Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Buck's Head Inn

West Maitland

The Buck's Head Inn may have been built by Maitland solicitor Henry I. Pilcher in the 1830's.

At the licensing meeting held at the Court of petty sessions in January 1844, Edward Richardson applied to have the licence of the Buck's Head Inn transferred from Charles Miller Clarke who held it at the time. The application was refused by the Bench.

William Tinson

William Tinson arrived with his wife and children on the immigrant ship Amelia Thompson in 1838.[1]

At Maitland in 1842 he was employed as a cooper in partnership in a brewery with Alexander Berrie. He was granted a publican's licence for the Buck's Head Inn in April 1844. He worked at his trade as a cooper at the rear of the Bucks Head.

In an article by Newcastle historian W.J. Goold in the Voice of the North in 1933, William Tinson's involvement was mentioned:

The next lodge to be formed was at West Maitland, where mainly through the exertions of Mr. William Tinson, the 'Loyal Good Design Lodge, No. 3933, was established in 1844. William Tinson, who died at Maitland in November, 1889, aged 87 years, arrived in the Colony in the thirties, and in 1844 he was the proprietor of the 'Buck's Head' Inn in High Street, West Maitland. It was here on September 12th that a meeting was held to consider the advisability of forming an Oddfellows' lodge. Twelve of those present signed a requisition to the Loyal Union lodge at Newcastle, asking them to secure a dispensation for a new lodge to be opened in Maitland. In due course the dispensation was granted, and Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master from Sydney, together with the leading officers and a number of brethren of the Newcastle lodge arrived at Morpeth by the steamer on Friday, October I8th, 1844. They were met by Mr. Tinson and his friends and driven to East Maitland, where a procession was formed; and, headed by the local band, they marched along the Maitland Road and High Street to the 'Buck's Head.' In the afternoon the new lodge was formally opened, followed by the usual dinner, harmony and speechifying. [2]

In April 1845 a wine and beer licence for the Buck's Head Inn was granted to William Tinson. In October 1846 he was fined 80/- for selling liquor after hours and allowing cards to be played.

In March 1847 he announced he was selling his household furniture and goods by auction prior to retiring from the trade. The licence for the Buck's Head Inn was transferred to John Kerrigan at this time.

John Kerrigan

John Kerrigan had previously held the licence for the Crown and Anchor at New Freugh near Singleton. The first few months at the Buck's Head were not easy. In May John Kerrigan appeared before the Bench after his wife supplied an aboriginal native with a shilling's worth of rum. Two constables passing by noticed the transaction and laid information. John Kerrigan admitted the charge but pleaded in extenuation that he was not present at the time himself or it should not have occurred. The Bench told him that he was answerable under licensing Act for the acts of his wife and that he must be aware of the penalty attending the giving or selling liquor to aboriginals. He was fined £5 pounds and costs.

Also in May, Mrs. Kerrigan had charged a young woman Sarah Johnson with stealing clothing. The case was later dismissed when the Bench found that Mrs. Kerrigan had purchased blankets from the woman. Soon after a lodger at the Inn was robbed of £4 and then a patron Mr. Trinder was robbed in July. In December the family had a narrow escape when one of the children, while going to bed moved the candle causing some clothing to catch fire, the flames rapidly extended to the bed curtains and clothing. One of the children gave an alarm and neighbours put out the fire, although not before the bed and all the clothing were destroyed.

Six months later Kerrigan announced that he was leaving the district. Household furniture; cane seated chairs, American Chairs, Cedar chairs, dining and other tables, hair cloth covered sofa couches chiffonier, chest drawers, pictures looking glasses, clock, fender and fire irons, bedsteads, wash hand stands, mattresses together with a varied assortment of kitchen utensils, Beer engine, kegs, horses and land in High Street were all to be auctioned on the 26th June. Also advertised for sale was a first rate Billiard table.

The Kerrigans moved to the White Conduit House at Larnach's Flat soon after however not before John Kerrrigan was involved in an unusual case in which he was accused of false imprisonment by Constable Boyle of the Maitland Police force and later ordered from Court by Edward Denny Day when he put forward his case. The Kerrigans remained at the White Conduit for only a short time before moving on.

William Price Wall

William Price Wall was the next to apply for a publican's licence for the Bucks Head Inn. William Price Wall arrived as a convict on the Ocean in 1823. In 1835 his ticket of leave was cancelled for gross prevarication before the Maitland Bench. Seven years later he was working as a tailor in Charles Street, Maitland. He chaired an emancipist's meeting at the Settlers Arms in West Maitland in 1843 and later that year he was advertising to sell his business prior to leaving the area.

In 1848 he was back in Maitland and applied for the publican's licence in May that year. This application was however refused by the Bench. (W.P. Wall was granted a Conditional Pardon in October 1849 and in November of that year he advertised two brick cottages in Charles Street for sale as he was leaving for the California gold fields. His infant son William aged 2 years 9 months died of cholera in San Francisco).

William Cheater

William Cheater who arrived on the Eleanor in 1831 transferred the licence to James King in December 1854.

Jane Carpenter held the licence for the Buck Head Inn in 1859.

The old building of the Buck's Head Inn was still standing in 1918. In an article in the Newcastle Morning Herald regarding High Street West Maitland the Buck's Inn was mentioned....Another old building opposite the post office was, as far back as 1846, the Buck's Head Inn. The majority of the old places could well be razed to the ground to permit of better and more up to date buildings. [3]

The Inn was demolished in 1926....An old landmark in High Street, erected in 1833 or 1834, it is believed by Mr. Henry I. Pilcher, father of Mr. C.E. Pilcher, K.C., is being demolished to make room for a motor garage. Part of the old building was licenced in the early forties as the Buck's Head Inn. The timber in the building mainly ironbark, is still sound, and the plastering done with pubbled loam was in a good state of preservation. [4]

Notes and Links

1). William Tinson went into ownership of the Burton Brewery with Mr. Clifford in 1847, and about this time appeared in Court after being charged with not having his name painted on his brewers' dray. After considerable discussion by the bench it was decided not to proceed with the case and the charge was dismissed. His partnership with Mr. Clifford was dissolved by mutual consent in May 1848 and an application for a new wine and beer licence for the Burton Inn, West Maitland was refused by the Bench in December 1848. By January 1849 Tinson had decided to leave Maitland for Singleton and he offered for sale by auction his household furniture and articles from the brewery.


[1] State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood New South Wales, Australia; Entitlement certificates of persons on bounty ships; Series: 5314; Reel: 1288

[2] The Voice of the North 10 April 1933

[3] Newcastle Morning Herald 13 May 1918.

[4] The Daily Telegraph 23 November 1926.