The Inns and their keepers of Hartley 

The Inns and their keepers of Hartley  


The Australian Roadside Inn was a witness to a grand parade of history, characters and communities.  The roads that passed their doors carried on its corrugated surface the future  of the fledgling colony and the inns were encouraged by the Governors to assist the adventurous travelers.   There were “good inns” and then there were “just barley inns”.  The glow of the light in the distance was welcoming to the weary traveler and the warm fire in the parlor was eagerly looked forward to at each stop. Once inside, the cozy glow of the fire was a good setting for cheerful discussions with fellow travelers. Conversation was as varied as was on the state of intoxication were the travellers. It was a chance to catch up with the news from the regions and swap stories and titillate over tales of scandal.


A law was passed in 1825 that stated that every inn must provide accommodation for at least 2 persons and in 1830 another law came into being which required all innkeepers to burn a whale oil lamp outside the inn at night


In 1830 the first year that license fees were introduced and a fee of 25 pounds had to be paid to keep a “Common Inn, Alehouse or victualling House, and to sell fermented and spirituous liquors in any quantity,  The 25 pound license fee commenced on the first July and continued in force until the 30th June of the following year.  In 1833 the fee went up to 30 pounds which was quite a large expense.


The Rose Inn was capable of accommodating genteel companies from its location and adequate number of apartments was found worthy of the most liberal patronage and support by passing travelers.  As was the case in the early days, the patronage depended on your  background, hence Irish Protestants tended to frequent those Inns, while the Catholic Irish also had their own favorites.  Due to the background of Pierce and Mary Collits,  Joseph’s  Rose Inn would have been mainly Protestants . 


The custom was that the first their  wagon either underneath or out, Sophie Stranger made mention of her trip to Bathurst with 5 small children in July 1841.

“The fare on the mail cart which left Sydney for Bathurst on certain days was too expensive as the fare was 90/- each person so they decided to travel via some of the drays which were constantly on the road to and from Sydney.  She decide to accept a n arrangement with  a traveler who had purchased land at Kings Plain Bathurst and he agreed to take the family on his draw with his 2 horses.  She was conversant with the dray as it was the same as the small brewers used in England.  She estimated the journey would take a week and that there would be sufficient room on the dray for the bedding,  & provision as well as herself and the 5 children.   However once the deal had been done the driver proceeded to load up the dray with various items of a bulk and weight nature paying no regard to their comfort or that of the horses.


“And now , dear Mother, fancy me with my five dear babes seated on the top of this miserable load. 

Eliza walking on a little out of the town and my husband


By 1817 the effects of floods of  the Nepean was  able to be kept in account and the newer districts of Airds and Appin were able to produce wheat so that the produce of the Castlereagh settlers was now almost independent of the flood-farmers an they were yearly going out of fashion, much for the benefit of the state who had to constantly compensate them.  This was one of the reasons why Pierce Collit had requested  permission to establish an Inn over the Mountains which he said he had viewed. 


The Rose Inn

In 1846 Joseph Collits held the license for Rose Inn  and  in 1852  James Sherringham ran the Inn for 10 years till his death in 1862.  Thomas George Markwell then  became the licensee for 7 years till 1869 when Edward Field the 3rd took over the lease.

Apart from the Rose Inn there were other substantial Inns catering to the ever constant flow of  travelers.

The  Harp of Erin was built on 100 acres granted to Michael Flanagan in 1831 and is the oldest remaining brick building west of Mount Victoria.   The Inn was first licensed in 13th February 1832 to Michael Flanagan who subsequently had its licensed revoked and Andrew Gardiner then took up the license in 1836 who renamed it the Plough Inn.

The Inn was built in several stages.  The initial construction was wattle and daub and has long been removed.  One brick structure consist of two rooms with a verandah connecting it to a larger brick structure of four rooms.  The verandah has been filled in to put all rooms under the one roof.

One of the buildings at the back which were stables have sustained fire damage and some of the original shingles still remain under the corrugated iron roof.

In 1879 a timber building  located at Hartley Vale was relocated onto the western end of the Inn and opened as a store, cnr Gt Western Highway and Coxs River Rd, Little Hartley


Just a short way up the road a  small building was opened as a Inn in 1857 on the next property adjoining to Rose Inn  and was enlarged to become the  Kerosene Inn.

