Welcome to the Victoria Hotel

HOTEL TRADING : Monday – Thursday 11.00am to 10.00pm Friday – 11.00am to 12.00am Saturday – 10.30am to 12.00am Sunday – 10.30am to 10.00pm | BISTRO LUNCH : Monday – Friday 12.00pm to 2.30pm Weekends – 11.30am to 3.00pm | BISTRO DINNER : Monday – Sunday 5.30pm to 8.30pm

How Hinton got its name

A post office was established on request in 1835. The Surveyor General suggested the name “Hinton”.  Back then mail was delivered to and from Sydney by boat. Prior to this the area was known as “The Second Arm of Hunters River”.

Robert Dillin – the first person in Hinton

In 1821 Robert Coram Dillin, aged 30, arrived in Australia on the ship “Jesse”. He received a grant of 600 acres of land where the Hinton township stands today. Soon after, with the help of an overseer and convict labour, he cleared the land for cultivation and cattle. By 1840, Dillin decided to subdivide his estate to create a “Private” town. Robert Dillin died in October 1841 and was buried at Morpeth cemetery.

The history of Hinton School

The original school at Hinton was Presbyterian Denominational, established in 1841. When the teacher resigned in 1848, the Board of National Education appointed William Heard as teacher of a Government school in April 1849 in part of a store shed on the river bank. A new National School was built in 1854. This building was demolished when the present school was built, with work starting in 1877 and finishing in 1878, including the teachers residence.

Two Clans Clash

A fight amongst two groups of the local Aboriginal people, the Guringia Clan of the Wonnarau Nation, occurred in February 1857 near where the Victoria Hotel stands today. After a long standing grievance, members of the Morpeth Clan crossed the river to do battle with members of the Hinton Clan. They engaged in an intense battle while locals gathered, at a distance, to watch. Sergeant Kennedy and a Constable hurried over from Morpeth to break up the battle. When the Clans saw the Police, they stopped fighting and threw down their weapons. Injuries – Morpeth Clan: Cracked Skull; Hinton Clan: Broken Arm.

Did you know?

Tenders for the erection of the Catholic Church at Hinton were called for in July 1847. The church was erected in Gothic style capable of containing 200 people. The opening ceremony was held in December 1847 and was performed by the Reverend Dean Lynch assisted by Mr Magennis with 150 people attending.

Typhoid Fever

The dreaded disease of Typhoid Fever had taken possession of our little town during the 1893 flood. The School of Arts was used as a hospital. The building was filled with patients and a number of deaths occured. The fever came again in January 1895 with many people stricken. The Baptist Minister, The Rev W Chaseling, died of the disease. The cause of the typhoid was thought to be from seepage of back yard toilet pits into wells nearby as well as seepage from the cemetary into Dillins Lagoon, from where Hinton drew most of its drinking water.

The 1st Hunt

The first hunt with hounds outside of Sydney occurred at Hinton in July, 1881. The Master of Hounds was Mr Terry and the “Whipper In” was Mr H Lodge. The Hunt started near the School of Arts and the Chase went as far as Woodville with 60 horse men and women participating. The Northern Hunt Club was formed soon after.

Petition for a Bridge

A petition was sent to the Minister for Public Works, NSW for the building of a bridge over the Hunter River at Morpeth and one over the Paterson River at Hinton, as early as 1881. Morpeth Bridge was not built until 1898 with our Hinton Bridge next, built during 1900 and opened to traffic on 13 February, 1901. The Hon. John See, Chief Secretary formally opened the Hinton Bridge. Mrs T Pearse smashed a bottle of champagne and named the the bridge “Hinton Bridge”. The builder was Mr S McGill and the Bridge Designer was Mr E M Deburgh, Assistant Engineer for Bridges.

Baptist Church

A Baptist Minister, the Rev. Philip Lane, arrived in Hinton during August 1856. The next day he preached in the Temperance Hall to a congregation of 150 in the morning and 200 in the evening. Steps were quickly taken by Philip Lane to erect a church. After the building was well underway, it was discovered it was on the adjoining block, not owned by the church. The problem was overcome and the church was completed. The Rev, Philip Lane, being a master mason by trade, did most of the work with his own hands, in addition to his preaching. The Baptist Church was opened for service on July 5th, 1857.

