East Lambton Colliery

Often historical photographs feature a successful person, event or building. But sometimes an old photograph is a snapshot of failure. Such is the case with the East Lambton Colliery. Somewhat confusingly this colliery was not located in East Lambton, but in New Lambton (near present day Novocastrian Park), on land owned by the Waratah Coal Company.

The mine was worked under the tribute system, where a large mining company having extracted all the easily won coal, would lease their mine to a smaller third party. The lease holder would then attempt to make a profit from the remaining coal by cutting costs, usually by reducing miners’ wages. Depending on where your political sympathies lay, this was viewed as either a good or evil arrangement.

Because of the constant need to cut costs, collieries run under the tribute system tended to face constant troubles. East Lambton was no exception. In its short life between 1888 and 1894 there were disputes about unpaid wages, court cases over subcontractors, and arguments about leases and ownership.

The mine also laboured under physical difficulties, with issues of flooding and having to dig shafts through harder than expected rock. All this led to a rather shambolic and perilous workplace. A close inspection of Ralph Snowball’s photo shows an untidy scene of rubbish, machinery and materials strewn all over the place. There was a fatality in 1891 when a large metal pipe fell down a shaft and struck a miner.

The colliery proved to be unprofitable and closed in January 1895, and the land in the area remained vacant and undeveloped for the next 50 years. Following World War 2, new housing subdivisions quickly and completely covered all trace of the former troubled colliery.

The legacy of the troubled East Lambton pit can perhaps best be summed up in the final words of the Newcastle Herald and Miners’ Advocate report on its abandonment …

“The closing of the colliery will not be felt.”

East Lambton Colliery in 1892. Photo by Ralph Snowball. NSW State Archives and Records.
Suburban serenity now covers the site of the troubled East Lambton Colliery. © 2020 Google. Image Landsat / Copernicus Image © 2021 Maxar Technologies

The article above was first published in the February 2021 edition of The Local.


Additional Information

The Tribute System

The tribute system of working mines and the attitude of the miners’ union to it, is nicely summarised in this 1887 article from The Daily Telegraph …

At a special meeting of miners’ delegates held to-day, at which 14 lodges were represented, it was decided to hold an aggregate meeting of the miners of this district at Waratah on the 16th inst,. to take into consideration the tribute system and other grievances existing in this district. This is owing to the unsatisfactory reply given by Mr Binney, secretary of the Associated Coalowners, to the request of the officers of the Miners’ Union for a conference with the masters’ executive. The tribute system, which the miners consider is a growing evil in the district, consists in the colliery proprietors letting out portions of their estate to persons other than themselves, who endeavor to cut down the price paid for hewing coal at the associated collieries. The miners consider the system detrimental to their interest, and look upon the masters as in directly, if not directly, responsible for reducing the wages.

The Daily Telegraph, 8 July 1887.

Colliery Location

The location of the East Lambton Colliery was difficult to pin down, as I have not found any map that unambiguously identifies the site. I have been able to ascertain the location by drawing conclusions from a number of separate pieces of information, in particular, information on land sales and ownership. The key clues are:

  1. The mine was located in the New Lambton Municipality. (See notice about council rates being in arrears in November 1893.)
  2. In September 1893 the mine was on land owned by the Waratah Coal Company.
  3. In May 1896 the Caledonian Coal Company unsuccessfully appealed the municipal rates for “enclosed land, site of the old East Lambton Colliery”, indicating they were the current owners.
  4. The pit was sunk “for the purpose of working a block of coal left by the New Lambton Company.

In the Historical Lands Records Viewer, Vol-Fol 947-59A shows an area of 357 acres in New Lambton area, owned by the Waratah Coal Company in 1889.

Overlaying this area (yellow) and the outline of New Lambton Municipality (cyan) into Google Earth, shows us the intersection of the two areas where the East Lambton Colliery must be located.

The image below shows intersecting area in green. To the west, outlined in white are the mining leases of the New Lambton Coal Company.

From Vol-Fol 947-59A, following the chain of title leads to Vol-Fol 1096-70 and 1485-171, which shows a sale in July 1896 of

  • a roughly triangular piece of land, on the border between Waratah Coal Company mining lease and New Lambton Coal Company mining lease
  • plus the railway easement for the Raspberry Gully line
  • plus a thin railway easement to the triangular block of land
From Vol-Fol 1096-70
Vol-Fol 1485-171

The shape of the triangular block plus the railway easement can still be seen 48 years later in a 1944 aerial photograph.

Close up of triangular area of land. There is round feature in the middle which might be the sunken depression of the former shaft.
Purchase of land in 1896 by Caledonian Coal Co, overlaid into Google Earth.

The location of the triangular area of land resolves what at first appears to be contradiction in the newspaper reports – that the mine was on Waratah Coal Company land, but extracting New Lambton Company coal. Being on the border, the surface operations and shaft were on Waratah Coal Company land, but would give access to New Lambton Company coal by tunnelling westwards. This also explains the reference on 27 July 1889 that flooding of the workings “may find its way into the Lambton Company’s workings”, because the Lambton Company workings were to the west of the New Lambton Company workings.

This site also matches the 1892 photograph, in which we can see the wooded hill (now Blackbutt Reserve) of the Sottish Australian Mining Company’s Lambton mineral lease in the background, and a rail line in the foreground.

There is one slight anomaly in the data placing the East Lambton Colliery in this location – the Caledonian Company’s appeal against Municipal rates was in May 1896, but the transfer of land to them is dated July 1896. My guess is that the rates were in arrears, and that the Caledonian Company had to pay the rates owing before the land purchase was allowed to proceed.

The rapid suburban development in post World War 2 years in the area of the former East Lambton Colliery, is starkly seen when comparing a 1944 aerial photograph (left) with a 1954 aerial photograph (right).

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
4 Jul 1888"WANTED, a BLACKSMITH, used to colliery work. Apply to WILLIAMS & GRIFFITHS, East Lambton Colliery."
28 Aug 1888East Lambton Colliery is being worked under tribute to the New Lambton proprietors by Mr. M. Yates and party "who are also contractors for supplying the G. N. Railway with coal for the mail and passenger trains."
27 Jul 1889"Messrs. Griffiths and Williams, lessees of the East Lambton Colliery, have been for some time past engaged in pumping the water from a shaft adjacent to their mine, and had it nearly cleared out, but the heavy rains have entirely flooded it again, which is a serious loss to the firm. A pitfall also was caused near the main road, which has allowed the water to flow more freely into the old workings of Mr. Yates' colliery, and it is the opinion of a well-known miner that this water may find its way into the Lambton Company's workings."
3 Sep 1889"TENDERS will be received up to September 7th, for REMOVAL OF TWO (2) COAL SCREENS and REERECTING. Plans and particulars apply T. G. GRIFFITHS, Colliery Manager, East Lambton Coal Company, New Lambton."
30 Oct 1889"John Prout sued Isaac Robinson for the sum of £7 10s as wages for labour done. Defendant admitted the debt, but alleged his inability to pay until he received payment for certain work done in sinking a shaft at East Lambton Colliery."
9 Dec 1889
6 Dec 1889
Court cases involving the East Lambton Colliery - unpaid wages, wrongful dismissal.
20 Jan 1890Mining rules for East Lambton Colliery published in Government Gazette.
15 Feb 1890"For some considerable time past Mr. T. G. Griffiths has been engaged driving in the East Lambton colliery towards the old workings of the Waratah Company, in order to tap the large accumulation of water therein, and a few days ago most successfully succeeded in his undertaking. The result will be that a large quantity of coal will soon be obtainable from both Waratah and New Lambton collieries."
3 Jan 1891
2 Jan 1891
Fatality in the old Blakey Shaft, being reopened as an airshaft for the East Lambton Colliery.
5 Jan 1891Inquest into the fatality at the Blakey shaft.
1 Feb 1892"A dispute has occurred at the East Lambton Mine between the manager and miners in regard to the remuneration for work."
6 Feb 1892East Lambton Colliery now under tribute to D. Fairfull, J. McReth, W. Bunn, and B. Austin, from Mr Griffith.
30 Mar 1892East Lambton Colliery was always teetering on the brink of bankruptcy … "ON FRIDAY, the first day of April, 1892, at noon, unless the warrant of fieri facias herein be previously satisfied, the Sheriff will cause to be sold by public auction at the East Lambton Colliery, The PLANT, &c., of a Colliery, comprising Coal Waggons, Pumps, Pit Horses, &c., &c."
2 Apr 1892
1 Apr 1892
"The East Lambton Colliery was sold by auction, by command of the Supreme Court, yesterday, for the sum of £400, Mr. Johnstone, of South Wallsend, being the purchaser."
9 Apr 1892"The trouble at East Lambton Colliery is not yet settled. Mr. Griffith, despite the sale of the colliery to Mr. Johnston, claims ownership. While the parties are fighting for their right to the colliery the miners are idle and unable to get the hard-earned money due to them."
13 Sep 1892"THE East Lambton Colliery started yesterday. About 20 men were employed"
7 Aug 1893"East Lambton pit was sunk about five years ago for the purpose of working a block of coal left by the New Lambton Company. Almost since the day a start was made to put down the shaft there has been a continuance of disputes and no end of trouble, and the present is not the first time the workmen have had to wait for their money."
15 Aug 1893"The miners of the East Lambton pit have not received the pay due to them on the 4th instant, and have instructed a solicitor to take legal steps for its recovery." The Miner's Association, being opposed to the tribute system, were not very sympathetic towards the unpaid miners, viewing them as strike breakers.
29 Aug 1893The bankruptcy Sequestration Order made in 1892 against proprietors of East Lambton Colliery (Griffiths, Huntley, Trickett, Russell, Campbell) was annulled, "the costs, charges, and expenses of Lancelot Threlkeld Lloyd" having been paid.
26 Sep 1893"Operations at the East Lambton Colliery are once more suspended …"

The Waratah Company having leased the mine to John Johnston of Cardiff colliery, who then sub-let the mine to others, and then a disagreement arose with the Waratah Company, who then locked the workers out.

"Matters at the colliery have been from a public standpoint in a greatly complicated state for a considerable time, and it is a most difficult question to solve as to who has the right to the colliery."
6 Oct 1893
4 Oct 1893
At a New Lambton Council meeting attention was called "to the dangerous state of the enclosure of the old Blakey shaft. Children made a practice of going inside and throwing stones down the shaft." The council decided to "write to the lessees of East Lambton Colliery, asking them to protect the shaft."
17 Nov 1893
15 Nov 1893
At New Lambton Council meeting a letter was received "from Messrs. Sparke and Millard, in regard to recovery of the East Lambton Colliery rates."
9 Apr 1894"THE Goods and Chattels of the above Defendant, Thomas S. Huntley, at the East Lambton Colliery, will be sold by public auction on MONDAY"
25 Jan 1895"EAST LAMBTON COLLIERY. This colliery has been abandoned. The pumps and rails are removed from the pit. The machinery is being taken to pieces and removed to South Waratah Colliery. During the past year only a few men were employed, and the last few weeks only three or four men were engaged. The seam worked in the pit was very hard, which, aided by other difficulties, did not allow of it being remunerative. The colliery was let to different tribute parties. The closing of the colliery will not be felt."
14 May 1896At the New Lambton Municipal Appeals Court, rates were confirmed for "Caledonian Coal Company, enclosed land, site of the old East Lambton Colliery, annual value £10."

