Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The White Hart Inn


Richard Ward was born 10 January 1800, son of Euphemia Somerville and Lawrence Ward. He was christened at St. Cuthbert's, Midlothian, Scotland 24 January 1800. [7]

Richard was employed as a ginger bread baker in Edinburgh when he was tried and convicted in December 1817 of housebreaking and sentenced to 14 years transportation. He was 5ft 8 3/4 inches in height with a ruddy and slightly pockpitted complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. He arrived in Australia on the convict ship Morley in 1818 aged 17.

He was assigned to Archibald Bell at Richmond at first however by 1826 had been granted a Ticket of Leave for the Newcastle district. [2]

By 1828 he was employed as an overseer by Thomas Parnell at Richmond, Patrick Plains and Luskintyre. He was also listed as a farmer employed by Mr. Bowen at Luskintyre in the 1828 Census.

Richard Ward married Anne Haine (or Ham) (Douglas) on 11 February 1833 in Sydney.[7] Anne was born in the colony in 1810 the daughter of George James Ham, a convict by the Royal Admiral and his wife Anne who arrived on the William Pitt.

A son, Richard was born to Richard and Ann Ward in 1829 followed by Euphemia in 1831, Isabella in 1832, Ann in 1836, Edward in 1846 and Elizabeth in 1848 [3]


In 1839 Richard purchased 2 acres of land at Muswellbrook (Allotment No. 1, Section 4). Purchase price was £30 and annual quit rent 1 farthing.[6]

Soon after purchase he built the White Hart Inn on his land which adjoined the St. Heliers' Estate and the town of Muswellbrook in Bridge Street. He held the licence for the White Hart Inn throughout the 1840's and most of the 1850's except in July 1843 in which he held the licence for premises known as the Stag's Head Inn (probably the same building) when he hosted a dinner for the friends of Richard Windeyer  -

"The dinner was for the supporters of Richard Windeyer after Windeyer was returned as the successful candidate for the representation of the county of Durham.

Present at the dinner were Charles Howell, Edmund Butler, William Partridge, Henry Pierce, James McCubbin and James Ward. Many speeches were given and Mr. Partridge recited poetry that he had composed himself which brought forth laughter and cheering preventing him from resuming his speech for some time.

At the conclusion of the dinner a toast was raised to Mr. Ward and it was hoped the Stag's Head would long flourish in Muswellbrook. Mr. Ward returned thanks telling the assembled gentlemen that he had done his best in catering for their comfort. At the conclusion of the dinner a ball was held and participants kept up with great spirit until 12 midnight when the company broke up highly delighted with the entertainments of the evening" [8]

The Royal Mail made a regular stop for breakfast at the White Hart Inn.

Richard Ward junior held the publicans' licence for the White Hart Inn in 1853.

William Eaton

William Eaton was granted the licence in 1857.

Many years later it was recalled that the White Hart Inn became known as Eaton's Hotel[4]. In 1863 a new brick building was constructed in front of the old wooden structure. This building served until 1929 when extensive renovations were undertaken. At this time (1929) the original Inn was pulled down and a two storey brick addition on the northern side of the brick Inn was built.

A new dining room was added 42 ft by 25ft replete with every modern convenience. Over the dining room were five new bedroom each with its own bathroom, lavatory and wash basins connected to the hot water service. There was to be a 8 x 7 cool room containing a modern Frigidaire chamber. The walls in the kitchen were tiled to a height of six feet and with new cupboards and sinks. The old kitchen was to become the servants quarters. Four garages were built at the rear of the hotel and the new bar was remodelled and extended with Queensland maple counters faced with terrazzo. When completed it was expected to be of an imposing character and be one of the most up-to date structures of its kind north of Sydney. [5]

Elizabeth Barclay

In 1899 Elizabeth Barclay held the licence. In 1904 the Muswellbrook Chronicle reported that Mrs. Barclay had sold the hotel to Mr. T. Scott who intended to conduct the hotel so as to maintain the good name held under Mrs. Barclay's tenure.

H.R. Flanders

In August 1904 Mr. H.R. Flanders who had been employed in the local Postal Department as a letter carrier for twelve years took over the charge of the hotel.

Notes and Links

1). William Ward, half-caste aboriginal whose guardians are Anne and Richard Ward, Innkeeper of Muswellbrook, was born about 1836 and baptised 25. 9.1848 Parish of Whittington (49/1106) Also baptised on this day was Elizabeth Emma, daughter of Richard and Ann Ward - Centre for indigenous Family History Studies


[1] State Archives NSW; Series: 14401; Item: [4/76-77]; Reel: 5059.. New South Wales, Australia, Certificates for Publicans' licences, 1830-1849, 1853-1860

[2] Sydney Gazette 1 February 1826

[3] New South Wales Births Deaths and Marriages

[4] Muswellbrook Chronicle 12 September 1924

[5] Muswellbrook17 May 1929

[6] State Records Authority of New South Wales; Registers of Land Grants and Leases; Series: NRS 13836; Item: 7/476; Reel: 2701

[7] Family

[8] Maitland Mercury 8 July 1843