Hinton School Teacher

In August of 1875, a much loved Hinton School Teacher, Mr Cornelius O’Sullivan, died suddenly aged 34 years. He was a member of the East Maitland Volunteeer Rifle Corps. Captain Bartlett and 32 members of the Corps left East Maitland Station for Morpeth on the 1.30pm train and were joined there by other members and they all crossed the river on the punt and marched to Hinton. The funeral was held at 4.00pm with a large gathering of relations, school children, volunteers and friends. After the service was concluded, three volleys were fired over the grave. The Company then formed outside the cemetery and marched off towards Morpeth. The band played “The Soldiers Tear” as they passed through the town. People counted 48 soldiers in uniform.

A New Steam Punt

During 1876, Hinton received a Steam Punt, the first of its kind in the area. This Punt was especially built for Hinton. It was trialled in Newcastle Harbour before arriving here at Hinton.The Steam Punt was 70 feet in length including the bow and stern ramps. Mr James Coombs won the contract to operate the Punt. The width of the Hunter River at high tide was 370 feet, when the Punt was in operation.

New Roads

The road from Hinton to Raymond Terrace and Seaham was opened in 1857. The road from Hinton to Paterson was opened in 1861. Both were declared as Public Roads. Prior to this they were Rough Bush Tracks.

School of Arts

On the 12th December, 1868, tenders were called for the erection of The Hinton School of Arts building. Builder, J. Coulton of Morpeth, won the contract. Architects, Bell and Franklin of West Maitland designed the building. The Foundation Stone was laid in February 1869. The building was finished and opened on 25th September, 1869. The two fronts rooms were added within the next two years.

Buried 3 Times

In early 1835 a man shooting ducks in the river from a boat, drowned when the boat capsized. His mates made a coffin and buried him on the river bank. In May 1839 Henry Atkins, the Postmaster was digging steps in the river bank and found a skeleton. The local people knew it was the same man, so they buried him again, about 20 yards from the river. In May 1865 two men digging a hole for a tank came upon the skeleton. Some old locals said that was the place where he was buried the second time. After the Police and the Coroner were satisfied, he was taken away and buried once again.

Flour Mill

During 1850, Charles Lawn, a farm machinery maker, built a Steam Flour Mill on the river bank between where the wharf and the bridge is now. A lot of wheat was grown up and down the rivers between 1850 and 1870. There were four other mills on the rivers in the area at Wallalong, Osterley, Morpeth and Phoenix Park. By 1870, rust eventually ruined wheat growing. Charles Lawn returned to machinery making, selling his business to his two machinists, Mr William Yates and Mr Dea in 1871. This partnership dissolved in 1873 and William Yates carried on the business.

Punt Road – Part 1

Punt Road was a very busy part of Hinton in the early days between the 1840’s and 1880’s with four hotels at the bottom of Punt Road trading during this period. At the bottom left on the riverbank was “The Port Hunter Hotel” with a name change later to “Shanes Castle” then again to “The Red, White and Blue Hotel”. Next to this hotel was “The Farmers Glory” and across the road was “The Hinton Hotel” and “The Australian Hotel”. The Hinton Hotel was destroyed by fire in October 1860. It was insured and rebuilt. These hotels would have got business from passing river steamers when a wharf was built and our first punt crossing established in 1849 with settlers and people travelling through Hinton to Paterson and further up the valley.

Punt Road – Part 2

Hinton’s earliest Public School was on the river bank on Punt Road. Many foot races were held on the road, with other sports as well in the paddocks alongside. On the top end of Punt Road, on the corner next to where the bridge is today, was the “Australian Joint Stock Bank”. Next to the bank was William Yates “Blacksmith and Coachbuilder”. Next to Yates was “Searles Saddle Makers Shop”. Further down was John Bramble, a butcher. It was said he sometimes rowed a boat loaded with meat, with the tide, to Newcastle to sell to ships in the harbour. Three other hotels traded in the main street between the 1840’s and 1880’s – “The Victoria”, “The Prince Alfred” and “The Hinton Hotel”. This hotel was not built until 1878 when the old one on Punt Road closed down, probably because of two fires in January and July 1873, thought to be deliberately set.

Vineyards and Wine

There were a number of vineyards at Hinton in the early days and they produced a lot of good wines. Some of the winemakers won prizes overseas for their wines. Louis Armbruster had 8,000 gallons of wine for sale in February 1880. Peter Quinn had 500 gallons for sale, the product of one year from three acres of vines in 1874. James Montague Smith of Nulla Nulla Vinyards had 2,000 gallons for sale at sixpence a gallon in 1883. Other winemakers were Edward Hallman, John Christison and William Christian. The types of wines made at Hinton were Sweet Wine, White Shiraz, Dry White, Dry Red, Liqueur Red and Pinot Noir.


