Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Muswellbrook History

Muswellbrook By Year

1827 - The earliest reference to the name Muscle Creek in The Australian 14 February 1827

1831 - Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell's expedition passed through Muswellbrook in November

1831 - Rev. Wilton, Chaplain of Newcastle made frequent visits to the Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook area

1833 - On 5th August Surveyor Robert Dixon was instructed to prepare a field plan for the village reserve set up at the junction of Muscle Creek and the Hunter River

1834 - The first town blocks were offered for sale on 26th August 1834

1835 - Second auction in June

1836 - 1839 - A great drought, leading up to the 1839 - 40 depression

1837 - A coach began running between Darlington, Muswellbrook and Invermein

1837 - Rev. Rusden of Maitland visited Muswellbrook for services

1837 - The first Post Office opened in a store in the main street, Bridge Street. Richard Dangar the first Postmaster

1838 - Court House established. Magistrate Edward Denny Day

1839 - Meeting held at the Post Office on 10th June to discuss building a Church of England and parsonage;

1839 - Henry Pierce established a saddler and harness maker business

1839 - Convicts were employed clearing a paddock and making a surrounding three-railed fence for the Mount Police which was completed by September. They were then set to work making the creeks near the township passable for drays. They also felled timber and cleared the streets of the town of it, about 25 acres. Their names were Andrew Dunn, Daniel Sullivan, William Wade, William Jones and William Schofield - Muswellbrook Court of Petty Sessions, Letter Books, 1838-1851

1839 - 1840 - The beginning of the Depression. Farmers began boiling down cattle and sheep and sale of tallow became important source of money

1840 - The first School House was built

1840 - The Benevolent Society established

1840 - A Court House was erected and Presbyterian services were held there prior to the building of St. John's Church

1840 - The Jewboy Gang passed through Muswellbrook

1840 On 30th December Francis Allman was appointed Police Magistrate

1841 - A steam flour mill established by George Chivers

1841 - Death of Sir Francis Forbes of Skellator

1842 - Township of Forbes town laid out on the south side of Muscle Creek by Sir Francis Forbes two sons Francis and David. This town did not eventuate

1842 - Mr. Stanley completed building of a mansion house with shops for a butcher, chandler and barber

1842 - A bridge across Stanley Creek (Possum Gully) gave rise to the name Bridge Street

1843 - Old St. Alban's Church of England was built on the banks of Possum Gully during the incumbency of Rev. William Gore. The church was built by Captain Scott of Bengalla with his own convict labourer and workmen

1843 - A site for a Presbyterian church, manse and school selected and approved. Citizens associated with the building of the church were Messrs George Bowman, John Hudson Keys, Thomas Simpson Hall, Ebenezer Hall and Donald Macintyre.

1843 - Rev. Irving Hetherington of Singleton was the minister in charge

1844 - George Chiver's steam flour mill converted to a clothing factory where colonial tweeds and woollen goods were for sale

1845 - A Temperance Society was established

1845 - The Church of England of St. Alban's consecrated by Bishop Broughton of Newcastle

1847 - The Mitchell Line was abandoned by coaches in favour of the new road to Singleton

1848 - Bishop Tyrrell visited the town on horseback; the first mail contract issued to Thomas Dangar

1848 - Rev. Richard George Boodle arrived in Muswellbrook

1848 - Joseph Chivers established the Muswellbrook Woolwashing and Fellmonger business

1849 - Meeting of the Magistrates, Clergy and Gentry held at the Court House to establish Benevolent Society

1850 Rev. John Dunmore Lang visited Muswellbrook and preached in the brick Presbyterian Church on 10th November

1850 - Calls for a new lockup - A new lock up was needed as all prisoners from the northern district on route to Maitland gaol had to be confined in the old wooden building used since police were first stationed in the district.

1851 - Completion of the Court House - Designed by late Colonial Architect. 3 rooms, the middle one sufficiently large to hold Quarter Sessions; Ornamental stone at the front. Contractor Henry Nowland

1851 - Rev. Boodle provided a substantial feast for the children of the St. Alban's Episcopal school on the occasion of the annual exams. A pleasant day, the loud laughter and hearty calls ringing through the quiet parsonage grounds until sunset when all departed

1852 - Death of Captain Samuel Wright;

1852 - Muswellbrook Cloth Factory and Flour Mill sold - a brick building 93ft long x 23 ft wide.

1853 - Chiver's Flour Mill purchased by John Portus

1853 - Denman township established on the village reserved and gazetted as a town. Named for Judge Denman, grand uncle of Lord Denman who was to become the fifth Governor General of Australia from 1911 - 1914

1854 - Chiver's Flour Mill purchased by Joseph and Alfred Denison

1855 - The Great Northern Railway line for the Hunter Valley commenced from Newcastle

1856 - Soap and candle manufacturers established in Lower Brook Street

1857 - The Great Northern Railway line reached Maitland;

1857 - A mechanics Institute established in Muswellbrook;

1857 - The first hospital set up in an old stone building which the Muswellbrook Benevolent Society purchased from Joseph Ashburn

1857 - A great flood occurred.

