The Kinlochewe Inn

Kinlochewe Inn (near Donnybrook) on the Merri Creek, Sydney Road, north of Melbourne.
William Hartley Budd owned this Inn 1844-1847. 

Pictures above The Kinlochewe Inn and below of William Hartley Budd 1812-1888 courtesy of website where a full family history is available.

The Kinlochewe Inn and hotel was situated at Kinlochewe just off Summerhill Road, Craigieburn on Merri Creek.  Kinlochewe and was a small village that sprung up out of necessity in 1841, next to a natural ford in Merri Creek, on what is known today as Summerhill Road and east of Mt. Ridley.

A miniature community of tenant farmers had developed at one mile to the east of a natural ford on the Merri Creek.  The settlement was located just north of present day Summerhill Road on the properties of Thomas Walker's "Banchor Farm" and William McKenzie's "Kinlochewe Estate" (crown allotments 10 & 11) and had come to be known as Kinlochewe.  The natural ford was used by the northwest travelers who had taken the route from Darebin (Epping), Pikes Water Hole (Wollert), and a north westerly track across the open country to Kinlochewe (using Kinloch Hill or now Mt. Ridley as the land mark), Rocky Water Holes, the Big Hill (Kilmore) and beyond. 

On the 28th of February 1840 an advertisement by William McKenzie appeared in the Port Philip Herald calling for contractors and tenants for the specification of plans and the building of an inn, with stabling, outhouses, stock and hurdle yards and fencing on the Kinlochewe Estate and states that the Inn will be situated twenty miles from Melbourne on the great Sydney Road and calls for a respectable tenant to whom the farm of 50 to 108 acres will be leased in addition.

In 1841 two brothers from Scotland Francis and Kenneth Muirson built the inn and hotel at Kinlochewe.  Francis Muirson was bankrupt just two years later and was named in the Port Philip Insolvencies - 29 Apr Francis Muirson, of Kinlochewe, Publican and consequently his holdings at Kinlochewe were held up for auction.  This notice appeared in the Port Philip Herald dated 8/2/1844.

February 8th 1844

 In the insolvent estate of Worsley and Forest

 By order of the Trustees


 Mr. Samuel McDonnell has been instructed to sell by public auction at his rooms, Collins Street, on Thursday the 8th of February instant, at the hour of 12 o’clock.

 All that piece portion or parcel of land known as part of the Kinlochewe Estate, situate in the county of Bourke and district of Port Philip and containing one hundred and fifty seven acres of, more or less, on a portion of which is the commodious comfortable weatherboard house, with suitable out-offices and well known to travelers on the Sydney Road.

 ‘Kinlochewe Inn’

 For which purpose it is extremely well adapted being on the main road, near the junction of the old and new Sydney Roads, and in a rapidly and increasing and already populous neighbourhood.  There is an abundant water supply from a well on the property and from other sources in the immediate vicinity.  The land is of first rate quality and adjoins one of the best agricultural farms in the colony, title unexceptionable.

 Term – Cash

A gentleman by the name of William Hartley Budd who is pictured at right (1812-1888) purchased the Kinlochewe estate and at the time the inn and hotel was described as 'partly of brick and partly of wood, it had 14 rooms, stabling, fruit garden, 50 acres of arable land, 108 acres of grazing land and six paddocks'.

In the 1840's there was a lack of public facilities and the Inns and hotels were used in many  of the activities of the day. The larger Inns and hotels often became the venue for public meetings, balls, celebratory dinners, horse races, pigeon shooting, fairs, cricket and raffles and William was the principle organiser of horse races between Kinlochewe and Donnybrook around 1846.

On the 19th of January 1847 a notice appeared in the Port Philip Herald on the subject of the Kinlochewe Races and on Tuesday, the 2nd of February 1847 the races were to take place at Kinlochewe.  The stewards were to be James Malcolm (of Olrig), William Kirby Esqrs, the judge was to be Mr. George Leach (Somerton Hotel) and the clerk of the course was Mr. John Tucket and treasurer Mr. W. H. Budd (Kinlochewe Inn).

The first race was the Publican's Purse of 20 sovereigns and two miles the distance, second race the Ladies Purse of 10 sovereigns and again two miles the distance, for 15 sovereigns was the Hurdle Race a two mile course with five leaps four feet high, the Hack Race for a splendid hunting saddle and a double rein bridle and the Trotting Race for ₤10 twice around the course; three to start or no race!

A note at the bottom of the page by William Thane Secretary, stated NB. Each party entering a horse must subscribe to the race fund a sum of not less than £1.  The entries to take place at the Kinlochewe Inn, between the hours of 10 and 6 o'clock on or before the evening of the 1st day of February 1847.  No false starts!

On Thursday 22nd of April 1847, the Port Philip Herald reported on the General Licensing Day and reported after some consideration in a private room the chairman returned into court and stated that the application had been granted for a licence for William H Budd for the Kinlochewe Inn at Kinlochewe.

The Inn was also host to quite a few important visitors including John Dunmore Lang, indefatigable traveler and Presbyterian Cleric who relayed William Hartley Budd to be most genial host and he owed him nothing and he was only sorry his house was not more comfortable.

By 1848 Kinlochewe was thriving and was noted in the Argus Newspaper that 'extensive improvements were being made at Kinlochewe'.  In its heyday Kinlochewe boasted some 400 residents.  An enterprising businessman Ewan Tolmie had by 1848 decided to take advantage of the situation and 'Mr. Ewen Tolmie formerly of the 'Bird In Hand' Flinders Lane contemplated the erection of a splendid edifice of an inn to which he purposes to remove his publican's general license' so the hotel could take advantage of two northward routes.

The Robert Burns was not only in the position to attract travelers along the new road but some of the Kinlochewe Inns regulars as well who still kept to the old the track through Darebin (Epping) and over the Merri Creek ford at Kinlochewe.  The rapid decline in customers and the building of the new more direct transport route of Sydney Road saw the decline of the Kinlochewe Inn as the last year of licensing was 1847 but the family continued on at Kinlochewe.

In 1850 the area was ravaged by drought and 1851 the days remained very hot. On February 6th 1851 a savage bushfire known as the Black Thursday Bushfires ravaged the area and the inn was burnt to the ground.  Budd was away in Melbourne at the time and when he returned found his family was lucky to have survived and his inn in ruins.  Budd lost all his buildings, stock, produce and fences worth a fortune and considered unprofitable to rebuild at Kinlochewe and in 1851 opened a new hotel near Wallan called the Strangeways Inn.

Kinlochewe never recovered from the Black Thursday Bushfires and it was considered unprofitable to rebuild when Sydney Road became a more reliable route.  By 1853 there was nothing to be seen at the Kinlochewe site all the buildings being raised to the ground by the bushfire and residents relocated to other areas, it had turned back by 1853 to just rural grazing land where once a forgotten community of 400 people thrived and existed.

Above left: Summerhill Rd Bridge over the Merri Creek, possible site of Budd's Kinlochewe Inn where the pines trees are located on left.    Above Right:  Possible sight of the Kinlochewe Inn and township located along the creek and to the front and right of pines trees.


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