There was a skating craze amongst the younger members of the community in the late 1880’s. Mr William Yates built a skating rink on his land on Punt Road. The opening was in July 1889. Skating started at seven thirty in the evening with forty couples skating until eleven o’clock, stopping for supper, then dancing commenced and the dancing was still going at daylight. In the same year, a Mr Ralston erected a gigantic rink in the centre of town with the latest novelties and improvements, to satisfy the skating craze.


The Victoria Hotel we know today narrowly escaped total destruction by fire on 9 September, 1874 and owes its salvation to a young girl named “Ellen Ford”, who was engaged at the hotel as a domestic servant. The building had an attic above the two stories and the roof was slate. An old man was staying in the attic and was intoxicated at the time. The landlord, Mr James Searles, checked on him at 3am and was astonished to find flames around a window. He aroused his family and the servant then got the old man out. It appears the old man set fire to the blind. The fire had taken hold of the roof timbers. The girl, Ellen Ford, rushed up without dressing herself and from 3am until daylight carried buckets of water from an underground well up three flights of stairs. Mr Searles had to stop her from climbing out onto the roof to throw water on the fire. He said she would have slipped and fallen to her death. It was hoped the brave girl received a reward for her service.

Telegraph Office

In early 1883, steps were taken to establish a telegraph office in Hinton. A petition was sent to the postmaster general in March. After receiving an unfavourable answer, another letter was sent asking to reconsider. The Postmaster General’s answer was that to construct a line from Morpeth to Hinton, including a cable across the river, would cost “one hundred and twenty pounds”, two telephones “eighteen pounds” and an allowance for the Postmaster of “twenty five pounds” a year. He said it was not necessary to spend this amount when Hinton was only a short distance from Morpeth. Mr John Christian of Mt Pleasant had a private line across the river from Morpeth and agreed to allow an extension from his home, down to the town. The Postmaster General approved, so we finally got a telegraph office. Six years later in September 1889, tenders were ready to be received for the construction of a telegraph line from Morpeth to Hinton through Phoenix Park, a distance of two and a half miles.

Coach Accident

A terrible accident occurred at Hinton Punt on a dark rainy night, the 2nd of May, 1892, involving Fry’s Mail Coach. The coach left Dungog at 2.30pm for Maitland via Clarencetown and Hinton. After leaving Hinton Post Office at 8.30pm the driver moved the coach over to allow an oncoming buggy to pass. A wheel dropped into a culvert opposite Watsons store, throwing him off the coach. The horses then bolted and went around the Victoria Hotel corner at a furious pace and down towards the punt, unchecked. The gates of the punt were open at both ends. The shocked puntman tried to lock the gate on the riverside but it was too late. The horses galloped on through the punt into the river. Three men riding on top of the coach, jumped off, on the punt. A woman, Mrs Cross with her son, who were in the coach, drowned. A man riding inside the coach with them managed to save himself. The coach, with the drowned horses, was pulled out of the river at 3 o’clock, the next morning. The bodies were taken to the Victoria Hotel. The mail bags were dried out however one lost bag had contained six hundred pounds.

Stuart Park

In January 1890, a meeting was held by the Hinton Progress Committee regarding a public recreation ground. A letter was sent to the District Surveyor asking him to come to Hinton and meet the Committee. When he arrived, they proceeded to Mt Pleasant to an area known as Stubbs Hill. After inspection the surveyor said he would have much pleasure in asking the Government to resume this land for a recreational ground. This piece of land, being seven acres and two rods was resumed on the 15th October, 1892. The Lieutenant Governor, Frederick Darley, declared this land at Hinton to be known as “Stuart Park” on 25th May 1893. That same year the Governor, Sir William Lyne, approved the appointment of Trustees. They were Thomas Pearse, James Stuart, John Bramble, Alfred Searle, James Beattie, William Watson and John Keen. The grandstand was was built in 1909.

Police Barracks and Lockup

Tenders were invited for the erection of a Police Barracks and Lockup at Hinton, by the Department of Public Works, Sydney on 23rd October, 1880. Mr William Dart won the contract and eventually made a start on the building in August 1881. The building contained four rooms, two cells, a kitchen and a storeroom. The building is situated opposite the school in Elizabeth Street, which today is a private residence. A Constable Levick was stationed at Hinton and had just retired before the building of this barracks and lockup, which was completed mid 1882. A bullock driver who often passed through Hinton was known to have said that he probably paid for part of this building with fines for swearing.


