Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Victoria Inn


In 1938 an article written by Newcastle historian W. J. Goold gave a history of the buildings and businesses that had once lined the streets of Watt Street, Newcastle :

FROM King Street corner to the water front there were several famous old inns, including McGreavy's, the Albion, Caledonia, California, Victoria, Commercial and Ship Inns.

McGreavy's was on the site of the later surgery of Dr. John Harris, and was established in the twenties. It was kept many years by James and Margaret (Peggy) McGreavy, and was a noted port of call for men from the old windjammers. It was a daughter of the McGreavy's who married John Nixon Brunker and went to live in a little cottage near the present site of Howard Smith's offices, Here, on April 27, 1832 was born a son who was destined to become a Minister of the Crown and a leading colonial statesman, Mr. James Brunker.

James McGreavy held the license for the Victoria Inn until he died in September 1846 aged 60 [1].

James Croft

On the occasion of Sir Charles Fitzroy's visit to the Hunter in 1847, James Croft was innkeeper at the Queen Victoria[2].

A dinner was organised by the inhabitants of Newcastle to honour the Governor. They decided that the 'restaurateur of Newcastle', Mr. McGregor should provide the dinner and dessert and the committee would purchase the wines which it was expressly understood were to be first rate. £50 was collected towards the spread within three hours after the meeting. There was to be no distinction of persons - the 'clergy, professional gentlemen and tradesmen' would all be given the opportunity of meeting her Majesty's representative. The dinner was to take place at the large banqueting room that had recently been erected at Croft's Hotel. The room was capable of receiving from eighty to ninety guests at dinner[3].

Margaret McGreavy

In April 1847 Margaret McGreavy was landlady of the Queen Victoria Inn when she was robbed by Stephen Jervis, a prisoner of the crown attached to the steam dredge. Margaret had returned to her bedroom from the bar to get change for a note when she observed the window open. When she saw the shadow of a man against the wall she called out. Her servant girl Sarah Hill, a 'bouncing good tempered Irish girl' heard her mistress 'screech' and grabbed hold of Jervis as he climbed from the window and stuck to him 'tooth and nail'. Stephen Jervis was found to have stolen a brooch and papers and was later sentenced to 12 months in irons by magistrates Major Richard Furlong and Major James Henry Crummer [4].

In May 1847 a man named Arrup was brought to the Police office in Newcastle charged with being an idle and disorderly person. He had been showing off sleight of hand tricks at the Victoria Inn when the attention of the Chief constable was attracted by the 'noise occasioned by his evolutions'. He was involved in an altercation with a lady of whom he had borrowed 5/- and which he had forgotten to return. The landlady of the Victoria Inn indignantly denied that he lodged at her hotel and he was taken into custody and later sentenced to 1 month in prison [5].

In 1850 the Victoria Inn was advertised for sale:

'NOTICE: A more certain plan of making a fortune than going to California! Let any respectable man, who understands the proper method of keeping an hotel, and knows how to be civil and attentive to his customers, take that spacious house in Watt Street, in the city of Newcastle long known as the Victoria and latterly as Farquharson's hotel. In addition to the drawing, sitting and bedrooms there is a magnificent ball room in which the citizens had the honor of entertaining his Excellency Sir Charles Fitzroy the governor of the colony on his visit to this the first watering place in the colony.'

Margaret McGreavy still held the licence for the Inn in 1858. In November of that year the Victoria Inn and the Commercial Inn were two of the buildings destroyed in the most disastrous fire Newcastle had ever seen.

Margaret McGreavy died in 1865 aged 68 years.

Notes and Links

1). Margaret McGreavey arrived on the convict ship Elizabeth in 1818

2). James McGreavey arrived on the convict ship Chapman in 1817

3). James Croft arrived on the convict ship Lady Castlereagh in 1818 and was at one time goal keeper at the Newcastle gaol

4). Colonial Military Officers


[1] Maitland Mercury 23 September 1846

[2] Maitland Mercury 6 February 1847

[3] Maitland Mercury 23 January 1847

[4] Maitland Mercury 10 April 1847

[5] Maitland Mercury 1 May 1847