Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Royal Inn


Henry Nowland and brothers Edward and William Nowland were pioneers of the Hunter region. They were sons of convicts Michael Nowland (per Scarborough 1790) and Elizabeth Richards. The brothers were said to have conveyed the first wheeled vehicle - a bullock dray - over the Liverpool Range. They had several squatting runs in the Liverpool Range district.

In the 1840's the Royal Hotel, situated in Bridge Street, Muswellbrook was owned by Henry Nowland who was the first resident and publican in Muswellbrook.

Henry Nowland also became one of the first Royal Mail contractors in the district and ran a two-horse mail cart three times a week between Singleton, Muswellbrook and Scone for £96 per annum.

He also established the Lady Mary Fitzroy Inn, previously known as the Lady Gipps Inn, at the junction of the Chain of Ponds and Saltwater Creek situated on the old New England Highway at Liddell


Henry Nowland was bailed up by bushrangers early in 1843. The Maitland Mercury reported the robbery:

The Scone and Murrurundi districts are now quiet, since Long Tom was taken; but I believe three armed bushrangers have made their appearance in the Hunter and Cassilis districts. One of them was seen near Muswellbrook, at a place called the Pig Holes; he bailed up Mr. Henry Nowland, the respectable owner of the Royal Hotel, Muswellbrook, took his horse, saddle bags and contents, with about 35s. in money, and then decamped. Mr. Allman, the police magistrate of Muswellbrook, came up directly after the robbery, and at once went in pursuit of the fellow. [1]

Governor Gipps

The Maitland Mercury reported the visit of Governor Gipps to Muswellbrook in November 1844....His Excellency, Lady Gipps, and suite, arrived in Muswellbrook from Singleton, via Jerry's Plains, on Tuesday, the 29th. an unusual excitement having prevailed among our good folk here in the expectation of such an extraordinary event, heightened by the uncertainty as to whether the illustrious visitor might be expected by the direct road from Singleton, or by way of Jerry's Plains. At about six p.m., he arrived by the latter road, having been met a considerable distance from the township by a numerous and highly respectable body of gentlemen, by whom he was escorted to the Royal Hotel, Mr. Nowland's ; who by the bye, deserves great credit for the superior manner in which he was able to entertain his Excellency, notwithstanding it had been understood that he intended to sleep that night at Aberdeen, seven miles off. [2]


Henry Nowland died at his residence in March 1863 aged 66 years and his wife Harriet (nee Farlow) took over the running of the Hotel.

Notes and Links

A Meeting of the committee appointed to prepare a petition for the incorporation of the town of Muswellbrook was held at Mrs. Nowland's Royal Hotel on Monday 2nd August 1869...... Maitland Mercury 3 August 1869


[1] Maitland Mercury 11 February 1843

[2] Maitland Mercury 23 November 1844