Lambton Hotels

This page aims to provide a comprehensive reference of hotels in Lambton from 1864.

  1. Lambton Arms Hotel
  2. Gold Miners’ Arms Hotel
  3. Northumberland Hotel
  4. The Rose, Thistle, & Shamrock Inn
  5. Rose and Crown Inn
  6. Prince of Wales Hotel
  7. Red Lion Inn
  8. Lancashire Arms Hotel/Welcome Home Inn
  9. Marquis of Lorne Hotel
  10. Pine Apple Hotel
  11. Jesmond Hotel
  12. Royal Hotel
  13. Coal Miners’ Home Hotel
  14. Miners’ Arms Hotel
  15. Royal Oak Hotel
  16. Race Horse Inn
  17. Northern Star Hotel
  18. Commercial Hotel (1)
  19. Exchange Hotel
  20. Marquis of Midlothian
  21. Commercial Hotel (2)
  22. Reservoir Hotel

This list covers hotels that were located in the area of Lambton Municipal Council (1871-1938), which included parts of North Lambton and Jesmond.

Area of Lambton Municipality (1871-1938)

The map below shows the location of Lambton Hotels. Hotels that are still operating are shown in green, historical hotels are shown in red. I have used the ‘drinking glass’ icon, where the location of a hotel is known, and a generic placemarker icon if the location is uncertain or unconfirmed.

Timeline of Lambton Hotels, showing a peak of 16 hotels in 1881.

In documenting the history of hotels it is important to understand the roles of owners, lessees and licensees. The hotel owner is the person (or company) that owns the land and buildings upon the land. The owner may then lease the buildings to another person (or company) for the purpose of running a business such as a hotel. The hotel licensee is the person who is granted a liquor license by the government and is responsible for adhering to the liquor regulations. Sometimes the owner and licensee are the same person, but sometimes the owner, lessee and licensee are three different entities. For example, in 1893 the Reservoir Hotel was owned by John Cox, leased to John and James Toohey, and the licensee was William Rutherford.

The history of hotels can also be confusing in that not only can the same hotel can different names over time, but sometimes different hotels can have the same name. For example, there were two different hotels in Lambton called the Commercial Hotel, one operating from 1880 to 1882, and a different hotel operating from 1888 to 2018. Sometimes a hotel name and license can be transferred to a different geographical location. For example, the Miners’ Arms Hotel first opened at the corner of Howe and Morehead Streets in 1887, but moved to the adjacent block of land in Howe St in 1881.

In the list below I have an entry for each hotel operating at a specific location. The hotels appear in order of the year they were first opened. Where a hotel has had multiple names, I have used in the heading the name that the hotel was known by for the majority of its operation.

A further complication is that the variant spellings of the names of licensees. Where there are multiple spellings of a name and the correct spelling is uncertain, I have include all the variant spellings, separated by a slash character. e.g. “Lackey/Leckey”. Note that in the lists of licensees I have only included names up to about 1970, as published information about licensees after this date becomes sparse.

A helpful resource in my research for this article was Appendix 2 of “The Story of Lambton” from the Newcastle Family History Society. However I did find a number of errors, omissions and confusions in their list of hotels and licensees. My intent for this page is to build on the work of that Appendix and provide a more accurate and comprehensive reference for the hotels and hotel licensees of Lambton.

Having said that, I am conscious that this list probably contains errors, omissions and confusions of my own, and so I would welcome any feedback or additional information that would improve this page.

A note about Colonial Wine Licenses:

Appendix 2 of “The Story of Lambton” includes an entry for “Lambton Hotel”, and then lists a number of holders of a Colonial Wine License. I have not included these in the list below, as a colonial wine license was not a hotel in the commonly recognised sense of a place to buy and consume alcohol, and provide accommodation. A Colonial Wine License merely provided for the retail sale of locally produced wines and ciders, under very limited circumstances, with the holder of a license able to …

… sell and dispose of on the premises in such license specified wine cider or perry the produce of fruit grown within any Australasian colony in quantities not exceeding two gallons and not containing a greater proportion than twenty-six per cent, of proof spirits but only between the hours of seven in the morning and eleven at night.

Sec 26 of Licensing Act of 1882.

Lambton Arms Hotel (1864-1920)

Located on the south west corner of Pearson and Grainger Streets.

Lambton Arms Hotel circa 1914-1918. From “The Story of Lambton”, page 177.
Lambton Arms Hotel 1904. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Robert Cairns purchased lots 13 and 14 of Section K in the Lambton township in June 1864. (See Vol-Fol 5-115). This was the very first block of land to be sold in the town.

A hotel building must have been quickly erected, for on 29 October 1864, the Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News reported that …

A ball and supper was given at the “Lambton Arms,” by the landlord, Mr. Cairns, on Tuesday evening, at which a great number of persons were present, and enjoyed themselves.

The hotel was badly damaged by a fire in January 1888, but quickly replaced by a new wooden building by April 1888.

The hotel traded until 1920 when it was closed, and the license transferred to the Hotel Mayfield in January 1921. A newspaper article in 1938 refers to the Lambton Arms hotel building as having been “recently demolished”.

The location of the former Lambton Arms Hotel, January 2021.

Licensees

  1. Robert Cairns (1864 to 1879)
  2. Joseph Garrett/Garratt (1880 to July 1883)
  3. Andrew Wilson (July 1883 to 1884)
  4. Henry Frost (1885 to 1887)
  5. J Tennyson (1887? to 1888)
  6. John Sample (1888 to July 1889)
  7. Dorothy Cairns (July 1889 to 1892)
  8. J R Lackey/Leckey (1893)
  9. Thomas Weaver (1893 to 1901)
  10. William George King (1902 to 1910)
  11. James J Hayes (August 1911 to December 1911)
  12. John Sample (1912 to 1913)
  13. Edwin Cox (1914 to May 1919)
  14. George Hudson (May 1919 to December 1920)
  15. Maurice Sussman (December 1920 to January 1921)

Gold Miners’ Arms Hotel (1865-1921)

More information can be found in my article on Stoker’s Hotel.

The hotel was located on the north east corner of Elder and Grainger Streets and had a number of names in its history. From 1865 to 1915 it was variously known as …

  • Gold Miners’ Arms
  • Gold Miners’ Home
  • Gold Diggers’ Arms
  • Gold Miners’ Home Hotel
  • Miners’ Home Hotel
  • Gold Miners’ Hotel

Trying to put dates to these names has proved to quite tricky as it seems the names were used interchangeably and inconsistently. Sometimes the hotel name as it appears in the Government Gazette doesn’t match what appears in newspaper articles. It’s possible that the proliferation of names was a contributing factor to the hotel often being simply referred to as “Stoker’s Hotel”, even long after the first licensee John Stoker ceased to run the hotel in 1885.

In 1915 the name was changed to the “Central Hotel”.

Stoker’s Hotel 1884-1885. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

John Stoker purchased Lot 1 of Section E of Lambton township in September 1865 (Vol-Fol 19-190), and was granted a publican’s license in November 1865.

Lot 1 of Section E, Lambton township, purchased by John Stoker. Vol-Fol 19-190.
1890s Hunter Water Board map showing the location of the Gold Miners Arms Hotel.

In 1921 the hotel, at that time operating as the Central Hotel, was closed when its licence was revoked by the Licenses Reduction Board.

The location of the former Gold Miners’ Arms Hotel, January 2021.

Licensees

  1. John Stoker (1865 to November 1885)
  2. William Ralph (November 1885 to 1889)
  3. Mary Ann Ralph (1890 to 1891?)
  4. William Baker (1891 to 1894)
  5. Edward J Stoker (1895 to 1897?)
  6. James Jamieson (1898 to 1899)
  7. Cornelius O’Hea (1899 to 1902)
  8. Arthur S Eastmuir (1903)
  9. John Edward Ring (1903 to July 1905)
  10. William A McMichael (July 1905 to July 1907)
  11. William Wood (July 1907 to 1912?)
  12. Charles Nelson (1913? to July 1914)
  13. George Malbon (July 1914 to 1921)

Northumberland Hotel (1866-present)

The Northumberland Hotel is located on the south west corner of Elder and Morehead Streets. It is the oldest of the hotels that is still operating, and has retained the same name since it opened in 1866.

Northumberland Hotel Lambton. Unknown date and photographer. Newcastle Library, Hunter Photobank 163 000779.

John Dent purchased Lot 10 of Section H in Lambton township in November 1865 (Vol-Fol 25-26), and opened the Northumberland Hotel in July 1866.

1890s Hunter Water Board map showing the location of the Northumberland Hotel.
The Northumberland Hotel, January 2021.

See also

  • Northumberland Hotel page at ANU Open Research Library, which contains some photographs of the hotel from the 1920s to 1970s.

Licensees

  1. John Dent (1866 to September 1873)
  2. Michael Avery (October 1873 to March 1877)
  3. George Bunn (March 1877 to 1884)
  4. Joseph Tranter (1885 to 1890)
  5. Eli Chadwick (1890 to 1898)
  6. William Griffiths (1899 to August 1907)
  7. Andrew Dougal Watson (August 1907 to July 1912)
  8. Thomas Brown (July 1912 to February 1913)
  9. George Smith (February 1913 to 1921)
  10. George Cowan (1921 to 1921)
  11. Bert Nordsvan (1922)
  12. A Ward (August 1922 to February 1923)
  13. Albert Louis Jordan (February 1923 to 1923)
  14. Victor G Elsely (1923 to March 1924)
  15. Frederick Stephen Rouhan/Ranhan (March 1924 to November 1924)
  16. Edward Percy Dixon (November 1924 to October 1925)
  17. Richard Francis Hamilton (October 1925 to May 1941)
  18. Hilder Hamilton (May 1941 to August 1941)
  19. Leslie Philip Higgs (August 1941 to December 1941)
  20. Duncan Forbes McGeachie (December 1941 to December 1942)
  21. William James Green (December 1942 to July 1943)
  22. John Andrew Joseph George Eason (July 1943 to July 1944)
  23. William Henry Cowcher (July 1944 to June 1946)
  24. Percival Ludington (June 1946 to October 1952)
  25. Reginald Darell Honey (October 1952 to March 1956)
  26. John Percival Arthur Smith (March 1956 to July 1958)
  27. Henry Morton Lumby (July 1958 to May 1963, died)
  28. David Alfred James Blanch (May 1963 to March 1965)
  29. John Alderson and Jeanette Marie Gay (March 1965 to October 1965)
  30. Charles John Wilson and Margaret Josephine Wilson (October 1965 to February 1968)
  31. Archibald Anthony McLusky (February 1968 to February 1970)
  32. William Raymond Burnage (February 1970 to February 1971)
  33. Percy Raymond York (February 1971 to March 1972)
  34. Ronald Padgett (March 1972 to June 1976)
  35. Warren Ewart Cake (June 1976 to July 1977)
  36. Robert William Rusden and Barbara Lee Rusden (July 1977 to January 1979)
  37. Janice Marlene Perrington and George Alexander Perrington (January 1979 to ????)
  38. ?

