (Northern Times 23 April 1859)

Henry Finch
Held the license in 1865 - 1869. He established the Samaritan Fund at Newcastle for the purpose of affording temporary relief to indigent cured patients on their discharge from the hospital. Henry Finch died in April 1895.

John Hopes
Held the license for a number of years until he became ill in October 1880. He took a trip to the Old Country for the benefit of his health and after a brief stay in Sydney quarantine returned to Newcastle where he was landlord of the Oxford Hotel in Hunter Street. He died in January 1883 (NMH 25 January 1883)

John Petersen
John Petersen, an old Newcastle favourite Boniface who for many years was known as the popular proprietor of the Shipwrights Arms took over the License in October 1880. NMH 20 October 1880. He was accused of serving liquor on a Sunday and narrowly escaped penalty in 1884 when he refused admittance of two police officers who came to investigate the charge. In December the same year he was fined 3 pounds for the same offence. John Petersen's wife passed away in August 1887 and in February 1888 he transferred the license to Edmund Russell. He held one last celebration in the old house before retiring from the business altogether.

Edmund Russell
Transferred the license to Herbert Gardner on 19 February 1889

Herbert Gardner
In August 1889 it was reported that Herbert Gardner, had left the district for Texas (his home state) after having appropriated the sum of 517 pounds which had been advanced to him by a partner. He was arrested in Adelaide

Thomas Williams
Held the license until April 1890 when Isabella Short took over

Isabella Short
In 1896 it was announced Messrs David Cohen and Co., erected a large warehouse consisting of three stores with architecture of an ornate character on the west side of Market Street, close to the Market Wharf Inn. In January 1897 Mrs. Short was granted permission temporarily to carry on business during the time the premises were being rebuilt

Old Inn Demolished 1897

The old Market Wharf Inn was demolished in September 1897 and a new Hotel was built in conjunction with the Cohen Warehouse. It was to be two storeys high with a 90ft frontage to Market Street and would be occupied by Mrs. Short who was to carry on with the license throughout the building of the new hotel.

The ground floor comprised a public bar, private bar, four parlours, a large dining room, kitchen, wash house, mens' room and sanitary conveniences. The first floor comprised one large drawing room, 10 bedrooms, two large bathrooms and lavatory. Corridors of 8ft and 5ft in width gave direct access to all the apartments named. The lavatories were of marble. Floors of the vestibule, bathrooms and lavatories were tiled with tessellated tiles, bedded on concrete vaulted between steel joists. The fittings throughout were of cedar and the glazing of the principal doors and windows were of cathedral glass. The old-fashioned lath and plaster partitions were dispensed with and any partition walls of the first floor not meeting with perpendicular support by the walls of ground floor are built of solid brickwork on steel girders. A chastely designed colonnade and balcony 12 ft in width occupied the whole length of frontage. The exterior of the building was faced with double pressed bricks, tuck pointed, and had alternate stone and cement dressings. Mr. Frederick B. Menkens was the architect and acted on behalf of Mr. A. A. Dangar who owned the premises [7]

There was a white marble tablet at the Market-street entrance bearing an inscription which showed that the building was erected and named the Shortland Hotel in 1897, the centenary year of Newcastle. [8]

Shortland Hotel

In February 1898 Isabella Short was granted permission to change the sign of her house from the Market Inn to the Shortland Hotel [9]. Doors were open to customers in April 1898

The first meeting of the Newcastle Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Association (The Newcastle Show) came into being on Friday 17 March 1899 at a meeting in the Shortland Hotel. Fourteen men attended, two being Charles Frogley and Sir Samuel Cohen. [10]

David Cohen Warehouse Fire 1908

In January 1908 the Shortland Hotel was partially destroyed when David Cohen warehouse caught fire, part of the warehouse falling in on the roof of the Hotel. In November of the same year it was announced that the Shortland Hotel had been re-instated, altered, and another story added to it. A roof garden was one of the new features, being of Neuchatel asphalt on a concrete and steel foundation. This was the first roof of its kind in Newcastle. There were still 20 bedrooms and a large dining and sitting room on the first floor. The Hotel was refurnished throughout, F G. Castledon was the architect. [11]

Rose Hannah Crammond
The license was transferred from Rose Hannah Crammond to Michael Joseph Hughes in March 1920 (Newcastle Sun 22 March 1920)

