Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Bush Tavern

Black Creek

John Bell Squire held an auctioneer's license for the Maitland district in 1831. He was proprietor of the Bush Tavern in the years 1834 to 1836.

On leaving the Bush Tavern, John Bell Squire moved to Warkworth where he established a farm - successful if it can be judged by the melon he grew there in 1847 which was four feet round and weighing 66lbs! [1]

John Squire worked to establish an annual agricultural show in the district and as secretary of the Church Committee in 1845, he organised tenders for 40,000 bricks to be supplied for the Warkworth Church. He sometimes rode his horse into Maitland to purchase goods. In 1848 he stopped at a public house on his return journey, leaving his new purchases - calico material, print, gambroon and tea rolled up and fastened on his horse. While he was inside the Inn the goods were stolen by John Butler who later served 12 months in gaol for the theft. [2]

John Bell Squire was married to Maria, the daughter of Dr. Thomas Parmeter.

William Bowen

In 1836 the Bush Inn was taken over by William Bowen who already owned land in the area. He had leased 830 acres in March 1833 and was granted title deeds to 100 acres of land in December 1835.

William Bowen remained in the district after leaving the Inn in 1837. He donated land at Anvil Creek to be used for a church and bred draught horses. William Bowen's young son Thomas, was burned while trying to rescue his companion whose clothes had caught fire when they were playing near burning timber opposite the Bush Inn. Thomas was unable to save his friend, 7 year old William Barndon, who died soon after. Nearly all the residents of Black Creek attended the funeral of William Barndon, who was a special favourite in the district. [3]

William Bowen's wife Elizabeth died 16 months later at Black Creek after a short, painful illness. [4]

Simeon Cohen

The license for the Inn was transferred to Simeon Cohen in 1837. He remained until 1840. By 1841 Simeon Cohen had established an agency in Maitland where he sought patronage from proprietors and stockholders of the Hunter region. He advertised to hire servants, ship wool, supply rations, load drays and transact business in the absence of the principals [5].

Henry Kesterton

Henry Kesteron took over by 1840 and remained until 1844 when he moved to the Crown Inn at Anvill Creek.

George Lloyd

George Lloyd next took out the publican's license for the Bush Inn. He had previously been an agent for Captain Bourne Russell and in 1840 purchased a business from James Kingsbury who was a wheelwright at Singleton [6]. He suffered financially in the depression however his financial status recovered and by 1845 he was proprietor of the Bush Inn. He was fined in May and July of 1846 for selling liquor on Sundays and after hours. [7].

Thomas Raisbeck

Thomas Raisbeck was granted a publican's license in April 1847. In July of that year a violent fight took place outside the Inn when Laurence Cowan, a 'powerful fighting man' succumbed to provocation from drunken Charles Sandy to fight. Charles Sandy was seriously injured and later died. By June 1848 Thomas Raisbeck had decided to leave the hotel business. He held a farewell dinner at the Bush Inn that was attended by many people. Thomas Raisbeck took over the job of pound keeper at Black Creek from Edward Franks who had resigned [8]

Thomas Balden Cox

The next innkeeper at the Bush Tavern was Thomas Baldon Cox. Thomas Balden Cox was granted a publicans license for the Bush Inn in July 1848. He had previously been innkeeper at the New Inn at Black Creek, the Forbes Hotel in Singleton from 1843 - 1845 and at the Queen Victoria Inn in Day Street East Maitland in 1847.[9] He remained at the Bush Inn until his death in 1854.

John Shanahan

In April 1854 John Shanahan was granted the publican's license.


[1] Maitland Mercury 10 April 1847

[2] Maitland Mercury 30 December1848

[3] Maitland 11 August 1847

[4] Maitland Mercury 9 January 1848

[5] Hunter River Gazette 18 December 1841

[6] Sydney Gazette 9 July 1840

[7] Maitland Mercury 25 July 1846

[8] Maitland Mercury 6 December 1848

[9] Maitland Mercury 24 April 1847