Timeline References

Excerpt from The History of Muswellbrook, Muswellbrook Shire Council; The Maitland Mercury; The Sydney Herald; The Sydney Gazette

Land Grants

Hugh Cameron William Dangar William Dumaresq Henry Dumaresq Thomas Potter Macqueen Peter McIntyre Muswellbrook History Early Hunter Valley Settler Map 8Although the sale of town allotments was only approved in 1833 settlers were on adjoining properties some years earlier. In Dangar's Map of the Country Bordering upon the Hunter River, the following people were listed as having grants adjoining Muswellbrook. -
Francis and George Forbes,
Captain Francis Allman,
Colonel Henry Dumaresq,
Lieut. Wm. Cox,
William Merritt,
William Buchanan,
Sarah and Elizabeth Jenkins.
Sarah and Elizabeth Jenkins arrived in Sydney in February, 1821 and in March were each granted 500 acres, located nearby where the town of Muswellbrook is situated

First Allotments Sold in Muswellbrook 1834 - 1835

George Forbes 26 August 1834 12 roods
Henry Nowland 8 April 1835 22 roods
Henry Nowland 8 April 1835 32 roods
Henry Nowland 8 April 1835 42 roods
George Forbes 8 April 1835 52 roods
J.W. Evans 8 April 1835 62 roods
Henry Nowland 8 April 1835 72 roods
Henry Nowland 8 April 1835 82 roods
J.T. Hughes 13 December 1835 92 roods
J.T. Hughes; 13 December 1835 102 roods
Francis Mitchell 13 December 1835 112 roods
Francis Mitchell 13 December 1835 122 roods
E.D. Lee 31 August 1835 132 roods
J.R. Hatfield 31 August 1835 142 roods
E.D. Lee 31 August 1835 152 roods
J.R. Hatfield 31 August 1835 162 roods
Samuel Wright 18 June 1835 172 roods
Samuel Wright 18 June 1835 182 roods
George Forbes 7 February 1835 192 roods
Samuel Wright 26 August 1834*(first two blocks sold in 1834) 202 roods
James Mudie 6 November 1835 12 roods
Ed. Davis and Joseph Spears 30 November 1835 52 roods
A.B. Spark 6 November 1835 62 roods
Richard Clarke; 6 November 1835 12 roods
K.R. Reuben 3 October 1835 92 roods
K.R. Reuben; 3 October 18351 02 roods
George Bowman; 31 August 1835 112 roods
George Bowman 31 August 1835 122 roods
J.K. McDougall; 8 May 1835 12 roods
J.K. McDougall 8 may 1835 22 roods
C.W. Roemer 6 November 1835 182 roods
J.J. Peacock 3 October 1835 102 roods
C.W. Roemer; 8 May 1835 192 roods
Thomas Roper 20 April 1835 202 roods
H.R. Reuben 3 October 1835 112 roods;

Muswellbrook Residents 1830's - 1840s

Agnew, Edward, Clerk of Petty Sessions
Allman, Francis, Police Magistrate
Baxter, B
Beames, Robert, Storekeeper, Postmaster
Blaxland, George, Land owner
Boodle, Rev. Richard
Bowlan, Thomas, Constable
Bradshaw, Lloyd, Poundkeeper
Brown, James, Constable
Burgall, George, Eating house and store
Burley, George, Constable
Butler, Henry C, Magistrate
Campbell, John, Chief Constable
Carpenter, John Innkeeper
Chivers, Joseph Store owner
Connor, Peter Constable
Cox, John Hobart Land owner
Dangar, Richard Postmaster
Dawe, Peter Emancipist
Day, Edward Denny Police Magistrate
Dwyer, John Constable
Evans, Tucker Magistrate
Everness, William Bailiff of the Court of Requests
Forbes, David Land owner
Forbes, Sir Francis Land Owner, Chief Justice
Fox, Charles Constable
Halkin, Charles Watchhouse keeper
Hall, Thomas Simpson Land owner
Hannell, John Constable
Hegarty, Pierce Store owner
Kerr, Thomas Agent for the Free Press. Storekeeper
Keys, John Hudson Land owner
Kingsmill, Henry Bailiff
Kirkwood, James Builder and Cabinetmaker
Lewis Lipman Auctioneer, Store owner
Logan, James Constable
Maher, Patrick Constable
Mahoney, Jeremiah Constable
McAlpin, Phoebe Confectioner, baker
McIntyre, Donald Land Owner
Murray, Hugh Bailiff of the Court of Requests
Nowland, Henry Land owner. Innkeeper
Pierce, Henry Saddler
Pringle, Robert Land owner
Ralfe, James Surveyor in 1839
Richardson, Edward Innkeeper
Ridgeway, Charles Poundkeeper
Scott, Captain David Land owner
Scovell, Edward Magistrate
Shinkwin, William, Constable
Skinner, Francis, Constable
Smith, George, Sheriff's Bailiff
Stringall, Nathanial, Tinman
Thornton, Sylvester, Innkeeper
Ward, Richard, Innkeeper

Pastors and Priests in the Hunter Valley

Notes and Links

1). Muswellbrook Postal Directory 1867

2). Australian Almanac 1867

3). Muswellbrook in the Early Days - People and Buildings in 1856 by G.W. Phillips who resided in Muswellbrook as a boy

4). The Muswellbrook Chronicle (NSW : 1898 - 1955) Fri 21 Feb 1930 Page 4

5). The Muswellbrook Chronicle (NSW : 1898 - 1955) Fri 28 Feb 1930 Page 8

6) Muswellbrook Shire Libraries Local History

7). Muswellbrook Polo Club 1894 (Photograph)

8). Early Buildings in Muswellbrook

9). Early Settlers and Land Owners

10). Inns and Hotels