Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Rose Inn

West Maitland

Benjamin Cox held the licence for the Rose Inn in 1832. In this year he was enlarging the premises. Two years later in 1834 he left the Rose Inn and started business at the Albion Inn and the licence for the Rose was taken out by Solomon Levien who also ran the Post office from the premises.

Solomon Levien

In 1834 the Rose Inn was put up for sale along with other property in Maitland, a lengthy description was included in the advertisement.....there were eight bedrooms and three sitting rooms, hall, pantry, two store rooms, a tap, bar, and sitting room, coach and chaise house and a nine stall stable. It was let on a repairing lease for 7 years to Mr. Levien at the rent of £150 per annum. In consequence of the numerous improvements made by the enterprising Mr. Levien, whose extreme civility was so well known by all who put up at the Rose, it had become the favourite house of the district and it was thought it could become the 'Pulteney of Maitland'. It was bounded at the back by the navigable part of Hunter's river.

In 1835 Sol Levien announced he was retiring from Rose Inn to take possession of 'Pulteney Hotel ' in Sydney.

Phillip Joseph Cohen

Phillip Joseph Cohen who had owned the first soap factory in Maitland was publican at the Rose Inn in the 1840's. He had been granted 10 acres of land in Maitland township in 1834 and was appointed Postmaster in 1835.

P.J. Cohen suffered financially in the depression of the 1840's. His debts were over £300, however at a meeting held in Sydney in September 1843 it was decided that he be permitted to retain his wearing apparel and household furniture and that Mrs. Cohen be allowed to keep her 'trinkets'. Soon after he provided supper for a Bachelor's Ball held at George Yeomans' Northumberland Hotel. Although he was granted a licence for the Rose Inn in April 1844, in June 1844 Cohen announced he was leaving Maitland to take over the 'Saracen's Head Inn in Sydney, and the Rose Inn was advertised to be let. Perhaps one of the last festivities that Mr. Cohen organised at the Rose Inn was the Masonic ball. He had fitted up the billiard room elegantly for the occasion with Masonic emblems and an orchestra was engaged. Thirty to forty people attended who all enjoyed themselves very much 'on the light fantastic toe'. The supper was said to be in Mr. Cohen's usual style; everything plentiful, good, and tastefully arranged. The concluding dance was ushered in by the morning's light and the sound of the mail horn accompanied the parties to their homes.

A public dinner was held by the townsmen of Maitland as a testimonial of the respect they felt for Mr. Cohen who had been in the district for over 12 years. It was said that he had distinguished himself as an active and useful public man and that the value of his services in creating and keeping alive public opinion in the town and neighbourhood could not be over estimated. He was considered to be always willing to devote his ability and time to the promotion of measures tending to advance the prosperity of the district.

George Petitt

In December 1844 the publican's licence was granted to George Pettit, formerly of the Petitt Hotel in Castlereagh Street, Sydney.

In 1845 it was announced that considerable alterations were to be made to the 'Rose Inn' by a gentleman from Sydney who had taken over. The centre building was to be taken down and rebuilt with an additional story and to be brought forward.

In March 1845 the innkeeper of the Rose was fined 20/- for a breach of the 35th section of the Licensing Act when it was found he had not kept his lamps outside his house burning from evening till daylight. John Pownall was a servant at Rose Inn at this time. Also fined on this day was William James Slack, innkeeper at the Union Inn at the time but shortly to move the Rose.

William Slack

William Slack was publican at the Rose by 1846. He had previously held the licence for the Shamrock Inn at Black Creek.

In June 1846 William Slack was fined £5 for a breach of the licensing act when a constable was refused admittance to his house. He was absent from the premises for the evening when this took place. When Constable Rushton had occasion to call with a warrant for apprehension of W. Sumner in his hand, the door of the Rose was not opened to him for several minutes although he identified himself as a constable. He cold hear a great noise of people inside and glasses moving about. When the door was at last opened he found a number of drunken men and prostitutes within. William Slack testified that the offence had been committed entirely without his knowledge or concurrence as was also the admission of people to drink on the Sabbath especially bad characters. He assured the bench that the like should not occur again and that the tap keeper should be immediately discharged for his misconduct. The chief constable mentioned that there was another information against Slack for a similar offence. The Bench then informed William Slack that another charge would incur the full penalty of £20 with the possible loss of his licence.

William James McDonald

The Rose Inn in West Maitland was taken over by William James McDonald. He was granted a publican's licence in April 1848. He employed John Smith as a cook at the hotel at 8/- per week, however when Smith was absent over the Christmas period William McDonald refused to pay his wages. John Smith then refused to do any further work, although McDonald requested him to finish cooking the dinner, he refused. McDonald charged John Smith under the Masters & Servants act after this and John Smith was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment. He became one of the first inmates of the new Maitland gaol.

The Rose Inn, still occupied by William James McDonald was offered for sale by auction in July 1849.

Alfred Levien

Alfred Levien was granted the licence in April 1853 and 1854. When it was wrongly circulated that he had lost his publican's licence he placed the following notice in the Maitland Mercury:

Rose Inn and Family Hotel, Maitland - 100 one hundred puns reward, and no joking.

Whereas some (d) evil minded person, who wishes it was so, has circulated a report which has gone off, that I have Lost my licence; and whereas the same party must have taken a licence to use my name so mischievously:

I hereby give notice 'under the Rose' that the Rose Inn still flourishes, notwithstanding such malicious slander.

The factor is, it was only my unstable stable that the magistrates had a down upon, and down it has come accordingly.

Seriously I wish my friends would listen to no jokes - except they hear them at my house and I have offered the above reward to satisfy the public that I am not Publickly dead but alive and kicking as my traducers shall find out; and indeed even my stables will rise, this month like a Phoenix from its ashes.

To all and singular therefore of my very excellent cut friends I beg to notify I am still in the Best of Spirits and with a Table if not a stable, second to none in the colony...Alfred Levien
, Maitland Mercury 14 May 1853.