Early days of Parramatta pubs: Baker’s Arms and surrounds

 PUBS have always been a big part of Parramatta, from its early days of development through to the thriving city it is today. Local historian Gary J Carter shares some interesting stories from his book About that Shout, available from Parramatta City Council Heritage Centre in Church St

Baker’s Arms and surrounds

In 1847, Thomas Blake was granted a publican licence for the Baker’s Arms on the corner of Argyle and Marsden Streets Parramatta.

He was a wealthy man and well known in the Parramatta area in the 1840s, and he had a bakery business and hotel interests.

Blake also had many run-ins with the law about selling after hours and his license restrictions. In the1840s, you could have a 9 pm license for £20 or an 11:00 pm license for £30. The St John’s Church clock was the town’s official timekeeper, and it was somewhat erratic and often inaccurate.

In one interesting court case, Blake argued, that these clock issues were causing him to sell beers after hours, an argument that was often used and met with success on this occasion.

In 1859, John Smith was the mine host of the Baker’s Arms, and steam trains were just starting to run between Parramatta and Blacktown.

The Chronicle Newspaper on 17th September 1859 reported an incident at the Marsden Street bridge crossing, adjacent to the Baker’s Arms.

When rail trucks were passing over the bridge, the train suddenly stopped, and the cargo of horses became airborne over the side of the bridge.

They were left hanging for some time by the chains. The driver was also knocked over and was lying on the ground under the horses. John Smith, the publican, ran to assist. The driver was unconscious, with several ton of frantic horses hanging by their chains overhead.

John quickly pulled the driver clear, and he had no sooner done so when the chains gave way. Luckily, the driver was only slightly hurt and taken to a nearby tent. There was no comment on the condition of the horses, but it could not have been good news.

Shortly after this, Smith moved on, and the Bakers Arms was delicensed and became a private dwelling. The house was still standing in the 1920s.

Teasdale’s Newlands Inn and horse antics

In 1845 Richard Francis Teasdale secured the licence for the Newlands Inn on today’s Victoria Road. Teasdale’s Inn catered for the horse drawn travellers of the day. It offered accommodation for man and beast plus a fine array of spirituous refreshments.

This was a new license, and the house stood at the junction of Ross and Pennant Streets, opposite the Wesleyan Cemetery. At the same location Teasdale also ran a hardware business.

Back in the 1860’s Victoria Road was a goat track of potholes and ruts. Richard or Dicky as he was known, thought of himself as a capable horseman, and he usually rode an exceptionally fine horse.

On one occasion he and his mount became involved in a rather bad accident. Dicky’s leg was broken in three places.

The local doctor wanted the leg amputated, but Dicky stood his ground and steadfastly refused. When the break mended, his leg was unable to bend, and thereafter every time he rode his mount the leg projected outwards at an acute angle.

Dicky was not on his fine steed, in October 1860, he was riding in his dray, delivering a load of hardware. His leg, as per normal was projected at a right angle from the wagon.

Sadly, a stiff leg and an immovable object led to the demise of poor Dicky. He was thrown from his dray, close to All Saints Church. Dicky was a publican of merit and a stubborn man of the saddle.

This fall broke more than just his leg, he suffered serious injury and soon after died. His widow Anne carried on the Inn, she was well known and referred to as Granny Teasdale. The public house was used as a residence until 1939, when it was demolished.

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