Rose, Thistle and Shamrock Inn (1868-1896)

Located on the south east corner of Elder and Grainger Streets. Also known as

  • Rose and Shamrock Inn
  • Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel
  • Federal Hotel (July 1895 to 1896)

Michael Doyle purchased Lot 1 of Section H in Lambton township in August 1867. (Transfer noted on Vol-Fol 36-203, Title Certificate on Vol-Fol 54-38)

Michael Doyle was granted a publican’s in March 1868 for the “Rose and Shamrock Inn”. In June 1868 he began advertising his hotel as “The Rose, Thistle, & Shamrock Inn.”

From July 1882, Guiseppe Turri owned the hotel land and building while a variety of licensees operated the hotel. In July 1895 Turri became the licensee and changed the name to the “Federal Hotel”. In April 1896 a fire at the hotel caused considerable damage. The fire must have placed Guiseppe Turri in dire financial straits, for in August 1896 he was forced to sell off a “large quantity of household furniture”, and the hotel never re-opened.

The location (but not the original building) of the former Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Inn, January 2021.

Licensees

  1. Michael Doyle (1868 to 1870)
  2. Alexander Smith (1871 to July 1873)
  3. Thomas James (July 1873 to May 1874)
  4. John Beveridge (May 1874 to June 1875)
  5. James Parker (July 1875 to July 1877)
  6. John Wills (August 1877 to October 1877)
  7. Michael Doyle (October 1877 to July 1878)
  8. Mary Doyle (July 1878 to May 1879)
  9. Martin Durham (May 1879 to 1880)
  10. Henry/James Sheedy (1881 to March 1883)
  11. Michael Lorraine (March 1883 to 1886)
  12. John Champion (February 1887 to November 1887)
  13. William Griffiths (November 1887 to March 1891)
  14. Thomas Vipon (March 1891 to August 1892)
  15. John Ward (August 1892 to 1893)
  16. William Kelly (1894 to July 1895)
  17. Guiseppe Turri (July 1895 to April 1896)

Rose and Crown Inn (1869-1871)

Located at 103 Elder St. John Platt purchased Lot 5 of Section H in Lambton township in October 1866 (Vol-Fol 39-245), and erected a building on the land. In 1869 George Lonsdale took a three year lease on the building and applied for a publican’s license. At the license hearing in April 1869 the building was described as follows …

“A portion of the house is two-storey, built of stone and brick ; the wooden portion contain four rooms, two on the ground floor and two upstairs. The brick building is attached to a four room cottage, which house contains two front rooms of moderate size, and two small back rooms, one used as a kitchen.”

The building of the former Rose and Crown Inn in Elder Street. Date unknown. G Hubbuck collection, courtesy of Craig Simpson

Despite police objections, a publican’s license was granted to George Lonsdale, however his tenure was short lived. By 1870 John Platt had become licensee as well as owner of the hotel. In June 1871 Platt sold the land and building to James Horton/Haughton (Vol-Fol 122-233). After the sale Platt continued as licensee, but Haughton immediately advertised the hotel as being available to let.

William B Richardson was granted the license in August 1871, but whether he ever operated the hotel is unclear, as there are no further mentions of the hotel in the papers and the “Rose and Crown” is absent from the 1872 gazetted list of publican licenses.

Licensees

  1. George Lonsdale (1869)
  2. John Platt (1870 to June 1871)
  3. William B Richardson (1871)

Prince of Wales (1870-1908)

Located on the south west corner of Dickson and Morehead Streets.

1890s Hunter Water Board map showing location of Prince of Wales Hotel on Dickson St. (This image is comprised of two separate original images joined together.)

John Martin Sawyer purchased Lot 10 of Section D of Lambton township in November 1868. (Vol-Fol 78-28). In January 1870, David Jenkyn obtained a publicans’ licence and opened the Prince of Wales Hotel. (Note in the advertisement below that the location is described as being “on the main road from Newcastle to Wallsend, as Dickson St was originally planned to be the main road.)

Newcastle Chronicle, 20 January 1870.

Lot 10 was subdivided into two halves in 1874, and in 1889 John Sheedy purchased the northern half where the hotel was situated. Sheedy subsequently became the licensee of the hotel in 1895. After he ceased to be licensee, he sold the property to Tooth and Co in 1900, but purchased the property back again nine years later in January 1909.

Vol-Fol 192-190.

At the Licensing Court hearing in August 1909, “Inspector Goulder reported that the license of the Prince of Wales Hotel, Lambton, had not been renewed, and that the premises were closed on August 18.”and after the hotel was delicensed in 1909, Sheedy purchased the property back from Tooth and Co.

Location of the former Prince of Wales Hotel, January 2021.

Licensees

  1. David Jenkyn/Jenkins (1870 to July 1883)
  2. John Mawkes (July 1883 to 1884)
  3. John West (1885)
  4. Edward Thorley (1886 to April 1889)
  5. Squire Smith (April 1889 to April 1890)
  6. Catherine E Smith (April 1890 to 1894)
  7. John Sheedy (1895 to February 1900)
  8. Charles A Howard (1900 to November 1901)
  9. William C St Leger Gordon (November 1901 to August 1909)

Red Lion Inn (1871-1896)

The hotel was located on the north west corner of Morehead Street and Young Street (now Newcastle Road). The hotel building still stands today, and is a private residence.

1890s Hunter Water Board map showing the location of the Red Lion Inn.

In February 1871 William Densley purchased Lot 1 in the new subdivision of Grovetown (DP54), just to the north of the Lambton township. (Vol-Fol 116-154). It seems he acted quickly in erecting a hotel building for within a few months in May 1871 the licensing court “granted permission to Dinah Williams to remove her license from the Red Lion Hotel, Waratah, to a new house to be known by the same sign at Lambton.” By September 1871 the hotel was operational, with a committee meeting of residents of the Commonage being held on the premises.

In January 1872, Dinah Williams was advertising “To Let, The Red Lion Hotel, Old Lambton, now doing a steady business.” By the beginning of 1872 Uriah Broom, the newly elected Mayor of the newly formed Lambton Municipal Council was the licensee of the Red Lion Inn.

In June 1896 at the Wallsend Licensing Court, the license for the Red Lion Inn was withdrawn.

The former Red Lion Inn, January 2021.

Licensees

  1. Dinah Williams (1871 to January 1872)
  2. Uriah Broom (February 1872 to June 1874)
  3. William Densley (1874 to September 1878)
  4. Joseph Lidbury (October 1878 to August 1879 (died))
  5. Thomas James (January 1880 to June 1881)
  6. James James (June 1881 to January 1893 (died))
  7. Harriett James (January 1893 to 1894)
  8. Henry Grant (1895 to June 1896)

Lancashire Arms Hotel (1874-1881)

The hotel was located on the south east corner of Pearson and Grainger Streets. The hotel opened as the “Lancashire Arms” in 1874, and changed to the “Welcome Home Hotel” in December 1875. It was also sometimes referred to as the “Welcome Home Inn”.

Miners’ Advocate and Northumberland Recorder, 8 December 1875.

Peter and Thomas Young purchased Lot 1 of Section L in Lambton township in September 1865. (Vol-Fol 19-22 and 19-23) and retained ownership of the land and buildings for the life of the hotel.

In May 1880 the current licensee, Samuel Dawson, was charged with “committing a breach of the Publicans’ Act by abandoning his licensed house, the Welcome Home Hotel, Lambton, between the 17th and 30th April.” He was found guilty and his publican’s license was voided. The owner of the hotel, Peter Young applied at that time to have the license transferred to himself. The request was initially denied, but granted the following month in June 1880. Whether Peter Young opened the hotel for business or for how long, is uncertain. There is no further mention of the Welcome Home Hotel after the notification of the granting of the license in June 1880, and the hotel does not appear in the list of publican’s licenses in 1881.

In June 1889 the property and building was advertised for sale, promoted as …

That splendid Corner Block of Land, reaching from Howe-street along Grainger street to Pearson-street, Lambton, upon which is erected an Eight-roomed W.B. House, with Kitchen, large Yard, Stable,Washhouse, formerly known as the Welcome Home Hotel.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 18 June 1889.
Location (not the original building) of the former Lancashire Arms/Welcome Home Hotel, January 2021.

Licensees

  1. Christopher Halpin (April 1874 to December 1875)
  2. John Gordon (December 1875 to June 1879)
  3. Samuel Dawson (June 1879 to April 1880)
  4. Peter Young (June 1880 to 1881?)

Marquis of Lorne Hotel (1874 to present)

Located on the north west corner of Morehead and Dickson Streets. The hotel was sometimes spelled as “Marquis of Lorn” or shortened to “Marquis O’Lorne”. In 2008, after a major renovation, the name changed to “The Mark Hotel” .

Marquis O’Lorne Hotel, 1959. Newcastle Library Hunter Photobank 460 000046

Alexander Smith had been the licensee of the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Hotel in Elder Street until July 1873. In October 1873 he purchased the east half of Lot 10 of Section A in Lambton township. (Vol-Fol 177-187), and immediately made plans to erect a hotel. Construction was underway in January 1874, and the hotel opened on 20 June 1874.

Vol-Fol 177-187

The hotel was sold in June 1876 to Joseph Thomas Morris who also became the licensee. In August 1876 to hotel was sold to John and Joseph Woods (wine and spirit merchants of Newcastle) and Richard Ward became licensee.

In November 1880, Richard Ward applied to move the license of the Marquis of Lorne hotel to premises in Elder Street, however the Wood brother (owners of the hotel) objected and the licensing court refused the application. The following month in December 1880, the license of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel was transferred to Benjamin Tonks, and Richard Ward was granted a license for the (first) Commercial Hotel in Elder Street.

In 1929 another attempt was made to move the location of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel. In September 1929, the new licensee John Thomas Quinlivan applied to move the license of the hotel “to premises to be erected on Part of Lot 2, Section A, having a frontage of 112.5 links (22.6m) to Robert Street Jesmond.”

Location in Robert Street, Jesmond, that John Quinlivan applied to move the Marquis of Lorne hotel license. Vol-Fol 181-94.

At the licensing board hearing on 25 September 1929, the application for transfer was opposed by many. After hearing arguments and inspecting the proposed site, on 26 September 1929 the board refused the application for the license transfer “on the ground that the reasonable requirements of the district did not justify the removal.” Quinlivan stayed on as licenseee of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel in Lambton for another year, when the license was transferred to John Baptist Beisler in November 1930.

In 1960, the original hotel building was demolished and a new building erected by Tooth and Co at a cost of £67508.

The Mark Hotel, Lambton, January 2021.

