Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Fitzroy Hotel

East Maitland

Portrait of Henry Reeves, 1847] / lithograph by W.W. Thwaites - State Library of NSW
Portrait of Henry Reeves - State Library NSW

Henry Reeves arrived on the convict ship Hercules in 1825. He was assigned to Hamilton C. Sempill in the Invermein district where he worked as a bullock driver. He married Mary Grenville who arrived on the convict ship Forth in 1830. He was issued with a ticket of leave for Invermein in 1833.

He had an extraordinary rise to success in the twenty-two years he lived in the Hunter Valley region. He became the owner of a livery stable in West Maitland and also began a coaching service in the town. He was licencee for the Albion Inn in 1842. In 1847 he moved to larger premises - The Fitzroy Hotel. In 1847 the Stores of Isaac Beckett were situated opposite the hotel.

A ball and supper to celebrate his moving to the Fitzroy were held 'on a first rate scale' on a Wednesday evening in July of that year. Over one hundred guests attended. The ball room was tastefully decorated with festoons of boughs, flowers, and fruit. The supper table was spread in a style that had seldom been equalled in the district. A good band was in attendance and dancing was kept up with unabated spirit till nearly seven o'clock on Thursday morning; the greatest harmony and good feeling was said to have prevailed the whole night[1].

In 1849, Mr. Quinn the Australian Tight Rope Dancer kept Fitzroy Hotel patrons amused when he performed in the yard of the Fitzroy while awaiting the procurement of suitable tackle to perform the feat of crossing the Hunter River.

In November 1849, Henry Reeves announced he was retiring from business and advertised to sell his stock, carriages and furniture. Also at this time he advertised to sell a parcel of land that was part of an original grant to Mary Hunt (Molly Morgan) situated near the Racecourse, West Maitland.

The licence for the Fitzroy Hotel was transferred from Henry Reeves to Isaac Gorrick [2].

Mary, the wife of Henry Reeves died at West Maitland on 25 January 1852 aged 39. Henry Reeves died on 19 April 1852 aged 47. He had suffered from heart disease for many years and had been under medical care for weeks before his death.

Isaac Gorrick

In May 1851 Isaac Gorrick joined with Morris Magney from the Caledonia Hotel in Newcastle to run a daily coach between Maitland and Newcastle.


[1] Maitland Mercury 24 July 1847

[2] Maitland Mercury 5 December 1849