The first Queens Birthday Regatta held at Hinton was in May 1882, as well as the usual sports held on Punt Road. The course on the river started at a flagship anchored off the Government Wharf at the bottom of Paterson Street. The boats would be rowed up the Paterson River then around a buoy at Bowthorne, back past the flagship and around a buoy near the Junction of the rivers, then back to the flagship and the finish line. A large crowd gathered for the Regatta. The two nearby hotels, the “Victoria” and the “Hinton”, with a luncheon tent on the river bank, catered for the crowd estimated to have been 1,000. A popular Morpeth band performed on the flagship . Nine races were held during the day, then a Quadrille party held in the School of Arts that night. The races were: “Amateurs”, “Youths Under 18”, “Allcomers”, “Farmers”, “Shopkeepers”, Bonafide Settlers”and “Allcomers Over 60 Years”. The Regatta Committee was: Treasurer – James Hesp, Starter – Jonas Foot, Umpire – John King, Judge – William Watson.


In March 1888, Mr W Cook and Mr W Barwick, two slaughtermen employed by Hinton butcher, John Bramble, agreed, for a wager of ten pounds, to dress six bullocks and twenty sheep within one hour. Mr W Morrow was elected timekeeper. The day being a holiday saw a large crowd assembled at the slaughter yard to witness what most people thought impossible.When the men declared their work finished, the watch showed 58 minutes and 32 seconds from the time of starting, with nearly a minute and a half to spare. This was claimed to be the fastest genuine time recorded in Australia.

Blue Ribbon Army

A branch of the “Blue Ribbon Army” was established in October 1883. They would gather in the street near the Victoria Hotel with a large number of people present. Hymns were sung and addresses for the total abstinence of alcohol were delivered.

Hinton Pound

A public pound was established at Hinton on 4th September, 1844. Mr Robert Household was appointed Poundkeeper. People complained of damage to crops by stray horses and cattle at night.


In 1884 a survey was carried out for the North Coast Railway to come through Hinton from Maitland, crossing the Hunter River just below the junction with the Paterson River. The line then cut through the town between the Victoria Hotel and Ann Street, then on to Seaham and North from there. A deputation of Morpeth and Hinton businessman met with the Minister for Works to have the route of the survey altered to above navigation for shipping to Morpeth and Hinton. Another survey was carried out further up river, but nothing eventuated from these surveys. What would Hinton have been like with a railway line running through and possibly a station?

Hinton Purple Star

The Loyal Orange Lodge established an order in Hinton on 1st September, 1871 and it was named “The Hinton Purple Star”. The Loyal Orange Institution or Orange Lodge, is a Protestant fraternal order sworn to maintain the Protestant Ascendancy. The fraternity was established in 1795 and is headed by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, which was established in 1798. The President of the Hinton Purple Star in 1871 was W.M.Rev. Bro. Dr. R Boag and the Secretary was Bro. Jas. C. Beattie.

See Girls Drowning

In August 1884 a sad and tragic accident occurred at Wallalong. Two young ladies, Ester and Maud See, were drowned. The eldest sister Ester, 19, was sent to Morpeth by her mother on business. She crossed the Paterson River in a large boat, but when she returned at 11.00am, the boat was gone. The younger sister Maud, 15, and their mother saw her arrive on the river bank. Maud wanted to go over in a small flat bottom boat, but her mother objected. Maud did go over after being cautioned that the boat was unsafe. Coming back, they got to the middle of the river then something happened, causing them to stand up. The little boat tipped over, throwing the girls into the river. Neither could swim and were clasped together, disappearing in a short time without much struggling. Their mother and two small children were the only ones to see the accident, but could not render assistance. Both girls were well known in Hinton and were the neices of the Colonial Secretary, Mr John See.

Hinton Punt Accident

An accident happened one Sunday during September 1856 when a hearse driven by a local undertaker, plunged off the punt at Hinton. Mr James Parnell of Osterley had died on the previous day and the undertaker was driving the hearse carrying the corpse to the burial ground. Driving onto the Hinton punt, the jolting threw the driver from the seat and with the horses uncontrolled, they dashed off the end of the punt. The horses swam upstream, dragging the hearse with them, but they soon became exhausted and drowned. The river was searched for five hours and eventually the hearse, with the horses still attached, was dragged onto the bank. There was no damage to the hearse and another hearse transported the coffin to the Morpeth Church Yard. The accident they said was blamed on the bar on the end of the punt which was not in the correct position. Another accident occurred thirty five years later when a woman and child were drowned.

