James Riley purchased Lot 12, 40 Banks Street,
East Maitland for 22 pounds sterling. It was one
of the first blocks of land granted title by the
Crown in East Maitland. Located across from the
cattle sale yards it proved an ideal location to
establish an inn. The Riley family continued to
own until 1854 with different licensees
operating the business during this time.
The first use of the name “Red Lion Inn” appears
Around 1855 Charles Whittaker mortgaged the
property, closing temporarily while making
alterations to the building. When reopened the
name of the property was changed to the
The Maitland Mercury, 12th April 1859 noted that
“the Inn and premises have undergone extensive
improvements, having been nearly all rebuilt and
much enlarged. It is now one of the best houses
in the town. There is every accommodation in the
numerous and well arranged rooms, both on the
ground floor and in the sleeping apartments
above, for carrying on a first-class business as
a family hotel while its close proximity to the
Public Sale Yards must always ensure a large
amount of retail business.
The kitchen, stables and other out offices are
quite equal to the requirements of the
establishment. There is a large piece of rich
land in the rear, and fronting to William St,
enclosed with a paling fence, well adapted for a
garden and capable of growing any description of
fruit trees and vegetables”.
Samuel Clift takes ownership after Charles
Whittaker could not repay his debt to him.
Charles Whittaker continued as licensee trading
now under the name Union Hotel.
Samuel Clift was transported to Australia in
1817 as a convict, sentenced for having forged
notes in his possession. He was granted his
Ticket of Leave in 1822, which meant he could
work for himself, but had to show good conduct.
In 1831, he obtained his Certificate of Freedom
which meant he could be free of all convict
constraints. He had married Ann Duff in 1824 and
begun a path to creating a colonial dynasty. He
amassed considerable business interests
including well stocked grazing stations, land
The “Red Lion Inn” remained in Clift family
ownership for the next 62 years.
The house closes it doors as public
accommodation, converting to a comfortable home
for generations of families. The Clift family
and Wellard family served as longest residents
living here 50 years and 29 years respectively.
We, the current owners have our first connection
with the house through it’s owners from
1935-1941. It was the home of Augustus and Alice
Farley plus their daughter and son-in-law,
Eileen and Eric Higgs. The Farley’s are the
great -grandparents of current owner Warrick,
the grandparents of Anne with Eileen and Eric
being her aunt and uncle.
It was during this period that the rear of the
block, fronting William St, was divided and
placed on separate title.
1980 - C2000
It is during this period that the reintroduction
of the building name to “Red Lion Inn” took
place, operating as a restaurant and art
gallery. Hosting all types of celebrations from
birthdays, engagements, weddings and
anniversaries, this is how most locals know and
have memories of the house.
Restoration begins on returning to family home.
Current owners, Warrick and Narelle Penfold, and
Anne Blackwell, continue restoration, opening as
Bed and Breakfast in 2015. We continue to use
the name “Red Lion Inn” as the house is most
commonly associated as this.
We continue to source both photographic and
written materials, maintaining a documented
history of the property for current and future
generations, to use as a resource in preserving
this beautiful building.