Hunter Valley Inns & Hotels

The Bush Tavern

Black Creek


John Bell Squire was proprietor of the Bush Tavern in 1834 and he remained there until 1836. He had previously (1831) held an auctioneer's license for Maitland.

Some of the convicts assigned to Squire in the early 1830's were 28 year old labourer Charles Powell (Nithsdale 1830), 23 year old ploughman John Buss from Sussex (Lady Harewood 1832) and 17 years old linen draper George Brown from London (Lady Harewood 1831).

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! (13)

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. (14)

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

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.

The license for the Inn was transferred to Simeon Cohen in 1837, however William Bowen remained in the district. He donated land at Anvil Creek to be used for a church and bred draught horses. 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. (15)

William Bowen's wife Elizabeth died 16 months later at Black Creek in December 1848 after a short, painful illness. (16)

Simeon Cohen became innkeeper in 1837 and he remained until 1840 when the license was taken out by Henry Kesterton.

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 (17).

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

George Lloyd took out the publican's license for the Bush Inn in 1845. He had previously been an agent for Captain Bourne Russell and in 1840 had purchased a business from James Kingsbury who was a wheelwright at Singleton (18). Perhaps a victim of the depression, by 1842 he was an insolvent storekeeper. (19) 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. (20) (21).

In September 1847 George Lloyd attended court in Maitland when George Harris was put on trial for passing forged cheques. Harris had given George Lloyd a forged cheque for his accommodation before disappearing out a window at the Inn in the early hours of the morning. (22) By the time of the trial George Lloyd had already left the Inn and the next Innkeeper, Thomas Raisbeck had taken over.

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 in the match and Raisbeck was required to send into Maitland for Dr. Michael McCartney. Charles Sandy 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. However during the dinner a tin box containing 50 was stolen from Raisbeck's bedroom. Charles Lappidge was suspected and arrested however was later found not guilty of the crime. (23)

Thomas Raisbeck took over the job of pound keeper at Black Creek from Edward Franks who had resigned (24)

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. (25)

He remained at the Bush Inn until his death in 1854.

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


(13) Maitland Mercury 10 April 1847

(14) Maitland Mercury 30 December1848

(15) Maitland 11 August 1847

(16) Maitland Mercury 9 January 1848

(17) Hunter River Gazette 18 December 1841

(18) Sydney Gazette  9 July 1840

(19) Hunter River Gazette 2 April 1842

(20) Maitland Mercury 25 July 1846

(21) Maitland Mercury 27 May 1846

(22) Maitland Mercury 29 September 1847

(23) Maitland Mercury 14 October 1848

(24) Maitland Mercury 6 December 1848

(25) Maitland Mercury 24 April 1847




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