Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Family Hotel

East Maitland

George and Elizabeth Muir arrived on the Jupiter in 1823 accompanied by their four children Elizabeth 13, Mary Ann 16, Francis 9 and Pricilla 7. More children were born in the colony - James Richard, Rebecca and Matilda.

George Muir served as chief constable and postmaster in Newcastle in 1825 before moving to the Maitland area.

He built the Union Inn at East Maitland and held the publican's licence in the years 1829 - 32. Elizabeth ran the Inn until 1830 when George resigned from the position of chief constable at Newcastle. George Muir died in Maitland on Christmas day 1833 after a severe illness.[1]

James Pawsey took over the licence for the Union Inn in 1834.

Elizabeth Muir and Family

Elizabeth Muir was granted a licence for The Family Hotel at East Maitland in 1834.[2]

In 1835 Elizabeth, second daughter of George and Elizabeth Muir, married William Eckford, son of Newcastle pilot William Eckford at Muir's Family Hotel.[3] She died in 1838.

In 1835 their eldest daughter Mary Ann (wife of George Furber of the George and Dragon Hotel) passed away age 24.

Another daughter Priscilla married Dr. Henry Turner Harrington and moved to Philadelphia where she died on 24th November 1848.

Matilda Caroline Muir married John Cornish.

Lady Jane Franklin on her journey to Maitland travelled by omnibus. She described Elizabeth Muir's Inn - 'a good-looking inn on the left raised a little way from the road which used to pass close to her, but is now cut through rock, leaving her on the bank. Mrs. Muir complained to Sir George (Gipps) and he gave her hope of making a road for her. The Inn was called 'The Family Rose'. [4]

Elizabeth Muir retained the licence for the Family Hotel for some years. Mr. Justice Dickinson often stayed at Mrs. Muir's Hotel while holding circuit court in Maitland.[5]

In December 1846 Elizabeth Muir announced that she had relinquished the licence for the Family Hotel and had arranged her large and commodious house for a private boarding establishment for families and gentlemen. The house was said to be delightfully situated, commanding a fine view of a large tract of country and in the immediate vicinity of the court house. With the spacious and roomy accommodation Mrs. Muir was hoping to attract the patronage of the Gentlemen of the Bar as well as jurors and witnesses.

The licence for the Family Hotel was transferred to Henry Eckford in November 1846.[6] He then moved the licence from the Family Hotel to his own premises in Morpeth Road, the Wool Team Inn[7].

Elizabeth Muir died age eighty-eight at her residence Wormley House, East Maitland on 20 November 1877. [8] She was buried in the Glebe Burial Ground, Maitland.

Notes and Links

1). The Chief Justice resided at Muir's Family Hotel during Circuit Court in 1842 - Colonial Observer 14 September 1842

2). Arrival of the Jupiter in Hobart in 1823 - Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 - 1825) Sat 15 Nov 1823

3). James Richard Muir, son of George and Elizabeth was granted a licence for the Rose Inn at West Maitland in 1846

4). Land Grant at Newcastle.....101 acres, 1 rood, 24 perches of land originally granted to Elizabeth Muir as 100 acres. Applications for land - Name of applicant Edward C. Merewether....No. 3881, Parish of Newcastle. Bounded on the north by the village of Adamstown 52 chains; easst by E.C. Merewether 950 acres 1950 links; south by other land of E.C. Merewether, 52 chains; and west by Waratah Coal Company's lease 1950 links. Sydney Morning Herald 4 December 1875

5). Philip Henry Magrane, son-in-law of Elizabeth Muir indicted for the crime of fraudulent insolvency - The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Mon 14 Mar 1853

6). Find a Grave - Elizabeth Muir

7). Wilton Hack leased Wormley House and it became a Grammar School [9]


[1] Sydney Gazette 6 January 1834.

[2] New South Wales, Australia, Certificates for Publicans' licences, 1830-1849, State Archives NSW; Series: 14401; Item: [4/65-66]; Reel: 5052

[3] Sydney Gazette 8 June 1835

[4] This errant lady: Jane Franklin's overland journey to Port Philip and Sydney. p. 131

[5] Maitland Mercury 6 September 1845

[6] Maitland Mercury 18 November 1846

[7] Maitland Mercury 2 December 1846

[8] Sydney Morning Herald 26 Nov 1877

[9] Maitland Mercury 27 December 1877