On 18th October 1852 James Sherringham, married Martha Hayes at the Rose Inn became the licensee for 10 years till his death in 27th October 1862  at the early age of 47 when he  died at the Mt Victoria Inn. Martha Sherringham, his brother John's wife was shown as the licensee at the Mt Victoria Inn  in 1865. Martha ‘s brother Nicholas Delaney took over running the Inn in 1878.


John Sherringham & Martha Delaney was married in 1846 and had their daughter Mary in 1846, then Henry in 1847, Charles in 1851, John in 1854,  William in  1858, Ellen in 1861 and all were born at Penrith.

Robert Sherringham.  


John Meade took over the license of Mt Victoria Inn in 1866 till 1870 when he left to run the Kerosene Inn from 1871 to 1873 .  He then went up to the top of the pass to manage the Royal Hotel ( now the Victoria & Albert) from 1874 to1879, his wife Ann Meade then managed from 1878  to 1881. Herbert Delaney also became a licensee in 1900. The Royal was built in 1867 to co-incide with the building of the Railway Station.


Nicholas Delaney took over the Mt Victoria Inn in 1879  till 1890 then his brother Edward  took over for 2 years from 1890 till 1891 then Nicholas took over again in 1892 till its closure in 1893. 

The Delaney’s ran the butcher shop which was built on the side of the building.  Joseph Collits was a large landowner and ran a considerable amount of cattle and would bring in the cattle from Forbes for sale at Hartley for the Sydney market.  The  butcher shop would have done a roaring trade being at the base of the Pass.


Edward Delaney also was  the licensee of  The Royal Hotel at Rydal from 1897 to 1898., then came back  to the Commercial Hotel at Rydal in 1900.


One Tree Hill Inn was run by William Orbell from 1867 to 1869 then John Perry  took it over and renamed it  Perry’s and he ran it   from 1870 till 1880 when he died and the hotel was then taken over by his wife from 1881 till 1883. Perry’s Hotel was demolished and stood near the Post Office building.


John Skeene ran the Coach & Horses Inn  in the Hartley Township,   James Howard in  1840, Joseph Jager ran the Coach and Horses in 1841, 1842   


John Jager had the Woodman  Inn at Hartley in 1841, then he went out to the Queens Arms at Bathurst. 

James Young 1843  then again in 1856 with John Tindall as the owner in 1858

Joseph Wood ran the Inn in 1853 to 1854



David Jones had run the Weatherboard Inn at Weatherboard (Wentworth Falls) in 1848, while Thomas Jones ran The New Inn in 1844 at Green Swamp. Maria Jones also ran the The Green Man in 1847 and 1848 while John Jones ran The New Inn at Green Swamp in 1843 and 1845. David Jones then ran the Mt Victoria Inn for 5 years from 1853 till 1858. No record is available as to who was the licensee of the Mt Victoria inn until 1865 when Martha  Sherringham is recorded. Ironiacally there were two Martha Sherringhams in Little Hartley at this time- J


Around 1875 Elizabeth Lewington bought Mount York Farm from James Rawsthorne and the building was redecorated by putting in ceilings and painting the house in stone and brown colours.  In 1876 it was reopened as the Mount York Hotel and operated under license to John Kelly till 1879 when renamed the Hartley Vale Inn or the  Vale Hotel.  It was licensed to Ann Curnow who ran it from 1879 till 1880.


Elizabeth Ward then took over from 1881 till 1882. Samuel Ward had held the license for the Kerosene Inn from 1873 till 1880. 


William Rowe from 1883 till 1887 then he went to Club House Hotel in Lithgow. .  James Paton had the license for 2 years  in 1888 and 1889 then William Watkins ran it for 4 years from 1890 till 1894 when Thomas Briggs  ran it for 3 years from 1895 till 1898. Susan Rowe took up the license in 1899 and George Burrows ran it in 1900.


In 1879 the Comet Inn was licensed to Thomas Thompson and there were 12 pubs in the space of about quarter of a mile of the road in Hartley. Balmains Store was supplying everything for the miners and it flourished till 1913 when the mining of shale ceased.