Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

St. Aubin's Arms


St. Aubin's Arms was advertised by Henry Dangar and leased by James Briggs until 1838....The St. Aubin's Inn, proposed to be the St. Aubin's Arms, being on the same great road, and in the flourishing district of Invermein. The House contains seven good rooms, besides attics and attached to the same is a small paddock and stock yard. A kitchen and stable will be immediately erected thereon. [1]

George Chivers

George Chivers arrived on the Lang in 1832. He married Elizabeth Burrell Ferguson in 1835. A publican's licence was granted to him at the sign of the St. Aubins Arms on 10 July 1838.

In 1840 Timothy Ferry and Roger Hogan were employed as constables at Scone. Eighty years later in an article in the Scone Advocate regarding the police force in those days, George Chivers and the St. Aubins Inn were mentioned....

"Ferry and Hogan led the liquor trade a lively dance in those distant days. If the walls of the old brick building still standing in Main Street, when it served the purpose of an inn could only speak, what a story a history of early Scone it would unfold. The board that swung from the upright in front of the house conveyed the information that George Chivers was licenced to sell etc., That Mr. Chivers must have driven a flourishing trade there is ample evidence, for his appearances before the Bench to answer for breaches of the Act were as frequent as they were costly. Had his business not been stable he could never have met the fines.

Mr. Wright of the Prince of Wales Inn at Aberdeen, was likewise shown no leniency at the hands of the law. Fines of £5 were common for supplying after hours, as also was the revenue swollen considerably by 2 lifts for ladling spirits out to assigned men, allowing of gambling, dancing, singing and other forms of revelry on the premises. On one occasion Timothy had Mr. Chivers on the carpet for not having the lamp outside his house burning and when the Bench announced that the fine for this breach of the Act was £2 with 2/6 costs the defendant was about to question the severity of the imposition when the Magistrate interposed, 'I say, two pounds two shillings and sixpence'. Constables Ferry and Hogan worked together and many a furtive raid they carried out successfully. On one occasion they encountered a party of six in the vicinity of Chivers' the link of evidence that convicted the party being their unruly gestures and subsequent fighting attitude. The revenue benefited by 60 shillings".[2]

In November 1840 the Australian newspaper reported in their country news that another Inn or house of accommodation was much wanted in the district of Scone -

"I hope some spirited individual will build one in the township before next licensing day; or, at all events, I trust, the next landlord that rents the St Aubin Arms will be more accommodating to his customers, as many complaints are made of his haughty and independent manner. No doubt it arises from his making an independence in a very short time, and in fact rose from nothing" [3]

On 21st December 1840, when the Inn was robbed by the Jewboy Gang, George Chivers was absent from home, however his wife Elizabeth was there and his brother Joseph Chivers had charge of the Inn. Later, at the sensational trial of Jewboy Gang, Mrs. George Chivers recalled the day she first set eyes on the bushrangers.....

"Mrs. George Chivers who being sworn, deposes: That deponent's husband's public house is situated on the estate of St. Aubins in the county of Brisbane. That on Monday morning last the 21st inst., the deponent saw some persons on horseback, in the appearance of gentlemen, ride up to Mr. Dangar's store, and deponent was surprised when they did not call at the public house. That deponent observed one of them to have a ribbon in his hat, which induced her to think that they might be bushrangers, and on turning to go and see what was the matter, the prisoner Glanville entered the bedroom with a piece in his hand and several pistols stuck in his belt. That the prisoner on entering said. Mrs. what have you got here? The bushrangers remained about 1/2 an hour and after ransacking the Chivers' house, they made away with about twenty pounds in silver and about fifty pounds in bank notes as well as a pair of handcuffs, watches and guns". [4]

John P. Wilkie

In 1842, John P. Wilkie took over the St. Aubins Arms and re-named the premises the White Swan Inn.

......"Travellers to Liverpool Ranges, New England etc are respectfully informed that the undersigned having taken the Inn lately occupied by Mr. Chivers, has at great expense made considerable additions thereto and fitted it up in a style of comfort not often met with in the bush; has also repaired and added to the stables; and the whole is now open to the public under a new sign. Parties travelling therefore whose arrangements will admit of their passing the night at Scone will find that at the White Swan Inn they may obtain good entertainment for man and horse". J.P. Wilkie[5]

Notes and Links

After leaving the hotel trade George Chivers moved to Muswellbrook where he began manufacturing tweed. He died at Lake Macquarie in November 1845.

In the reminiscences of William Bridge published in the Scone Advocate many years later, he recalled the premises of the St. Aubin's Arms - "Uncles of the late Mr. J. D. Stafford, of Scone, one subsequently took over the management of the St. Aubin's Inn, Scone. That it was not a profitable proposition was the opinion of the old hands of the time. It was in later years converted into a flour mill by Mr. P. W. Thrum, and later again as a butter factory by Mr. Withycombe, and still later as a freezing works, under which it still runs just off Sydney-street. The wife of the writer was born in the old establishment 79 years ago, her father being an engineer employed by Mr. Thrum.

A wool-wash was run up in conjunction with his property by Mr. Wright, the progenitor of the well known Bickham (Blandford) pastoral family of the name. The plant had presumably been in use for many years previously to its being washed away by a flood fifty-seven years ago, and writer remembers seeing quantities of wool from the wash caught high and dry in trees along the river bank after the waters had receded." [6]


[1] Sydney Morning Herald 12 April 1838

[2] Scone Advocate 22 February 1921

[3] The Australian 21 November 1840

[4] Scone Advocate 20 August 1920

[5] Hunter River Gazette 19 February 1842

[6] The Scone Advocate 29 Jul 1927