Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Woolpack Inn


Henry Bishop Butler was innkeeper at the Woolpack Inn in Murrurundi in 1847. Ten years previously he had been in partnership with John Anlaby in Morpeth. This partnership was dissolved and Anlaby carried on the Morpeth Hotel alone.

It was not unusual for innkeepers to be required to attend court. Henry Butler travelled from Murrurundi to Maitland at least twice in 1847. On 19th February he appeared as a witness in a court case in Maitland. George MacDonald who was employed by Butler as a waiter at his hotel also travelled to Maitland to testify. Thomas Sexton had been indicted for stealing a mare belonging to Richard Rourke. The horse was found in Butler's stable at the Inn.

Later in the year he was again in Maitland, this time with his wife Celia, for a court appearance on 14 September 1847 in the case of David Gwynn who was indicted for uttering a forged order with intent to defraud Butler [1]

In December 1846 Henry Butler was granted a publicans' licence for the Traveller's Home in Murrurundi and in December 1847 he took out an Auctioneer's licence for the district of Scone and Murrurundi [2]

Lewis Cohen

By 1848 Lewis Cohen had taken over the Woolpack Inn. In February a man calling himself John Logan stopped at Cohen's Inn. He was accompanied by two men who acted as his servants. He told Mr. Cohen that his father had a station in New England and that he had relatives at Dungog and Paterson, however Cohen began to be suspicious the next morning when the visitor was unable to write his name. It was found that the cheque he had given was invalid and he was soon placed under arrest. His name turned out to be William Duggan and he would later serve 3 years labour on the roads for his dishonesty.[3]

Lewis Cohen was granted a licence for the Woolpack again in the years 1854 to 1856. [4]

Henry Bishop Butler

By the 1860's Henry Bishop Butler had moved to Bowling Alley Point near Nundle where he ran an Inn with his wife Celia. In July 1865 he and his son Oswald were apprehended for the murder of Celia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 25 July 1865: -

One of the most frightful murders that has ever occurred in this part of the country was perpetrated at Bowling Alley Point, Peel River about twenty eight miles from Tamworth. It appears that a man named William Young (deceased's son in law) reported that Mrs. Butler, the wife of an innkeeper, and an old and well known resident at Bowling Alley Point, had been murdered some hours previously. In one of the rooms of the inn, lying on a single bed, the clothes on which were completely saturated with blood, the body of the unfortunate woman, quite lifeless and covered with stabs in almost every part. The body was dressed in the usual night dress. A deep wound was discovered on the let breast inflicted evidently by a long sharp knife, and another similar wound lower down on the same side just over the heart. Another on the left side of the neck and one between the shoulders. Altogether seventeen stab wounds were found.

Oswald Bishop was found guilty of the murder of his mother. Henry Bishop Butler was found not guilty of murder. He was afterwards tried as an accessory after the fact but found not guilty on that count also. He remained at Bowling Alley Point and was elected to the school board there in 1869.


1. Maitland Mercury 15 September1847

2. Maitland Mercury 4 December1847

3. Maitland Mercury 13 September 1848

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