See also:

Licensees

  1. Alexander Smith (June 1874 to May 1876)
  2. Joseph Thomas Morris (June 1876 to September 1878)
  3. Richard Ward (September 1878 to December 1880)
  4. Benjamin Tonks (December 1880 to February 1883)
  5. James Lunn (February 1883 to May 1884)
  6. Noah Davis (May 1884 to 1886)
  7. Alexander Sneddon (1887 to March 1883)
  8. John Williams (July 1888 to August 1889)
  9. Thomas Pryde (August 1889 to December 1897)
  10. John Donnelly (December 1897 to 1903)
  11. John Thomas (1904 to October 1907 – cancelled)
  12. Matthew Ernest McFarlane (October 1907 to 1910)
  13. James J Fitzpatrick (November 1910 to February 1914)
  14. Mathew Wilson (1914 to December 1915)
  15. Robert Lionel Robinson (December 1915 to August 1923)
  16. John Thomas Kay (August 1923 to July 1926)
  17. Robert Jackson (1927 to July 1928)
  18. John R Healey (July 1928 to November 1928)
  19. John Thomas Quinlivan/Quinlevan (November 1928 to November 1930)
  20. John Baptist Beisler (November 1930 to April 1936)
  21. Ada Annie Beisler (April 1936 to May 1941)
  22. Peter William Beisler (May 1941 to April 1948)
  23. Henry Pitz Beisler (April 1948 to ????)
  24. ?

Page 180 of “The Story of Lambton” indicates that the Marquis Of Lorne Hotel remained in the Beisler family until 1976, an impressively long stint of 46 years!

Pine Apple Hotel (1874-1881)

The hotel was sometimes spelled as “Pineapple”, and in the Government Gazette lists of publican licenses it is recorded as “Pine Apple Inn”. It was also referred to as “Bunn’s Hotel”.

Old newspapers report the hotel as being in North Lambton, or in Dark Creek, which is the original name of Jesmond. To confuse things further, some of the Government Gazette lists note the hotel as being in “Duck Creek”, a phonetically erroneous reference to “Dark Creek”. There are no known photographs of the hotel.

Although there is some uncertainty about the exact location, I believe the hotel was situated on one of the original allotments outlined below, which today corresponds to 300-304 Newcastle Road. (See the following section for the reasoning.)

Probable location of the Pine Apple Hotel, 300-304 Newcastle Rd, North Lambton.
Probable location of the former Pine Apple Hotel, photographed in January 2021.

The time that the hotel ceased trading is not known with certainty. After Charles Bunn, the last licensee, was granted the license in April 1881, mentions of the Pine Apple Hotel in the newspaper disappear. Charles Bunn entered into insolvency in June 1881, just two months after being granted the license. Presumably this marked the end of the Pine Apple Hotel.

The probable location

Almost all the contemporaneous newspaper reports (1874-1881) of the hotel state that the hotel was in “North Lambton”, which in this period refers to a very specific square block of 50 acres granted to Daniel Jones. Some reports refer to the hotel being in Dark Creek, which referred to the overall locality. (Note that the watercourse named Dark Creek flows diagonally through the “North Lambton” land grant.)

“North Lambton”, 50 acre land grant to Daniel Jones. Historical Land Records Viewer.

A number of articles state that the hotel was on the main road, or Hartley St, which places the hotel somewhere between Henry Street and George Street.

The first licensee of the hotel in 1874 was Thomas Bunn and the last licensee in 1881 was his son Charles, which suggests that Thomas may have been the owner of the hotel. This is corroborated by a May 1879 advertisement … “TO LET, the PINE APPLE HOTEL North Lambton. Apply to Thomas Bunn.”

Searching the Land Titles at the Historical Land Records Viewer site, reveals that in September 1873, Thomas and his wife Elizabeth purchased Lot 13 (See Vol-Fol 169-220) and Lot 14 (see Vol-Fol 169-219) of Section D of North Lambton. The timing of these purchases fits with the opening of a hotel the following year.

The final clue is from the Miners’ Advocate and Northumberland Recorder of 11 August 1875 where Edwin Griffiths advertised the commencement of his business as an undertaker “in North Lambton, near Bunn’s Hotel.”

Miners’ Advocate and Northumberland Recorder, 11 August 1875.

The Historical Land Records Viewer in Vol-Fol 236-94 shows that Edwin Griffiths purchased Lot 15 of Section D of North Lambton, adjacent to the Bunn’s two allotments. As the Deposited Plan of the subdivision of Section D is not available online, I have created an overall map showing the lots between Arthur and Albert Streets by splicing together the lot boundary maps from each individual Title Certificate.

Lots 12-15 and Lot 1 of Section D. Spliced together from the individual Title Certificates.

The improbable location

A September 1929 newspaper article states that “Bunn’s Hotel was situated in Hartley-street, at the intersection of Steel and Robert Streets.” The article is reporting the reminiscences of local residents nearly 50 years after the Pine Apple Hotel closed. I am almost certain that they were confusing the Pine Apple Hotel with the Coal Miners’ Home Hotel, which was located at that intersection during the same period that the Pine Apple Hotel was operating.

There is no other evidence I could find, in newspaper reports or government gazettes or land sale information, either before or afterwards that corroborates the 1929 suggestion that the Pine Apple Hotel was in Steel/Robert Street.

Licensees

  1. Thomas Bunn (1874 to 1877)
  2. Henry Simpson (July 1877 to ????)
  3. Samuel Dawson (1878 to June 1879)
  4. Patrick Kelly (June 1879 to July 1879)
  5. Henry Forrester (July 1879 to March 1881)
  6. George Shoesmith (March 1881 to April 1881)
  7. Charles Bunn (April 1881 to June 1881)

Jesmond Hotel (1875-1911)

The hotel was located at 52 Robert St Jesmond. Because Richard, Isabella and John Sneddon were licensees for over 20 years, it was also known as “Sneddon’s Hotel”.

William Hellier purchased a block of land between Robert and Michael Streets in Jesmond in March 1875. (Vol-Fol 206-27) In August 1875 he was granted a publican’s license for “The Jesmond Hotel”.

Purchase of land by William Hellier, Vol-Fol 206-27.

In July 1887, Hellier sold the property to Richard Sneddon who also became licensee of the hotel. In Februray 1900, Sneddon sold the hotel to Castlemaine Brewery and Wood Brothers, but remained as licensee.

The growing influence of the temperance movement led to the “Local Option Vote” in NSW in September 1907, a referendum where people could vote whether to continue, reduce, or eliminate licensed premises in their electorate.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 9 September 1907.

When the result had been tallied, of the 90 electorates in NSW, 25 voted for a continuance of licenses, while 65 voted for a reduction in licenses, including Kahibah electorate which contained Lambton township. A special licensing court in July 1908 decided to reduce the number of hotels in the Kahibah electorate by 7, some to be closed immediately, and some given a few years notice. The Jesmond Hotel was one of the hotels selected for closure, and given three years notice.

One interesting side notes, is that some months prior to this decision, in May 1908 an advertisement had appeared in the paper, calling for tenders for the rebuilding of the hotel in brick. This may have been a pre-emptive move by the hotel owners to ward off possible closure by demonstrating the go-ahead nature of their enterprise. Needless to say, with the licensing board’s decision to close the hotel in three years time, the brick re-build never eventuated.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 21 May 1908.

The Jesmond Hotel continued to trade until July 1911. Two years later in July 1913 the hotel land and buildings were put up for sale and purchased by James Stevenson, a miner from Jesmond.

The location of the former Jesmond Hotel in Robert Street, photographed in January 2021. No trace of the hotel remains, not even in lot boundaries which have been significantly altered by later subdivisions of land.

Licensees

  1. William Hellier/Heiller/Hilliar (1875 to 1879)
  2. William Fenwick (1880 to 1883)
  3. Edmond Tiplady (1884 to July 1887)
  4. Richard Sneddon (July 1887 to February 1902)
  5. Isabella Sneddon (March 1902 to 1903)
  6. John Robertson Sneddon (1904 to 1911)

Royal Hotel (1875-1882)

The Royal Hotel was situated on the north west corner of Elder and Grainger Streets. Joseph Hunter purchased Lot 14 of Section F in Lambton township in November 1865. (Vol-Fol 25-7) Ten years later in July 1875, Hunter was granted a publican’s license and opened a hotel on the site. After Joseph Hunter died in May 1880, his widow Ann ran the hotel for a year until Martin Durham became licensee in 1881. The hotel seems to have lasted not very long after this, with the last mention in the papers being a brief reference to “Durham’s Hotel” in June 1882.

There are no known photographs of this hotel

Licensees

  1. Joseph Hunter (July 1875 to May 1880, died)
  2. Annie Hunter to (June 1880 to July 1881)
  3. Martin Durham (July 1881 to 1882)

Coal Miners’ Home Hotel (1876-1879)

Also known as the “Coal Miners’ Arms”, there is very scant information and no photographs available for this short-lived and unsuccessful hotel.

Lewis Haines, a miner from Lambton, purchased Lot 1 of Section B on the corner of Robert St in the township of Jesmond in December 1873. In June 1876 he was granted a publican’s license for “The Coal Miners’ Home Hotel” in Jesmond.

Within a few months, in September 1876 Haines was advertising the hotel for sale or to let.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 21 September 1876.

A sale did not eventuate at this time, the land records showing that Haines retained ownership of the land until 1883. There was another attempt to sell in June 1877, the agent describing the hotel and property as …

…. being nearly a new house,and doing a large business. This stands upon one acre of fine cultivating land; has six chains frontage to the main road, with kitchen, stable, outhouses, and a splendid orchard. This is the most compact place, on the main road to Wallsend.

The “six chains” (=120 metres) frontage to the main road matches the dimensions of Lewis Haines block, with 60 metres frontage on each side of the corner block. No sale occurred, with the agent withdrawing the property from sale “as there was no bid covering the reserve price.”

Sometime before October 1878, it appears that the licensee was Robert McBain (or possibly McBlain) who advertised the hotel and attached orchard for let. The last licensee was Young Bedford, who for reasons unknown abandoned the hotel in March 1879, resulting in the cancellation of the license. The hotel never re-opened. The following month in April 1879 the property was put up for auction, but like the previous two attempts, no sale eventuated.

The location (but not the original building) of the former Coal Miners’ Home Hotel, corner of Robert and Steel Streets. Photographed in January 2021.

Licensees

  1. Lewis Haines/Haynes (June 1876 to ????)
  2. Robert McBlain/McBain (1878)
  3. Young Bedford (???? to March 1879)

Miners’ Arms Hotel (1877-1910)

Henry Johnson, a miner from Lambton, purchased Lot 8 of Section L of Lambton township in March 1873. (Vol-Fol 154-25)

Lot 8 of Section L in Lambton township, purchased by Henry Johnson. Vol-Fol 154-25

By July 1874 Johnson was operating a boarding house on the site. In January 1877 the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate reported that …

Mr. James Bradley has opened the premises lately occupied by Mr. Johnson as a boarding house, in Howe-street, as an hotel, under the sign of the Miners’ Arms. Mr. Bradley has been employed at the Lambton Colliery for many years, and is held in the greatest respect by his fellow workman, and for that reason alone, no doubt, will receive to [sic] share of support.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 15 January 1877.

By August 1878 Thomas Stokes had become the licensee, and ran the Miners’ Arms in Henry Johnson’s premises for the next three years. This situation with Stokes as licensee and Johnson as owner was one that suited neither of them, and each had their own plans to be both owner and licensee of a hotel on Howe Street!

