Henry Smith opened his house under the sign of the 'Bush Inn' in July 1849. His premises were roomy and commodious and the wines, ales and spirits first rate. The stabling department he considered second to none on that line of road and he could provide the best hay and corn with a groom committed to providing the greatest attention. To travelling teams his house was considered a most desirable place to stop; the Camping Ground facing the house and the bullocks and horses able to be secured in a large paddock and brought back free of charge in the morning, to suit the convenience of drivers 
In October 1851 Henry Smith was convicted of receiving stolen sheepskins belonging to William Tinson
and William Ivory. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
In an interesting turn of events, George Cohen
a well known and respected young man of the district was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment for attempting to persuade Tinson and Ivory not to charge Smith with receiving the stolen sheepskins. Twenty-eight friends and neighbours subscribed to an address expressing their respect and sympathy towards Cohen after his sentence, and he was given high character references by no less than Edward Denny Day
and John Bingle
. Soon after this the conviction of 'attempting to pervert the course of justice' was reversed by the unanimous decision of Judges of the Supreme Court.
By December 1852 Henry Smith had been released from prison, however the Inn was advertised to be let. It was described as being - 'Situated on the high road to the Northern Gold Fields
. The house - 2 front parlours, 7 bedrooms, tap, verandah room, brick kitchen and servants sleeping quarters, stock and slaughter yards, stabling all enclosed with a paling fence as well as an adjoining butcher's shop. 
 Maitland Mercury 14 July 1849
 Maitland Mercury 25 December 1852