Hunter Valley Inns & Hotels

The Commercial Hotel

West Maitland


John Warne Tucke was granted a publican's license for the Commercial Hotel in High Street in April 1847. In July he was one of two publicans fined for selling liquor after hours. Constable Rushton and Constable Solomon had first attended James Richard Muir's hotel where they found several people drinking and gambling. They then moved on the Tuck's Commercial Hotel where, entering through the back door to the parlour they found a dozen people, inhabitants of the town, with glasses of liquor before them. Tuck later testified in court that the only glass that was drawn after nine o'clock was for a lodger. The Bench stated that the Liquor Act imposed a penalty for liquor being drunk after nine o'clock and that it did not matter when it was drawn. John Tucke and James Muir were both fined 2 and 5/6- costs.

This fine did not deter John Tucke from serving alcohol after hours as in October 1847 he was before the bench again charged with having allowed ale to be consumed after nine and a second charge of refusing to admit Constables George Wood and George Hood into his house at 11.15pm. Richard Meadows, Mary Cranfield and William East were at the Commercial when the Constables arrived and their voices could be heard within. Constables Wood and Hood first went to the bar door, which opened into the street; the door was closed, however a light was seen. When the Constables announced themselves the voices ceased and the lights disappeared although Mr. and Mrs. Tuck could be heard talking in the passage inside. John Tuck was convicted of the charges and fined 40/- for each charge plus costs.

In February 1848 he was once again before the Bench for breaches of the Licensing Act. Richard Peach was running a billiards table at The Hotel at this time and several people were gathered in the billiards room when constables Rushton and Bradbury approached. Tuck was fined 40/- for allowing liquor to be served after 9p.m. when the constables observed him serve Alfred Mango a brandy; and 40/- for a breach on yet another night for allowing ginger beer to be consumed after nine o'clock.

William Wade applied for and was refused a publican's license in June 1848.

The license was obtained by William Drew and in July Mr. Drew announced he was taking over the Hotel.

Soon after this John Tuck appeared in court again charged under the Masters and Servants Act when ex employee James Haywood claimed he had not been paid his wages. However Mr. Tuck had kept his books up to date and when he produced them in Court it was found that Haywood had consumed a large amount of liquor which Tuck had fortunately kept note of.

William Drew's application for a license was refused in April and he left the Inn in June 1849 as he had 'decided to retire from business.' He sold his household furniture including cane seated chairs, cedar chairs, telescope table, sofas, chiffoniers, pictures, mirrors, bedsteads, mattresses, candlesticks, silver cutlery, kitchen utensils a beer engine, rum, brandy, lamps and bar tables. (William Drew took over the Wool Team Inn at East Maitland in March 1850 and was granted a license for the Lamb Inn in West Maitland in April 1851, however tried his luck at the gold fields soon after and did not return to Maitland until October.)

James Hayward was employed at the Commercial Hotel for 3/- per week in 1849 and Henry Cummins who arrived on the Mount Stewart Elphinstone in 1849 was employed as a cook in 1850 although he forfeited his ticket of leave in 1850 when he attempted to escape from the colony.

Thomas Thomas was granted a publican's license for the Commercial in May 1849.

George Henry Nettleton was granted the license in April 1854 and transferred the license to John Smith in December 1854.

John Warn Tucke was granted the license in 1859.




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