In January 1876 Henry Johnson had purchased Lot 10 of Section L, on the corner of Howe and Morehead Streets, and in January 1880 Thomas Stokes purchased Lot 9, the block of land between Johnson’s two properties. On 15 February 1881 at the Lambton Police Court, Stokes “applied for a transfer of his license for the Miners’ Arms Hotel, Howe-street, to another house in the same street.” Johnson’s legal representative Mr Dart objected to the application …

“… on the grounds that the applicant [Stokes] taking the license from the [Johnson’s] house and closing it would reduce the capital value of the same, and also that the house to which he [Stokes] applied to have the license transferred was not fitted for a licensed house.”

Stokes’ legal representative Mr G Wallace countered the objection by pointing out …

“… that his client had, as the lease had expired, a perfect right to transfer the license to another house. Mr. Johnson was about to apply for a license for a new house in Howe-street, and had it in his power to eject Mr, Stokes at any time if he wished, and in the event of his doing so Mr. Stokes had no redress.”

It is a little difficult to ascertain the exact motivations here, but it seems that with Henry Johnson about to set himself up as both owner and licensee of a hotel, he was keen to prevent Stokes doing the same. Johnson had a win on this occasion, for after inspecting the Stokes’ premises the Bench “refused the application on the ground that the house was too small to be licensed.”

Henry Johnson then proceeded with his plan of setting himself up as a licensed publican in his premises on Lot 10 (corner of Morehead and Howe Streets). On 8 March 1881 at Lambton Police Court …

“A license was granted to Henry Johnson for a house in Morehead-street, Lambton, to be known by the sign of the Exchange Hotel.”

Not to be outdone, the very next week on 18 March 1881 Thomas Stokes again made application to transfer the Miners’ Arms license to his own premises. Again, Henry Johnson objected, but this time in vain, his objection …

“… was ruled informal as he had not given the applicant the usual seven day’s notice of his intention to object.”

Stokes’ application was granted, and he moved the Miners’ Arms from Johnson’s house on Lot 8 into his own property on Lot 9, right next door to Johnson’s new Exchange Hotel on Lot 10!

Howe Street Lambton in 1890. Ralph Snowball, University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.
1890s Water Board map showing location of Miners’ Arms Hotel.
Miners’ Arms Hotel in 1908. The hotel name can just be seen in the veranda fascia. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

In July 1908, the Local Option Court for the Kahibah electorate handed down their decision on seven hotels to be closed. The Miners’ Arms Hotel at Lambton (Thomas O’Malley, licensee) was given three years notification to close. With no long term future for the hotel, O’Malley almost immediately had his license transferred to William Harney. The hotel only traded for another two years, at the Newcastle Licensing Court in July 1910 …

Inspector Goulder reported that the license of the Miners’ Arms Hotel, Lambton, had not been renewed, the premises having closed on June 30th.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 8 July 1910.

Licensees

  1. James Bradley (January 1877 to ????)
  2. Thomas Stokes (1878 to April 1889)
  3. Mark Wood/Woods (May 1889 to 1891)
  4. Thomas Stokes (1892 to 1899)
  5. George E Mansfield (June 1900 to April 1901)
  6. Samuel Dunstan (April 1901 to August 1901)
  7. Edwin Maddison (September 1901 to 1904)
  8. Thomas Weaver (1905 to 1906)
  9. James Lyons (1907 to ????)
  10. Thomas O’Malley (???? to August 1908)
  11. William Harney (August 1908 to June 1910)

Royal Oak Hotel (1878-1881)

This very short lived hotel was located somewhere in Dickson St, with John Edwards being the one and only licensee. Edwards’ wife Hannah purchased a block of land in Dickson St in 1872, and it is possible the hotel was located on this site, which is now 59 Dickson St. There are no known photographs of the hotel.

Purchase of land in Dickson St by John Edwards’ wife Hannah, in 1872. Vol-Fol 137-94

In January 1881 John Edwards advertised a six-roomed dwelling house to let, with instructions to apply at the Royal Oak Hotel. After the license renewal listed in the Government Gazette in September 1881, there are no further mentions of the hotel.

Possible location of the former Royal Oak Hotel in Dickson Street, Lambton. Photographed in January 2021.

Licensees

  1. John Edwards (July 1878 to 1881)

Race Horse Inn (1878-1882)

Opened in Elder St in July 1878 as the Race Horse Inn, in premises owned by William Reay, and Henry Doherty as the first licensee. The name changed to Reay’s Hotel in June 1881 when William Reay acquired the hotel’s license.

William Reay purchased the western half of Lot 8 Section H in Lambton township in April 1876. (Vol-Fol 260-76) This is 91 Elder Street today.

Purchase of land in Elder St by William Reay in 1876. Vol-Fol 260-76

In March 1882 an attempt by George Shaw to transfer the license to Richard Dainty was unsuccessful. The hotel does not appear in the list of license renewals for the years commencing 1 July 1882.

Location of the Race Horse Inn, 91 Elder Street Lambton. Photographed in 2021.

Licensees

  1. Henry Doherty (July 1878 to June 1879)
  2. John Donnison (June 1879 to June 1881)
  3. William Reay (June 1881 to October 1881)
  4. George Shaw (October 1881 to June 1882)

Northern Star Hotel (1879-1881)

Joseph Phippen purchase Lot 1 of Section A of Lambton township in May 1868. (Vol-Fol 90-68)

Purchase of land by Joseph Phippen in 1868. Vol-Fol 90-68

In September 1879 he opened a Temperance Hotel on the site located on the north east corner of Dickson and Grainger Streets.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 13 September 1879.
The former Northern Star Hotel building, photographed in 1989.
The Northern Star Hotel site, photographed in January 2021.

In August 1881, just a few months after John Hutchinson had become the licensee, Joseph Phippen advertised the land and buildings of the Northern Star Hotel for sale. Although the sale never eventuated, there are no more mentions of the Northern Star Hotel after this date.

Licensees

Phippen initially opened the hotel in 1879 as a Temperance Hotel, but the following year acquired a publican’s license.

  1. Joseph Phippen/Phippins (March 1880 to June 1881)
  2. John Hutchinson (June 1881 to ????)

Commercial Hotel #1 (1880-1882)

This short lived hotel is not to be confused with the long lived Commercial Hotel that opened in 1888.

In November 1880 Richard Ward, the licensee of the Marquis of Lorne hotel, made application to move his license to premises in Elder Street. The owners of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel (Wood Brothers) objected and the licensing court refused the application. In December 1880 Ward then successfully “applied for a license for a house in Elder-street, to be known as the Commercial Hotel.”

There is very little further information available on the hotel and by April 1882, the Commercial Hotel premises occupied by Ward was advertised for sale, and there is no further mention of the hotel operating after this time. Interestingly, it is the subsequent property sales that allow us to identify the probable location of Ward’s hotel.

Commercial Hotel premises for sale, Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 6 April 1882.

From this advertisement we know that the hotel was on the north side of Elder Street as it was …

“… erected upon a quarter of an acre of land, fronting Elder-street, and running through to De-Vitre-street, thus having two frontages to the principal streets.”

In August 1882 the Newcastle Morning Herald reported that …

“Messrs. W. Lightfoot and Son have removed to Lambton, and commenced business in the premises in Elder-street, lately known as the Commercial Hotel, as grocers, drapers, ironmongers, dealers in colonial produce, etc.”

A few years later, in January 1885, the property was again advertised for sale, split into two allotments.

The first allotment is described as having a frontage to Elder St of 33 feet. Note however that the second allotment has a frontage to Elder St of 18 feet but a frontage to De Vitre St of 35 feet. The difference in frontages can only occur if the block is either wedge shaped, or has an irregular shape. Searching through the chain of land sales on the north side of Elder St shows that there is only one allotment of land sold in this period that has an irregular shape with a frontage to Elder St as described, that being the west half of Lot 5. (The actual frontage is 32 feet 5 inches, not 33 feet – but we all know that real estate agents like to talk things up.)

This site is at address 102-104 Elder St, where Raine & Horne Real Estate was formerly located, and Williams Artisan Bread & Espresso is currently located.

102 and 104 Elder St Lambton. Site of the first “Commercial Hotel” in Lambton.

Licensees

  1. Richard Ward (December 1880 to 1882)

Exchange Hotel (1881-present)

The Exchange Hotel opened in 1881 and was located on the north west corner of Howe and Morehead Streets. Some time around 1986 the hotel was renamed to the “Lambton Park Hotel”.

Henry Johnson purchased the southern half of Lot 10 in Section L of Lambton township in January 1876 (Vol-Fol 249-28).

Purchase of half of Lot 10 in Section L of Lambton township by Henry Johnson in 1876. Vol-Fol 249-28

Johnson erected a small double storey brick hotel building on the site, and in March 1881 was granted a publican’s license. Eli Chadwick subsequently became licensee in 1884.

Exchange Hotel when Eli Chadwick was licensee, 1884-1889. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.
By 1890 the hotel had been extended along Howe Street. Ralph Snowball, University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.
1890s Water Board map showing location of Exchange Hotel.

In January 1930 the original hotel building was demolished, and a new building erected, which still stands today.

Lambton Park Hotel, January 2021.

See also

  • Exchange Hotel page at ANU Open Research Library, which contains some photographs of the hotel from the 1920s to 1970s.
Repairs to the awnings in November 2019 temporarily revealed 1940s era advertising for Tooths XXX Ale.
Exchange Hotel in 1949, showing the Tooths XXX Ale advertisement. Noel Butlin Archive, Australian National University.

Licensees

  1. Henry Johnson (March 1881 to September 1884)
  2. Eli Chadwick (September 1884 to September 1889)
  3. Henry Johnson (September 1889 to 1890)
  4. Joseph Tranter (1890 to April 1896)
  5. Henry Johnson (April 1896 to October 1897)
  6. Quinton Hendry (October 1897 to December 1897)
  7. William (John?) Rutherford (December 1897 to January 1900)
  8. Isaac Rothery (January 1900 to October 1900)
  9. Thomas Watson (November 1900 to August 1903)
  10. William Dent (August 1903 to December 1906, died)
  11. Mary Dent (1907)
  12. George O’Donnell (1908 to July 1910)
  13. John S McNaughton (July 1910 to March 1913)
  14. Robert Forbes (March 1913 to January 1915)
  15. Thomas William Bowie (January 1915 to April 1915, died)
  16. Agnes Bowie (April 1915 to July 1920)
  17. William Mulcahy (July 1920 to October 1920)
  18. Bernard Grimes (October 1920 to March 1925)
  19. Edward Hill (March 1925 to December 1925, died)
  20. Sarah Caroline Hill (December 1925 to March 1926)
  21. John Donald Curran (March 1926 to December 1926)
  22. Jeremiah John Dwyer (December 1926 to January 1928)
  23. William Eugene McCarthy (January 1928 to September 1929)
  24. William Charles Keighran (September 1929 to November 1936)
  25. Harry B Carroll (November 1936 to June 1945, died)
  26. Mrs A E Carroll (June 1945 to February 1955)
  27. Claude Henry Wright (February 1955 to July 1962)
  28. Geoffrey Liddiard Newton ((July 1962 to September 1964)
  29. Brian Palmer Jones (September 1964 to November 1967)
  30. Allan James Reay (November 1967 to March 1968)
  31. Athol Francis Lewis (March 1968 to June 1971)
  32. Mrs Melba May Morris (June 1971 to May 1976)
  33. Mrs Patricia Abraham (May 1976 to October 1978)
  34. Robert George Jenkins (October 1980 to August 1983)
  35. John Brown (August 1983 to May 1984)
  36. Geoffrey Alexander Stewart (May 1984 to ????)
  37. ?

