Storekeepers of Hartley


Storekeepers of Hartley


The first successful storekeepers of Hartley was George & Elizabeth Jarvis. Elizabeth Holley had married George Jarvis in 1840.  By 1861 George Jarvis  was a very successful storekeeper, landholder and mortgagee for 9 hotels as well as the Harp of Erin.  They applied for and was granted the operation of the Post Office at Little Hartley and George Jarvis was appointed Post Master in  1857 who was paid £12 per year  it became the oldest post office operating in Australia closing in 1970


In 1861 George and Elizabeth Jarvis bought a property on the ‘Bathurst Road’ with two cottages which had been built in 1857 and for the past 4 years it was operating as a small inn as well as the100 acres surrounding them. These properties were adjoining Joseph Collits property - the Rose Inn which at that time was being run by James Sherringham.


In 1865 the rich oil shale was first mined in the Hartley Valley and there was a demand for  hotels to service the booming mining trade.


Rose Inn was being run by Thomas Markwell in association with Perry & Elliot  who held the contract for the Cobb & Co coaching  run.


In 1866 George & Elizabeth enlarged the farmhouse as an inn known as the Kerosene Inn and built a detached kitchen a the rear as well as a separate brick stable and loft.   Originally a four roomed cottage, it was doubled in size with the addition of a tap room, storeroom, dining room and extra bedrooms with a new roof of shingles bridging the additions. John Martin was the licensee then  Louis Mead took over the license from 1871 till 1873 when Louis Mead went up to take over Perry’s Hotel at Mt Victoria.


The Inn continued to trade under the licensee of Samuel Ward and was then sold by Elizabeth Lewington in 1881 to George Stevens.  In 1889 the property was then sold to Capt.Thomas Rowntree, formally a mayor of Balmain.


At the age of 55 George Jarvis died on 13th September 1867 and Elizabeth  became the postmaster. She then married   3 years later to William Lewington in 1870, who became the area postmaster. William Lewington  died in 1883 at Glebe.


Edward Field was declared bankrupt in February 1873.


Elizabeth then moved in with her brother George. P. Lewington into the Old Rose Inn which by this stage had been closed as an inn for the last 10 years. George  had previously been married to Jane and they had a son George. E. born in 1870.


George Lewington had  bought the 200 acres of land designated as the property of  “P Collett” which held the building known as the Rose Inn. The first wedding held at Rose inn was Edward Fields when he married  Mary Anne Annesley at Rose Inn  in 1849. Later  Edward Field was to became a bankrupt over the failing Rose Inn but he still owned and occupied the land running behind the 200 acres of the Rose Inn.


Elizabeth Lewington sold the “Harp” in 1883 to  Henry Williams upon the death of her husband William.


Henry Williams operated the old Harp of Erin Inn as a General Store and Post Office until it closed in 1975. The Williams  had moved their Balmain Store from Hartley Vale when the shale mines closed and rebuilt  it on the site of the Harp of Erin replacing the earlier wattle and daub part of the structure. (Henry Williams the storekeeper lost it to Henry Williams the tailor of Lithgow  in a card game???-source: Romancing the Inns)


Around 1875 Elizabeth Lewington bought Mount York Farm  or Collits Inn as it was previously known 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 from 1877 till 1879 when the name changed to the Vale Hotel and was licensed to Ann Curnow


In 1879 the Comet Inn was licensed to Thomas Thompson and there were 12 inns 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.


Pages from Store Ledger 

James Annesley  (Mary Ann Annesley had married Edward Field)

William Collitts/John Collitts