Thursday, April 10, 2014

The White Hart Inn - Linking with the Past

During excavation work for the sky train section of the North West Rail Link near the intersection of Old Windsor and Windsor Roads at Kellyville in north-western Sydney, the ruins of an early 19th century colonial inn were uncovered.

As part of the heritage work on the site, an archaeological dig began in December 2013. Over the weekend of 5 and 6 April 2014, two community open days were held to allow public access to the site and showcase the results.

The inn has been identified as the White Hart Inn which was dated back to 1826 when it was built by convict labour, including one James Gough (per Earl Spencer 1813). William Cox owned  the land on which the inn was built. The first publican is listed as William Cross (1830-1831) [NSW State Records - Publicans Licences]

Site of archaeological dig at the
White Hart Inn Kellyville.
December 2013- March 2014

Plan of archaeological excavation of the
 White Hart Inn prepared by the heritage specialists,
plus artist' s impression of the inn circa 1840s.

The dig is impressive uncovering:
  •  brick and sandstone foundations of a building 20 metres wide and 15 metres long facing  Windsor Road:
View of Inn frontage facing Windsor Road with
 verandah and two winged rooms.

View of main body of the Inn to the rear with a
 possible cellar site to the right.

Cellar excavatiom
View showing brickwork for rear verandah
  • separate kitchen building, 13 metres long and 5 metres wide, at the north-east corner of the main building, with two possible fireplaces.
View of separate kitchen building

View of likely fireplace at
one end of the kitchen

View of another fireplace structure
at the other end of kitchen
  • cistern for drainage;
View of cistern
  • over 2000 artefacts:
Artefacts in situ

Selection of artefacts uncovered

Key - possibly to the main door?

1816 Coin with Roman image of George 111

Selection of bottles found.

Cherry toothpaste container with an
 image of Queen Victoria

Fragment of a ceramic plate

Salt container , inscribed "Western aand Westarlis
British Tabs Salt

The discovery of the White Hart Inn site and ruins is very significant. Firstly, it takes us back to the beginnings of the Windsor Road in the early days of the colony when it was the main road between Parramatta and Windsor. It tells us the story of an important watering hole and an overnight accommodation spot along the way .

Today, the site will stand as a link from the past to the new railway of the future. It is anticipated that the site will be buried later this year so it can be conserved. One of the proposed pylons for the sky train will now be relocated.

History Services NSW in its Hotel and Liquor Licenses Database, has a complete index of over 52,000 persons who were licensed in the New South Wales liquor industry from 1856 to 1900.

In particular, there is an index of publicans from 1865 to 1900. 

This records John Seath ( per Minstrel 1825) as the licensee for the White Hart Inn, Windsor Road from 1865 to 1870 and from 1871 to 1874.


Blog prepared by Mary McGuinness

All photos taken on site at the community Open Day, Sunday 6 April 2014.

For further information go to the website:

1 comment:

  1. The White Hart was purchased by John Allen in 1838 from William Cox, and although he was the licensee for only 1848, he owned the property until his death on 1860. In 1865, his estate, including the White Hart was auctioned. His daughter Rebecca Turner then owned it until her death. The White Hart was then auctioned as a part of her estate in 1861.