Marquis of Midlothian (1885-1892)

[This section still in progress]

The hotel was located on the north east corner of Ralph and Robert Streets in Jesmond. The hotel building still exists today, and is a private residence.

The former Marquis of Midlothian Hotel in Robert Street, Jesmond. Photographed in January 2021.

In May 1876 George Smith purchased Lot 10 of Section C in the private township of Jesmond. (Vol-Fol 266-98)

Purchase of Lot 10 of Section C in Jesmond by George Smith in May 1876. Vol-Fol 266-98

Within a few months, the newspaper reported that …

“Mr. George Smith is erecting a splendid store and dwelling-house. The building is two stories, and composed of brick, containing about ten rooms in all. It is now nearly completed, excepting the doors and windows and inside fittings. When finished, it will be one of the most imposing buildings in the district.”

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 11 August 1876.

However it seems that Smith (or his building contractor) wasn’t careful about where the Lot boundary was, and part of the building encroached into the then vacant and unsold adjoining Lot 9. In 1883 when James Mitchell purchased Lot 10 from George Smith, he also needed to purchase a little triangular wedge of Lot 9.

The encroachment of the building over the original Lot boundary can be graphically seen in the Title Certificate of a later sale of Lot 9.

Purchase of adjoining Lot 9 in 1942, that shows the encroachment of the hotel building on Lot 10 into Lot 9. Vol-Fol 5616-112

James Mitchell having acquired the land and building in 1883 “expended a large amount of money on the house” and applied for a publican’s license in April 1885. Mr Perrott, the magistrate at the licensing court refused the application “on the ground that the reasonable requirements of the place did not justify the granting of it”, adding “the spending of a lot of money on a house did not entitle it to be licensed.”

It is not clear what (if anything) changed, but six months later in October 1885, Mitchell submitted the application again before the same licensing magistrate, but this time the application was granted, and the Marquis of Midlothian hotel was opened.

James Mitchell remained as publican until November 1891, when the license was transferred to Bartholomew Davison. Davison renewed the license in November 1892, but there is no mention of the hotel operating after this time. It is probable that it had ceased trading by February 1893 when the property was advertised for sale. This was but one of many unsuccessful attempts by Mitchell to sell his property in June 1888, April 1891, February 1893 and January 1900.

In April 1902, Thomas Henry Armstrong applied to re-open the hotel under the new name of the “Sportsmans’ Arms”. After hearing arguments for and against the granting of a license, the Newcastle Licensing Court reached their decision …

“The application was refused on the grounds that the requirements of the place did not justify a license.”

The property was sold later that year on 23 August 1902 to John Henry Mitchell. In 1929 when there was a proposal for a new hotel in Jesmond, residents opposed to the application recalled Jesmond hotels of bygone days …

“The building which was known as Mitchell’s Hotel is still intact, and is occupied as a private dwelling. Mitchell’s Hotel was regarded as a sporting place, and could boast having one of the best ball alleys in the district. A large crowd usually assembled on what was recognised as the miners’ pay-Saturdays, and witnessed many exciting handball matches and handicaps, which were commenced early in the morning and continued until nightfall.”

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 17 September 1929.

Licensees

  1. James Mitchell (October 1885 to November 1891)
  2. Bartholomew Davison/Davidson (November 1891 to 1892)

Commercial Hotel #2 (1888-2018)

The Commercial Hotel was located on the south west corner of Elder and Grainger Streets. At various times it was also known as Snake Gully Hotel, Amos Hotel, and Bar 121.

John Sample’s Commercial Hotel in 1893. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.
Snake Gully Hotel in July 2018, a few months prior to its closure.
New apartments on site of Commercial Hotel, September 2020.

For further details see my December 2018 article on the Commercial Hotel.

See also

Licensees

  1. William Brown (July 1888 to July 1889)
  2. John Sample (July 1889 to 1893)
  3. Joseph Oldham (1894 to October 1895)
  4. John W Buckley (October 1895 to 1896)
  5. Ann Jane Buckley (1897 to April 1898)
  6. Thomas Liddle (April 1898 to March 1899)
  7. David Clement Harvey (March 1899 to February 1900)
  8. William Rutherford (1900)
  9. George Smith (1901 to December 1912)
  10. Thomas J Byrne (January 1913 to May 1914)
  11. Michael Ambrose Lowry (May 1914 to September 1916)
  12. James Thompson (October 1916 to September 1918)
  13. Patrick Joseph Waldron (September 1918 to November 1918)
  14. John Peel (November 1918 to February 1919)
  15. Emma Ashman (February 1919 to July 1919)
  16. James M Britt (1919)
  17. Walter James Barrington (September 1919 to December 1920)
  18. Stephen Thomas Shipley (December 1920 to 1921)
  19. S Bryant (July 1922 to November 1922)
  20. E R Bennett (November 1922 to March 1923)
  21. G Fuller (March 1923 to September 1924)
  22. Eva Shaw-Smith (September 1924 to August 1925)
  23. Horace James Pick (August 1925 to December 1928)
  24. Edward Henry Naughten/Naughton (December 1928 to April 1936)
  25. Edward Thomas Shipley (April 1936 to February 1937)
  26. James Alexander Johnston (February 1937 to August 1937)
  27. Leslie Alvan Radnidge (August 1937 to December 1937)
  28. Sidney John Bookless (December 1937 to August 1938)
  29. Frederick Hector (August 1938 to December 1941)
  30. Roy Townshend (December 1941 to July 1943)
  31. Leslie Errol Doohan (July 1943 to October 1943)
  32. Louise May Egan (October 1943 to December 1946)
  33. Herbert Walter Harris (December 1946 to September 1960)
  34. David John Amos (September 1960 to ????)
  35. ??

Reservoir Hotel (1888-1921)

The Reservoir Hotel was located on the north east corner of Newcastle Rd and George St. The hotel building still exists, and is now a private residence.

The former Reservoir Hotel building. Date and photographer unknown.
The former Reservoir Hotel building in 2020.

For further details, see my January 2021 article on the Reservoir Hotel.

Licensees

  1. Jacob Dent (1888 to 1892)
  2. William Rutherford (1893 to 1897)
  3. John Cox (1898 to 1900)
  4. Ellen Jane Cox, widow of John Cox (1900 to June 1902)
  5. William Newell (June 1902 to June 1903)
  6. Thomas Weaver (June 1903 to May 1904)
  7. Joseph Brindley (May 1904 to 1905)
  8. William H North (1906 to 1910)
  9. Thomas Owens (1911 to 1912)
  10. B D Holloway (1913)
  11. Thomas Mordue (1913 to March 1917)
  12. John McKenzie (March 1917 to 1918)
  13. Mary Etta Graham (1919 to 1920)
  14. John Baptist Beisler (1921)

Reservoir Hotel

How many hotels does a mining township need? In the boom years of the 19th century the answer was ‘lots’. But after World War 1 the answer was ‘less’, for these were the years of the Licenses Reduction Board. The Reservoir Hotel on Newcastle Road at Lambton was one of the casualties of the board’s deliberations 100 years ago.

In 1864 Robert Cairns opened the “Lambton Arms” in Pearson St, the first of many hotels in the town. As the population grew, so did the number of hotels, reaching a peak of 16 in 1881. In 1888, John Cox commissioned a new hotel on the main road opposite the town’s recently installed water reservoir. The two-storey weatherboard building, designed by architects Bennett and Yeomans, contained sixteen rooms and a cellar, and opened for business in July 1888 with Jacob Dent as the first licensee.

Fourteen publicans ran the hotel in the following 33 years, until the Licenses Reduction Board brought an end. The board was born out of the Prohibition movement, but not in the way you might expect. In the face of growing activism from groups wanting to ban all alcohol, a citizen’s association was formed in 1919 to “oppose the extreme and ruinous legislation proposed by prohibitionists”, and to instead promote a policy of “moderation and temperance”.

In December 1919 the NSW parliament passed a bill that instituted the Licenses Reduction Board. Their purpose was to reduce the number of licensed premises to a maximum based on population, by closing hotels with a history of liquor act convictions, or those in poor physical condition. Compensation was to be paid to owners and licensees.

During 1920 the board inspected 152 hotels in the Newcastle area, and on 28 January 1921 announced its decision that 23 licenses were to be revoked, including the Reservoir Hotel at Lambton. In August 1921 John Baptist Beisler, the final publican of the hotel, closed the bar for the last time.  The building has been a private residence since that day.

Reservoir Hotel building, Lambton (Undated, photographer unknown.)
Reservoir Hotel building in 2020.

The article above was first published in the January 2021 edition of The Local.


Additional Information

the Hotel

A report in the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate on 31 May 1888 provides details of the newly opened Reservoir Hotel …

The completion of the new hotel built to the order of Mr. J. Cox, of the Yacht Club Hotel, Newcastle, by Mr. George Froome, of Wallsend, Messrs. Bennett and Yeomans being the architects, was marked by Mr. Cox inviting some of his Newcastle and district friends to inspect the building, and after wards do the usual honours in favour of Mr. Jacob Dent, of Lambton, who will be the lessee on opening. The hotel is splendidly situated, near the reservoir on the Lambton Wallsend-road, commanding a splendid view of at least three fourths of the district. It is a weather-board building, containing sixteen rooms and commodious cellar, out-houses, stable, &c., being built on an entirely improved plan, which reflects great credit on the architects and builder. All the rooms are well ventilated and lighted, a splendid balcony runs around half of the building with a frontage to George-street and the main road; in fact all that can be desired, in the way of an hotel in the strictest sense of the word is to be found in the building.

Advertisement for Dent’s Reservoir Hotel. Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 29 August 1888.

There were a total of 14 licensees of the Reservoir Hotel in its 33 year history.

  1. Jacob Dent (1888 to 1892)
  2. William Rutherford (1893 to 1897)
  3. John Cox (1898 to 1900)
  4. Ellen Jane Cox, widow of John Cox (1900 to June 1902)
  5. William Newell (June 1902 to June 1903)
  6. Thomas Weaver (June 1903 to May 1904)
  7. Joseph Brindley (May 1904 to 1905)
  8. William H North (1906 to 1910)
  9. Thomas Owens (1911 to 1912)
  10. B D Holloway (1913)
  11. Thomas Mordue (1913 to March 1917)
  12. John McKenzie (March 1917 to 1918)
  13. Mary Etta Graham (1919 to 1920)
  14. John Baptist Beisler (1921)

It is important to remember when researching old hotels, that the licensee of the hotel is not necessarily the same as the person who owns the land and hotel building. Regarding the ownership of the Reservoir Hotel, Volume-Folio 806-208 in the Historical Land Records Viewer shows that John Cox purchased the land in August 1886, being Lots 1 and 28 of Section B

Vol-Fol 784-8
Lots 1 and 28 of Section B.