Michael Joseph Hughes
Michael Hughes died at Tamworth in January 1921

Harry Joseph Rose
Took over the license in April 1920. The hotel was extensively refurbished and updated by Harry Rose including new furnishings throughout and an excellent cuisine

Lynch, Matthew jun.,
License transferred from Harry Rose to Matthew Lynch jun., in July 1921 (NMH 13 July 1921

Florence Bradbury Hyland
License transferred from Matthew Lynch to Florence Bradbury Hyland in December 1924 (NMH 3 December 1924). Mrs. Hyland relinquished management of the hotel in July 1925

George Alfred Wilkins
Took over from Florence Hyland NMH 22 July 1925

C. Wiles
Transferred the license to Amy Isabelle Lynch in September 1926 (NMH 29 September 1926

Amy Isabelle Lynch
License transferred from Isabella Lynch to Adelaide Delbridge in March 1927 (NMH 16 March 1927)

Adelaide Delbridge
There was a serious fire in May 1927. Smoke billowed from every window on the first and second floors. Fire originated in the kitchen Newcastle Sun 13 May 1927. License transferred from Adelaide Delbridge to Frederick Morgan in May 1928 (Newcastle Sun 29 May 1928)

Frederick Morgan
License transferred from F. Morgan to John W. Lake in July 1928 (Newcastle Sun 17 July 1928)

John W. Lake
Transferred from John Lake to Joseph Herman Kreckler in September 1932 (The Newcastle Sun 1 September 1932.

Joseph Herman Kreckler
Additions and improvements were carried out in 1934 in accordance with plans prepared by Messrs Castleden for Tooth and co. Ltd., the lessees of the property which was owned by the Dangar Estate. There was an altered layout of the bars, lounge and parlour. NMH 17 March 1934. Kreckler was granted a music license in the same year

Alexander William MacDonald
License transferred from J. Kreckler to Alexander William MacDonald in June 1936 (The Newcastle Sun 16 June 1936)

Stanley Slack
License transferred from Stanley Slack to Vincent Mack Green of Coogee in August 1939 (Newcastle Sun 22 August 1938)

Vincent Mack Green
License Transferred from Vincent Mack Green to Sydney Edgar Batley formerly of the Grant Hotel at Cobar (Newcastle Sun 16 November 1939)

Sydney Edgar Batley
Transferred from Edgar Batley to Leslie George Flynn formerly of Dubbo (Newcastle Sun 27 August 1940)

Leslie George Flynn
Transferred from Leslie George Flynn to Cecil Baden Brown of Tamworth (Newcastle Sun 12 November 1940)

Cecil Baden Brown
Transferred from Cecil Baden Brown to William Joseph Huntley in January 1841 (Newcastle Sun 14 January 1941)

William Joseph Huntley
Previously licensee of the Dunbar Castle Hotel in King St. Sydney

Allan Turnham
Transferred from William Joseph Huntley to Allan Turnham of Margaret St. Petersham in November 1941 (Newcastle Sun 18 November 1941)

William Stanley Bush
Had been licensee for 18 months in August 1944 when he was fined for having sold adulterated rum (NMH 31 August 1944)

William Francis Dunne
License transferred from William Stanley Bush to William Francis Dunne in June 1945 (NMH 6 June 1945)

Claude Thomas Edwards
Licensee in August 1947 (NMH 26 August 1947)

Frederick William Fiddick
License transferred from Claude Thomas Edwards to Frederick William Fiddick in March 1950 (NMH 1 March 1950)

Eric Roy Callaghan
Licensee in September 1953 (Newcastle Sun 15 September 1953)

Harry Clifford McDonald
Licensee to November 1954. (Daily Examiner 9 November 1954)

Auction 1953

The Hotel was sold at auction in November 1953 for £40,000. Frontage of 90 feet to Market-street and 38 feet to Scott street. Lease to expire at the end of the year [12]


[1] Maitland Mercury 30 July 1859

[2] Sydney Morning Herald 2 August 1859

[3] Newcastle Morning Herald 30 January 1897

[4] Newcastle Morning Herald 13 January 1925

[5] Newcastle Morning Herald 22 May 1954

[6] Maitland Mercury 5 May 1863

[7] Newcastle Morning Herald 5 February 1897

[8] Newcastle Sun 24 April 1920

[9] Sydney Morning Herald 18 February 1898

[10] Newcastle Sun 19 February 1947

[11] Newcastle Morning Herald 2 November 1908.

[12] Newcastle Morning Herald 27 November 1953