Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

William Mutlow - Maitland Apothecary

William Henry Mutlow may have arrived in Australia on the Tropic in 1841.

East Maitland

He announced he was commencing business as a chemist and druggist in premises in Melbourne Street opposite Cox's Hotel in East Maitland in April 1842. William John Whitelaw had vacated the rooms to move to premises in Morpeth.

William Mutlow offered a large supply of perfumery and fancy soaps as well as an 'excellent specific ointment for scab in sheep. He also kept honey and leeches although was forced to advertise for these in 1846 when his supplies ran low. By 1843, he was offering to provide soda water and effervescing lemonade to publicans and others in Maitland. He had made arrangements with a first rate manufacturer in Sydney and could supply both wholesale and retail on liberal terms. Purchasers were to pay for all bottles with the money to be repaid when the bottles were returned.

In 1844 he moved to premises opposite the Stables of the Union Inn, near the Rev. Rusden's residence.


A bachelor, William Mutlow was in the habit of spending time across the road visiting his good friend James Cox or Cox's brother- in- law William B. Green on Sundays as well as other times. Upon returning home at 11pm one Sunday in April 1846, he discovered his shop had been robbed. Despite the presence of a fierce dog, the thief had entered after dark by a front window in Mutlow's living quarters adjoining the shop. Putting his hand into a pot of melted gum on the way through the window, he later left marks on whatever he touched. He stole just a few small items despite having had ample opportunity to take more. Mr. Mutlow found missing from the till a gold seal and a few coppers. Lucifer matches and some seidlitz powders were also taken with the robber leaving his footprint in the garden when he escaped.

Social Life

In 1847 a friend from Sydney Mr. Youngman was visiting for a few days and he accompanied William Mutlow on his usual social visit to William Green at the George and Dragon one Sunday evening. The men later became embroiled in a court case that kept the town interested for days when Constables Rushton, Hood and Thrudgate accused Mr. Green of keeping his house open for the sale of liquor on a Sunday. The Greens, James Cox and William Mutlow complained to Magistrate Edward Denny Day the next day charging the constables with exceeding their duty.

The constable's heavy handed attitude towards the otherwise law abiding townsfolk had caused quite a stir and William Mutlow was called on to testify. He stated that he had often consumed liquor without paying at Greens public house when asked and at other times had paid for his liquor. When the constables entered on this occasion he had been given a glass of ginger beer with brandy in it by Mrs. Green and had not paid for it. The case against the Greens was dismissed by the Bench for want of evidence

Departure from Maitland

By July 1847, William Mutlow had decided to retire from business in Maitland. He disposed of the whole of his stock in trade to Charles Vavasour Earle and hoped his customers would continue to favour his successor.

William Mutlow's apothecary's store at ArmidaleThe Store of William Mutlow at Armidale


In the 1850's he can be found in the Armidale district working on Europambela a station in the area and in 1858 he was employed as dispenser at the Armidale hospital.

William Henry Mutlow married Mary Ann Brazier at Armidale in 1859. He owned a chemist shop and also resided in Beardy Street Armidale. The Australian Town and Country Journal published a brief history of the business in 1904 - The origin of Mr. B. Weaver's Chemist and Stationer Business goes back as far as 1848. Then it was founded by a Mr. Furnifull. It was afterwards taken over by the late Mr. W.H. Mutlow, with whom the present proprietor served his time. In 1881, the latter was taken into partnership, the title of the firm being Mutlow and Weaver. This continued for eight years when Mr. Weaver took the business over altogether. Entering his shop, which, by the bye, extends 50 feet back, one cannot but be impressed by its handsome appearance. The fittings which are by S. Lester, Sydney and which cost 450, are not to be surpassed in any chemist's shop in the metropolis. All the bottles and pots, of which Mr. Weaver informs me he has the largest stock of any retail chemist in the State, are imported direct from the Whitall Tatum Company, New York. The firm's Sheep drench is well known all over the Commonwealth.

Mary Anne Mutlow (nee Brazier) died in 1892 at Gladesville hospital, Sydney. William Henry lived in the district until his death in 1900.

Beardy St. Armidale looking west
Beardy Street, Armidale (looking west)

Notes and Links

Image of the Faithfull family medicine chest with a bottle labelled William Henry Mutlow of Armidale at reCollections