Volume-Folio 806-208 shows that the property was then leased to “John Thomas Toohey and James Matthew Toohey of Sydney, Brewers”, in February 1893.

Vol-Fol 806-208. Lease to Toohey brothers in 1993.

John Cox owned the land until his death in 1900, and then his widow, Ellen Jane Cox sold the land to “Castlemaine Brewery and Wood Brothers and Company, Newcastle” in June 1902. They retained ownership of the property for the remainder of the working life of the hotel.

Vol-Fol 806-208. Sale to Castlemaine Brewery

John Baptist Beisler, the final licensee of the Reservoir Hotel, held the license for less than a year. In 1930 Beisler obtained the license of the Marquis of Lorne Hotel in Morehead St, and he and his wife and his family held the licence of that hotel for an impressive 46 years, until the family sold the business in 1976.

The Licenses Reduction Board

In Sydney in March 1919, a the Citizens’ Rights and Liquor Reform Association was formed, to advocate a middle ground between ‘prohibition’ and ‘business as usual’ in the alcohol trade. The report in The Sun newspaper on 20 March 1919 explained the association’s objectives, one of which was the establishment of a Licenses Reduction Board..

A number of Sydney citizens believe that liquor reform is one of the most vital problems before the people of Australia at this time. There have hitherto been only two alternatives — continuance of the liquor traffic and its palpable abuses or absolute prohibition. These men also believe that the real solution lies in neither of these extremes. They prefer the means of moderation and temperance … the new organisation will “oppose the extreme and ruinous legislation proposed by prohibitionists, aided and abetted by the money and the professional, agitators of the American Anti-Saloon League, who, by an impertinence and arrogance unparalleled in Australian history, have injected themselves and their theories into an arena hitherto regarded as inviolably domestic.” On the other hand, the association will use all its power to bring about real temperance reform.

Some of its objectives are: — The elimination of unnecessary and undesirable hotels through a Licenses Reduction Board; cancellation of the licenses of unscrupulous licensees and their permanent disqualification; making all hotels actually and in fact places of public accommodation and reputable social entertainment; and reduction of alcoholic strength of liquors.

There was much debate throughout 1919 in the papers and in Parliament about how the Liquor Act should be reformed. Finally, in the early hours of Wednesday morning 18 December 1919, the Parliament passed the final stage of the “Liquor (Amendment) Act 1919”.

The Act covered include a number of reforms, including …

  • Establishment of a Licenses Reduction Board
  • No new liquor or publican’s licenses to be granted
  • Reduce the number of publican’s licenses over a period of three years
    • by a number not exceeding one fourth
    • to a maximum number based on a formula involving the size of the electorate.
  • The board to hold hearings to assess which licensed premises might be closed.
  • Premises to consider for delicensing to include those where
    • there have been convictions for selling alcohol to minors, selling to intoxicated persons, gaming or prostitution offences
    • “the business in the premises is so badly conducted as to be a serious inconvenience to persons requiring accommodation, or a nuisance to the neighbours, or insufficiently provided with proper sanitary conveniences”
  • Assess the amount of compensation to be paid to owners and licenses

In Newcastle, “the board carefully inspected each of the 152 licensed premises in the electorate” and in January 1921 announced their decision that the following 23 hotels were to have their license removed.

  1. Selbourne Hotel, Newcastle
  2. Royal Crown Hotel, Adamstown
  3. Strand Hotel, Newcastle
  4. Railway Hotel, West Newcastle
  5. Federal Hotel, Stockton
  6. Carrington Hotel, Wallsend-Plattsburg
  7. Grapes Inn Hotel, Wallsend-Plattsburg
  8. Imperial Hotel, Wallsend-Plattsburg
  9. Northumberland Hotel, Wallsend-Plattsburg
  10. Miners’ Arms Hotel, Young Wallsend (Edgeworth)
  11. Bonnie Doon Hotel, Minmi
  12. All Nations’ Hotel, Newcastle
  13. Masonic Hotel, Newcastle
  14. Newcastle Hotel, Newcastle
  15. Australian Hotel, Newcastle
  16. Mafeking Hotel, Newcastle
  17. Miners’ Arms Hotel, Newcastle
  18. Clyde Hotel, Carrington
  19. Central Hotel, Lambton
  20. Reservoir Hotel, Lambton
  21. Royal Hotel, Wallsend
  22. Railway Hotel, Minmi
  23. Tattersalls Hotel, West Wallsend

The licenses weren’t revoked immediately, but simply not renewed at the expiration of the current annual license. The board also determined compensation to be paid, and announced their decision in May 1921. For the Reservoir Hotel in Lambton, compensation was decided to be “£1450 to owner, £190 licensee; total, £1640.”

Other Lambton hotels

In the article I wrote that the number of hotels in Lambton reached a peak of 16 in 1881. The graphic below charts the evolution of hotels in Lambton from 1864 to the present. In compiling the list I am including hotels that were in the Lambton Municipality, so that includes hotels that were in Dark Creek, that is the area of Jesmond east of the inner city bypass.

Click on the image below to get a larger view, or see my comprehensive list of the hotels in Lambton.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
21 Dec 1887Application by Jacob Dent for a "Conditional Publican's License for premises proposed to be erected at the intersection of George and Young streets, Lambton, to be known by the sign of Dent's Reservoir Hotel."
31 May 1888
30 May 1888
Opening of "Dent's Reservoir Hotel", on the corner of George and Young streets, opposite the reservoir.
5 Jul 1888Confirmation of the conditional license for Jacob Dent's Reservoir Hotel, Lanbton Heights.
29 Aug 1888Advertisement for the newly opened "Dent's Reservoir Hotel".
20 Mar 1919Formation of the Citizens' Rights and Liquor Reform Association, to advocate a middle ground between 'prohibition' and 'business as usual' in the alcohol trade.
18 Dec 1919
17 Dec 1919
In the early hours of Wednesday morning the final stage of the Liquor Amendment Act was adopted.
18 Jan 1921
17 Jan 1921
At the Licenses Reduction Board hearing for the Reservoir Hotel ... "Inspector Cook produced certificates of two convictions, one in May, 1919, and the other in October, 1919. Sergeant Harrison said the hotel was an old weatherboard building in a fair state of repair. Four bedrooms were available to the public. The conduct was good. Travellers did not use it a great deal, but it served a population of about 1000."
29 Jan 1921
28 Jan 1921
The Licenses Reduction Board delivers its report at the Newcastle Courthouse, announcing that 23 hotels in the Newcastle Electorate should be deprived of their licenses, including the Reservoir Hotel and Central Hotel in Lambton.
28 May 1921Compensation awarded to 23 hotels closed by the Licenses Reduction Board in Newcastle electorate, including £1640 to the Reservoir Hotel owner and licensee.
24 Aug 1921The Reservoir Hotel closes as a licensed premise.

Adamstown Post Office

Often in this column, the pairing of “then” and “now” photographs highlights what has disappeared or changed over the years. This month, one of the most striking things is the similarity. Ralph Snowball’s photograph shows guests assembled for the official opening of Adamstown’s new Post Office by the Postmaster-General Mr J Cook on 21 December 1895. Apart from a missing awning, 125 years later the exterior of the building is remarkably unchanged.

One difference can be seen in the roads. In 1895 Kyle Rd was a primitive dirt track, and the front of the post office was level with the street. In 1900 Brunker Rd was lowered when the Adamstown tramway was built, and the building gained steps and a ramp.

This was Adamstown’s third post office. The first opened in April 1877 and was operated by John and Ann Syme from their residence in Victoria St. In May 1889 William Lee took charge of postal affairs in Adamstown, and a decision was made to relocate to a more central location in Union St (Brunker Rd). Commenting on the impending move, the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate noted that “the postal authorities have decided wisely … the present office is inconvenient and most unsuitable.”

The second post office opened at the end of 1889, but its usefulness was short lived. Within a year Adamstown Council was complaining that it was only “a four-roomed dwelling-house” and was “far short of the requirements of the place at the present time.”

In 1894 the government approved the budget for a new dedicated post office, and the following year accepted the construction tender of Southon brothers for £1200.  The building had a large office and lobby and seven other rooms to accommodate post and telegraph work. Constructed from Waratah stone the building has endured. It serves the same purpose today as when it opened, for while the world has changed much, our human desire for connection and communication remains undiminished.

Opening of new post office at Adamstown, 1895. Snowball Collection. Courtesy of Newcastle Region Library. Accession Number 001 000196.
Adamstown Post Office in 2020.

The article above was first published in the December 2020 edition of The Local.


Additional Information

Adamstown’s FIrst Post Office

The first post office in Adamstown was located at 74 Victoria St, at the residence of John and Ann Syme, and was opened on 16 April 1877.

Adamstown’s first post office, photographed in 1936 on the occasion of the jubilee of Adamstown Council. Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 18 Mar 1936.
Ann Syme, first postmistress of Adamstown, photographed in 1936. Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 18 Mar 1936.
The Victoria St building that housed Adamstown’s first post office, photographed in December 2020.

Note that the funeral notice for Ann Syme indicates that she lived at 64 Victoria Street, however it appears that a renumbering of streets occurred in Adamstown at some stage, and what was 64 Victoria St later became 74 Victoria St. In 1931, Adamstown Council were considering street renumbering but decided against it at that time.

Claiming that it would prove too costly an undertaking, Adamstown Council refused last night to renumber the houses in the municipality. The town clerk (Mr. W. Brown), pointed out that in a majority of the streets the numbering was incorrect on account of many allotments being subdivided since the first numbers were issued.

The Newcastle Sun, 10 September 1931

The renumbering must have taken place at a later time, as in the modern numbering scheme there is no 64 Victoria St.

The location of John and Ann Symes house is confirmed in the old land title certificates. Lot 5 of Section 13 in Victoria St (houses 68-74 in the modern numbering scheme) was purchased by Jenkin Williams in 1877.

Purchase of land in Victoria St Adamstown by Jenkin Williams in 1877. Historical Lands Records Viewer, Vol-Fol 307-223.

Lot 5 was subsequently subdivided, with the western portion (houses 72-74 in the modern numbering scheme) sold to John Syme in 1881.

Purchase of land in Victoria St Adamstown by John Syme in 1881. Historical Lands Records Viewer, Vol-Fol 556-203.
Purchase of land in Victoria St Adamstown by John Syme in 1881. Historical Lands Records Viewer, Vol-Fol 556-203.

Adamstown’s Second Post Office

Adamstown’s second post office opened at the end of 1889 in a newly constructed wooden building on block of land in Union St (now Brunker Rd).

The new building erected by Mr. Joseph Davenport in Union-street for a post and telegraph office is completed, and the postal business of Adamstown will in future be transacted there. According to the notices posted at the office, the office will open at 9 a.m., and the postal department close at 6.30 p.m., while the telegraph department is allowed to remain open till 8 p.m.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 30 December 1889.
Adamstown Post Office in Union St (now Brunker Rd), 1890-1895.

The Torrens Purchasers Index of 1888-1890 shows that Joseph Davenport purchased a 1 rood (quarter acre) block of land in Union St. Unfortunately the Volume-Folio reference of 102-41 against this entry is erroneous and points to a different land purchase.

