Comforts of Travelers

The Sydney Morning Herald

4 October 1844


The honorable member for Sydney is about to bring in a Bill to alter and amend the law affecting innkeepers, may I be allowed, through the medium of your columns, to call the attention of the Colonial Secretary, and other honorable members, to that Bill, and with all due deference and respect, to submit the following remarks for their consideration, confining my remarks to the roadside innkeeper, and more particularly to those outside the limits of location.

However desirable it may be to reduce the License fee in towns, it must be obvious it is much more called far on the road-side, where society requires the accommodation; and in all directions, houses are being given up, not paying their expenses.

Nearly all roadside innkeepers sell slops and store goods, but it is not legal; this is a vexatious law, and inoperative, as all they have to do if desirous of having a store is to have a detached building; but it is vexatious, as they may be fined for selling some articles of necessity to persons travelling.

To ensure the comforts of travellers, innkeepers outside the Limits should be accommodated with a small run, at least a sufficient quantity of land to keep one flock of sheep to kill for the house, say six hundred, and a sufficient number of cows to keep a dairy, say one hundred head; and if on a mail road, forty or fifty horses, of course paying for the run like another squatter.

At present, some innkeepers are allowed a run, others are not, the Commissioner allows some to keep twenty-five cows, some a dozen; if the legislature is anxious the public should be accommodated, they should give them the means, as well as to invite respectable persons to conduct the business.

At this moment, I know of an innkeeper that has to send fourteen miles for a sheep, the owner of the run he is on having given orders that he is not to have any from his flocks.

This can only be remedied by allowing every innkeeper to keep a flock himself. The difficulty would not be met by allowing them to keep less than a flock, as no one would or could afford to pay a shepherd to take care of a less number. And the same argument applies to cows.

If a person is limited to a dozen of cows, it is not worth one's attention: for it is well known that all cows do not calve at one time, and consequently, out of twelve cows there would be about six to milk- and out of a hundred, about sixty, just a sufficient number to employ a man and his wife to attend.

If persons are compelled to send their cattle away to a distant station, they send all - and the dairy utensils follow: consequently, it is not unfrequent on the roadside to find a family living without milk; and if they have butter, it is salt, from the station and grass around their own doors in abundance!

No one is so well adapted to horse the mail as the innkeeper, and he should have a run for the horses required.

I submit that the license fee of 30 a year should entitle the innkeeper outside the limits, to the favourable consideration of Government- for that alone is equal in amount to the sum paid by these squatters.

Ten years ago few persons would have thought a mail would have run weekly from Sydney to Port Phillip, and an inn established every twenty miles of the road; who knows but in half that time we may see the same thing between Sydney and Port Essington; stations are generally formed before the inns are established, consequently they are established on some one's run, without the consent of the first occupier; and I would suggest a clause should be inserted in the new Act to give the innkeeper a right of run for one flock of sheep, a dairy of cows, and some horses, that he may be in a position to afford ample accommodation to the public, and likewise to prevent enterprise and industry being cramped.

I am, gentlemen,

Your most obedient servant, Yorick.

Gundagai, September 24th, 1844.