Circa 1830

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 in 1850.
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 Farrier’s Arms.

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 and licensed
public houses.

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.




© Red Lion Inn 2020