John Henderson, a reader of this blog, provided invaluable assistance and identified that the correct reference is 202-41, where we learn that Joseph Davenport purchased Lot 9 of Section 13 on Union St in September 1889.

Lot 9 of Section 13. Vol-Fol 202-41, p1.
Transfer of land to Joseph Davenport, Vol-Fol 202-41, p2,

From Deposited Plan 60 we see that Lot 9 of Section 13 was on the eastern side of Union St (Brunker Rd) just south of the Glebe Rd intersection.

Location of Lot 9 Section 13 in Adamstown. Deposited Plan 60 at Historical Lands Record Viewer.

This location is 257-259 Brunker Rd, where the supermarket and news agency are located today.

Lot 9 of Section 13 in December 2020.

Adamstown’s Third Post Office

In 1936, in the lead up to the celebration of Adamstown’s jubilee (50 years since the municipality was incorporated) a faded photograph of the post office opening was found in the Adamstown Council chambers. The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate of 15 February 1936 observed that …

the building in the photograph is very little dissimilar from the building that serves the public in Adamstown today

… the very same observation I wrote in my article 84 years later, before I had found this 1936 newspaper report!

The report also gives us some valuable information on the names of people appearing in the photo.

Additional interest is given to the photograph by the group of prominent men of Adamstown assembled in front of the building. Conspicuous in this group is the Postmaster-General of the time (Mr. J. Cook), who officially opened the new office in December, 1895. Others include Mr. Alfred Edden, M.L.A., who retired from the mayoralty to become first representative in the Legislative Assembly of Kahibah and, subsequently, Minister for Mines. Mr. W. Brown, who was town clerk of Adamstown for 45 years, is there, and so is Mr. J. Curley, who was the miners’ General Secretary in Newcastle for many years. Also recognised in the photograph are Mr. John Blakemore, once an alderman and one of the first residents of Adamstown; Ald. W. Cowan, J. Gray, M. Lydon. J. Thwaites, J. Robinson, T. Hetherington (who was a member of the first Adamstown Council, and Mayor in 1888, and was a victim of the Dudley colliery disaster in 1898), and Messrs. J. C. Cosgrave (Schoolmaster) and A. Shaw (afterwards an alderman).

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
20 Feb 1877
17 Feb 1877
At a public meeting, a speaker stated that "a post-office was badly wanted, and, after being duly discussed, it was proposed and carried that the committee take such steps as the case may require towards getting the same."
5 Jun 1877
16 Apr 1877
Government Gazette: "A Post Office was established on the 16th ultimo [16 April 1877] at Adamstown, near Hamilton."
3 May 1889"A "bungle" has taken place with regard to the local post-office. Since the establishment of a post-office in Adamstown it has been conducted by Mr. John Syme and family till last Wednesday, when Mr. William Lee took charge of the postal affairs of the township. It is understood that the post office will be at Mr. Lee's residence, pending a more central place being arranged for."
26 Nov 1889"A building is being erected on Mr. J. Davenport's land in Union-street for the Post and Telegraph Office. In causing the office to be removed to Union-street the postal authorities have decided wisely, and in the interests of the people. The present office is inconvenient and most unsuitable."
16 Dec 1889"The new post and telegraph office is now nearing completion, and within the next fortnight the postal business will be transacted in the new office."
30 Dec 1889"The new building erected by Mr. Joseph Devenport in Union-street for a post and telegraph office is completed, and the postal business of Adamstown will in future be transacted there."
25 Oct 1890"At the council meeting on Thursday night the Mayor called attention to the pressing necessity there is for better accommodation at the local post and telegraph office. The building in which the postal, telegraph, and savings bank business is done is a four-roomed dwelling-house, and though it is far in advance of the building formerly used, it is far short of the requirements of the place at the present time."
12 Feb 1891"… the Government Architect has submitted a sketch plan for a new post and telegraph office at Adamstown, and the Postmaster-General having approved of the same, the papers have been returned to the Works Department for action."
23 Mar 1892"Messrs. Melville and Edden to-day interviewed the Minister for Works and handed to him a strongly-worded protest against the erection of a wooden building at Adamstown for a post and telegraph office, and urging him to decline receiving tenders for this work, as it was promised when the money was voted that the building should be of brick."
8 Jul 1892"Alderman ADAMS, Mayor of Adamstown, introduced by Mr. Edden, interviewed the Postmaster-General with reference to the new post-office at Adamstown. After some conversation, Mr. KIDD promised that the original plans would be carried out immediately."
14 Sep 1894"… the Works Department had been asked to make provision on the estimates for 1895 for funds for the purpose of erecting a post and telegraph office at Adamstown."
15 Dec 1894In budget estimates … "a considerable amount is set apart for the erection of and additions to post offices at Adamstown, Minmi, and other places in the vicinity."
1 Feb 1895"… tenders will shortly be invited for the erection of the post-office."
27 Mar 1895Tenders for erection of Adamstown Post Office called for, closing date 10 April 1895.
30 Apr 1895"The tender of Southon Brothers has been accepted for the erection of a post and telegraph office at Adamstown, the price being £1143."
23 Dec 1895
21 Dec 1895
"THE new post and telegraph office at Adamstown was formally opened to the public on Saturday afternoon by Mr. J. Cook, Postmaster-General, in the presence of a large number of people."
11 Jan 1900"Mr. Shaw, an engineer in connection with the tram extension, placed before the council plans showing that Brunker-road will be cut down 2ft 3in in front of the post-office and about 12in fronting St. Stephen's Church."
15 Feb 1936"… discovery among some old lumber at the Adamstown Council Chambers this week of a faded photograph taken on the occasion of the official opening of the present Adamstown Post Office". The article contains names of some of the men in the photograph.
18 Mar 1938Obituary of Ann Syme, aged 83, the first postmistress of Adamstown. Buried in Sandagate Cemetery 24 February 1938.

How it was

A few weeks ago I attended a Zoom seminar run by Newcastle Family History Society, at which Jeff Madsen explained how to navigate and search the Historical Land Records Viewer to find old land title certificates, which can contain valuable historical information, as well as the occasional map.

I had used this service before to find some old maps, but was never able to find anything when searching the Torrens (land titles) records. I learnt that the reason why I never found anything is because none of the contents are indexed. The only way you can find a land title certificate is if you know the Volume and Folio number. This is often referred to as the Vol-Fol, and is searched for by entering the numbers separated by a hyphen as shown below.

Without a Vol-Fol number, your chance of finding what you want is literally millions to one. However, having found a title certificate (that’s a story for another post), it will often contain a reference to the previous certificate, and possibly one or more references to following certificates. These links then form a ‘Chain of Title’ that shows the progressive changes of ownership and subdivision of land. Using this concept of ‘chain of title’, starting with my own property in Lambton I was able to trace the chain back to the original mineral lease granted to Morehead and Young in 1863 (Vol-Fol 2-4), and then trace the chain forward to Vol-Fol 3-156 from 1864 wherein the plan of the township of Lambton appears on page 3.

Finding this map was very exciting. It is the oldest map I had found of Lambton, more than 30 years older than what I had seen before. The map revealed a few interesting details:

  • It confirmed my previous suspicion that the original name for Howe St was How St, almost certainly named after Robert How, an investor in the Scottish and Australian Mining Company.
  • The main road from Wallsend to Newcastle was originally going to be Dickson St.
  • The section of Grainger St between Dickson St and Young St (Newcastle Rd now) was originally called Reservoir St.
  • Grainger St appears on this map as “Granger” without the ‘i’. Unlike the ‘How/Howe’ discrepancy, this is almost certainly a mis-spelling on the 1864 map. Newspaper reports and Government Gazettes overwhelmingly and from an early date spell it as “Grainger”. The street is named after “Charles Garston Grainger” which returns 454 results in Trove, whereas searching for “Charles Garston Granger” returns no results.
Map of the planned Lambton Township, 1864. Vol-Fol 3-156.

The Edden political dynasty

I was recently asked by a reader about Alfred Edden and Alfred Edden junior, their service in local councils, and if there was any connection to Arthur Edden Oval sports field in New Lambton. Here’s what I found …

There were three generations of Edden’s in the political sphere in NSW, with father, son and grandson each being elected to a different council in the Newcastle area.

Alfred Edden (1850 – 1930)

Alfred Edden was born in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England on 24 December 1850. He emigrated to Australia about 1879 and settled in Adamstown by 1884. After Adamstown was incorporated as municipality on 31 December 1885, Edden was elected on 11 Feb 1886 as an alderman to the first council. He was re-elected to another term as alderman on 11 Feb 1888. He was elected as Mayor of Adamstown on two occasions, in 1889 and 1891.

In 1891 he was elected to the NSW parliament in the electorate of Northumberland, and consequently resigned as an alderman of Adamstown Council. In 1894 he contested the NSW electorate of Kahibah and won, remaining as the member of that electorate until 18 February 1920. Alfred Edden died on 27 January 1930, and was buried in Sandgate cemetery on 29 January 1930.

Grave of Alfred Edden (1850-193) in Sandgate Cemetery/

Alfred Edden junior (1882 – 1954)

Alfred Edden junior the eldest son of Alfred Edden senior, was born in 1882.

He was became an alderman on New Lambton council in 1908 when he was one of the three nominees for the three vacant positions in Third Ward. He was re-elected in 1911 and 1914, serving until 1916. After a break of a decade he had a second period as alderman in the New Lambton council in the years 1927-1934. He was elected as Mayor of New Lambton on two occasions, in 1911 and 1930.

He died in November 1954 and was buried in Sandgate Cemetery on 30 November 1954.

Grave of Alfred Edden junior (1882-1954) in Sandgate Cemetery.

Arthur Ernest Edden (1902 – 1971)

Arthur Ernest Edden was the son of Alfred Edden junior, and was born sometime around 1902-03, based on him being 12 years old in 1915, and 68 years old when he died in 1971. Although his first name was “Arthur”, he was also known as “Alf”.

In November 1950 he nominated as a candidate in the Mid-West ward of Newcastle Council and was elected as an alderman in December 1950.

In September 1953 he attempted to follow his grandfather’s achievements, and put himself forward in the contest for ALP pre-selection for the NSW seat of Kahibah. He lost the pre-selection to Joshua Arthur.

In December 1953 he was re-elected to Newcastle Council. I have not been able to confirm the years of his remaining service as an councillor, but he was elected again in 1958.

By 1967 Arthur Ernest Edden was on the board of the Hunter District Water Board, and served there for a few years.

He died on 31 January 1971 and was buried in Sandgate Cemetery on 2 February 1971. In May 1972 a sports field in the Newcastle District Park was renamed “Arthur Edden Oval” in his honour.

NSW Government Gazette, 26 May 1972, naming “Arthur Edden Oval”
Grave of Alderman Arthur E Edden (1902-1971) in Sandgate Cemetery

Note: at the time of writing this post, both the Australian Dictionary of Biography and the NSW Parliament entry for Alfred Edden (1850-1930) have his date of death incorrectly recorded as 27 July 1930. The correct date is 27 January 1930.