Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Waterloo Inn

West Maitland

The Waterloo Inn was situated opposite the Stores of David Cohen on the corner of High and Sparke streets, West Maitland. The site was nearby the hut of one of Maitland's very old residents, William O'Donnell.

John Wilkinson

John Wilkinson was the proprietor of the Waterloo in the 1840's. John Wilkinson had been a member of the Royal Artillery before exchanging for the 1st regiment of the King's Life Guards. He served both on the Peninsula and at Waterloo, where he was wounded. He came to New South Wales as a member of the Veteran Corps, and became entitled to a grant of land.

His son Alexander was born at Bathurst in 1826. The family moved to Maitland in 1833 where John took up his grant, land that passed to Alexander and remained in his hands for many years. John Wilkinson was employed as lock-up keeper at Maitland in 1834.

In 1843 a brewery was established by Gavin Ralston in premises adjoining the Waterloo Inn. [1]

In an advertisement for the sale of two allotments of land in West Maitland in 1846, the Waterloo Inn was mentioned - Allotment 2, bounded by the property of Mr. Wolffe, in Edye and Abbott-streets; being part of a parcel of land granted to (William) O'Donnell, and conveyed to Mr. Edward Sparke, and situated at the rear of the " Waterloo Inn." The above allotments are capable of great improvements, being in the centre of West Maitland, and a great trade carried on in the immediate neighbourhood. [2]

Nathan Joseph's premises adjoined the Inn in 1847

In 1847 His Excellency Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy visited the Hunter River district in February. He arrived in Newcastle on Tuesday, the 2nd, and came on to Morpeth by steamer next day, whence he was escorted to East Maitland by a large cavalcade. He held a levee at the Northumberland Hotel during the day, when he was presented with numerous of addresses. In the evening he was given a dinner in the Courthouse. Next day he visited various places of interest in West Maitland. On passing over the Long Bridge he was shown the spot where it was intended to erect the Maitland Hospital. Returning over the bridge he visited the temporary hospital, where he was met by the treasurer (Mr. Isaac Gorrick), Dean Lynch, Messrs. Green, Bourne Russell, McClelland, and other gentlemen who were then taking a prominent part in the advancement of the hospital. His Excellency, at the request of Dean Lynch, became patron of the institution.

In passing the Waterloo Inn, his Excellency, who was a Waterloo man, noticed the sign, and Mr. Day informed him that an old Waterloo man resided there. The Governor immediately sent for Mr. Wilkinson, proprietor of the inn, and entered very kindly and familiarly into conversation with him respecting the events of that memorable day. Taking Mr. Wilkinson with him in his suite to
Yeomans's hotel, his Excellency did him the honour of inviting him to lunch with his private party. [3]

Throughout the 40's, John Wilkinson kept the Inn going although he must have been almost blind as by 1849 he was rendered completely blind from cataracts. His sight was restored to him by the surgical skill of Mr. Cartwright in 1849 and Wilkinson in thanking Mr. Cartwright commented that he could read and write again and 'admire the beauties of nature in his garden'. He would have been able to admire the large carpet (diamond) snake that was found coiled in a branch of a willow tree in his garden in 1852. It was 7'9 long. [4]

Despite many years of conducting the Inn, he came very close to losing the licence in 1852 when he was convicted and fined for assaulting Constable McCabe after an altercation about McCabe's right to enter a private dwelling. The issue of his licence was delayed a week and then eventually restored to him. However he was 62 years of age by this time and a few months later the licence for the Waterloo was taken out by his friend, storekeeper Henry Collier. [5]

John Wilkinson died at Maitland on Easter Sunday morning 8th April 1855 of chronic bronchitis. He was aged 66 and described as an old and respected inhabitant of Maitland [6]

Henry Collier

Henry and Norah Collier's wedding reception took place at the Waterloo in 1846. Henry was employed as a warehouseman at Cohen's store in 1851. He was a grocer in High Street in 1852, before taking over the license for the Waterloo Inn in 1852

Alexander Wilkinson

Alexander Wilkinson took out the licence in April 1853 - 1854 [7]

Richard Jones

Richard Jones was granted the licence in April 1859

Edward Bignell

In 1864 the License was transferred from Edward Bignell to Patrick Darcy [8]

Patrick Darcy

In 1865 Patrick Darcy advertised to let the Waterloo Inn, presently occupied by himself [9]

The name was changed to the Currency Lass Hotel and under that sign was run by various licensees until 1903.

Old Buildings

The Maitland Daily Mercury reported on the removal of the old building in August 1903 -

At present, workmen are engaged pulling down the old Currency Lass Hotel, at the eastern end of High-street. It will be replaced by a brick structure. Originally the building had only a ground floor, a story was added to it about the time the old Victoria Theatre was built, so that, presumably, it should be in keeping with its more pretentious neighbour. About 1837 or 1838, Mr. John Wilkinson, father of Mr. Alexander Wilkinson, kept the place under the name of the Waterloo inn. In later years, the building was only a dwelling-house ; then the late Mr. John Patrick became possessed of it, and it was again licensed, and run by him as a hotel. Since those days there have been different licensees of the old place, until now it has been decided that it must give place to a more up-to-date structure. The old house has witnessed many stirring scenes and changes in Maitland, from the days when all traffic with the north was by road, and teamsters gathered in large numbers in the town ; when houses were few and far between in High street, and that thoroughfare was practicably impassable in bad weather between it and Devonshire-street. [10]

Notes and Links

State Library of Victoria - Map of Maitland


[1] Maitland Mercury 16 December 1843

[2] Maitland 4 November 1846

[3] Maitland Mercury 16 December 1893

[4] Maitland Mercury 23 October 1852

[5] Maitland Mercury 8 September 1852

[6] Maitland Mercury 14 April 1855

[7] Certificates for Publicans Licenses. State Archives NSW; Series: 14403; Item: [7/1503-1504]; Reel: 1237

[8] Maitland Mercury 11 February 1864

[9] Maitland Mercury 23 September 1865

[10] Maitland Daily Mercury 6 August 1903