Hinton Electricity

Electricity was connected to Hinton during October 1934, costing 1642 pounds, 8 shillings and 10 pence including street lights. Then electricity was extended to Swanreach and Nelsons Plain in 1940.

Sharks in the Hunter River?

One hot summers day in the 1850’s, a local man was watching a large group of Aborigines swimming and diving in the Paterson River at Hinton. They were having a great time when a shark attacked one of them, dragging him under and shaking him like a dog would a rat. He was rescued by his people in canoes but was fearfully mauled. Large pieces of flesh were torn from his legs. The local man saw him the next day with his wounds covered with soft bark from a “Tea Tree” but did not see him again, so he did not know if he recovered. The local said it was common to catch sharks in the Hunter and Paterson Rivers and had seen some up to 10 feet long, whether the rivers were fresh or a bit salty.

Arthur Wild

Between 1910 and 1940, England sent seven thousand five hundred boys to Australia as part of the first immigration scheme. They came to be known as “The Dreadnought Boys”. The purpose of the Dreadnought scheme was for English teenage boys to come to Australia to be trained to work on farms. One of these boys was Arthur Wild. He cam to Australia and to “Prospect” Hinton, the property of Mr T H Pearse in 1912, to work on the farm. You Arthur was the first to enlist in the Hinton district. He entered the infantry and went right through the Gallipoli campaign from the famous landing to the withdrawal. He was wounded three times and after the second wounding, became a stretcher bearer because he regarded that as the most useful position he could occupy. In that capacity he was in active service in France. This brave you soldier went out, against orders, to rescue wounded under heavy fire and for its bravery he was awarded the D.S.O. and promoted to Lieutenant and granted a months leave in England. Lieutenant Wild was well thought of by Hinton people who rejoiced in the distinction and promotion gained by his gallantry.

First Train

The 22nd July, 1887 was the day when the first railway train with passengers would enter West Maitland. The Governor General was to be in Maitland for the opening of the extension. A luncheon was to be held in the goods shed because of the size of the building. A large marquee was to be erected to accommodate up to 800 passengers. Triumph arches would be erected throughout the town. The first was to be erected at the railway crossing where the line enters town. The Committee applied to Col. Persival for the band of the 12th Regiment and intended to offer a prize of 5 pounds for the best report of the days proceedings in one of the English papers.

Morpeth 1861

William Marnane wrote a letter to the editors of the Maitland Mercury, hopefully to satisfy the people of Morpeth, who had signed a Petition against having a railway to Morpeth.

William Murnane counted the amount of traffic heading out of Morpeth on the road to Maitland between the hours of 12.00 to 1.00pm on a normal day, which was as follows

  1. 14 Bullock teams loaded with supplies
  2. 18 Horse teams
  3. 26 Box drays besides other conveyances

Murnane said if this amount of traffic takes place in one hour, then every right thinking man would realise a railway between Morpeth and Maitland would be a public benefit.

Did you know?

Typical goods carried by ship from Morpeth down the Hunter River to Newcastle, Sydney and beyond, in one week, between 25th September to 1st October 1856.

Paterson Pattison 28 Bales Wool, 8 Tons Hay, 50 Hides , 672 Bushels Maize
Thistle Wilson 1 Ton Flour 1.5 Tons Bran & Sundries
Chance George 3 Tons Flour & Sundries
Illalong Paine 12 Tons Hay & Sundries
Collaroy Malhall 7 Bales Wool, 9 Tons Hay, 20 Bushels Maize, 27 Bushels Wheat
Williams Barnes 18 Bales Wool, 2 Tons Hay, 308 Bushels Maize, 27 Bushels Wheat
Margaret Dixon 60 Tons Coal
Elfin Kelly 75 Tons Coal
Storm King Poole 69 Tons Hay, 525 Bushels Maize
Thistle Wilson 12.5 Tons Hay, 51 Hides
Illalong Paine Sundries
Williams Barnes 8 Bales Wool, 6 Tons Hay, 7 Hides, 43 Bushels Maize
Collaroy Malhall 1 Ton Hay, 36 Hides & Sundries
Rose Gardener Sundries
Sister Spence 58 Tons Coal
Paterson Pattison 24 Bales Wool, 11 Tons Hay, 80 Hides, 87 Bushels Maize
Cumberland Melville 80 Tons Coal