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Jerrys Plains, NSW

Small, historic town in the Hunter River valley.

Jerry's Plains is a tiny, "now you see it now you don't", rural village serving the rich river flats of the Hunter River.


Jerrys Plains is located 203 km north of Sydney via Peats Ridge Road and the Putty Road. It is 225 km via the Newcastle Freeway and Cessnock.


Origin of Name

There is considerable debate about the origin of the town's name. Certainly John Howe, who led an expedition through the district in 1820, reported that one of his Aboriginal guides, a man named Myles, informed him that the local Kamilaroi people called the area 'Pullmyheri' or 'Pullumunbra'. This name was never used. Instead it became Jerrys Plains either because the chief of the local Kamilaroi was named King Jerry or because it was named after Jeremiah Butler, an ex-convict and member of Howe's expedition who accidentally discharged a firearm, blew off his thumb, had gangrene set in, died and was buried opposite where the post office now stands.


Things to See and Do

Post Office Store
At one time it was the town's post office and then the town's visitor information centre, the Post Office (which is located on the left hand side of the road past Wambo Street for those coming from the New England Highway) was designed by the James Barnet, the Colonial Architect at the time, and built in 1881. It is one of 169 post offices designed by Barnet and is notable for its foundations of locally quarried sandstone and its handmade bricks. It is still an impressive building.

School and Police Station
One block from the town's main street, up Piribil Street, is Doyle Street which has so many impressive buildings it has been classified by the National Trust. These buildings were all constructed around 1880 and include the sandstone teacher's residence, the very elegant public school (1879) built in the Gothic style and, across the street, the police station (1880) with its hipped roof over an elegant veranda and its vented gable. They were all built from local sandstone which was quarried behind the school.

On the main road, just west of Poppong Street, is St James Anglican Church (1875-79), a gracious village church designed by J. Horbury Hunt, a Canadian who settled in Australia and worked for Edmund Blacket before establishing his own practice and gaining a reputation for designing buildings characterised by 'freshness, vitality and originality.' In the case of St James it is worth noting "the decorative chancel arch which extends to the exterior of the church as buttresses and a stepped bell tower. There are arched lancet windows and the walls are of rough-faced sandstone. The rose window in the side wall of the chancel was designed to cast a glow over the morning service."

Stowan and Coolmore
Head out of town towards Denman on the Golden Highway and you will pass through rich rural countryside known for cattle, vineyards and horse studs. About 5 km out of town is Coolmore, a huge horse stud, which is located on land originally granted to James Robertson in 1825.

Hollydene Estate Wines
Beyond Coolmore Stud is Hollydene Estate Wines at 3483 Golden Highway. The cellar door is open seven days from 10.00am - 4.00pm and there is a restaurant, tel: (02) 6576 4021. In 2011 Hollydene took over the Arrowfield estate, one of the oldest vineyards in the Hunter Valley. George Bowman was squatting on the land as early as 1824 and he progressively purchased it between 1834 and 1841. A section of the cellars was constructed by convicts in 1832. The Bowman family sold Arrowfield in 1893. Check out http://hollydeneestate.com for more details.



* As early as 1817 a mineralogist named William Parr explored as far north as the hills above Doyles Creek and reached land to the south-west of Jerrys Plains.

* In 1819 an expedition led by John Howe, and including George Bowman who squatted on what is now Arrowfield Estate, returned to where Parr had explored and followed Doyle's Creek until it reached the Hunter River. They followed the Hunter downstream to where Jerrys Plains now stands before returning to Sydney.

* In 1820 the expedition returned and followed the Hunter River downstream to Maitland. John Howe was accompanied by an Aboriginal guide named Myles who explained that the land was known as 'Coomery Roy', the land of the Kamilaroi people who called it 'Pullmyheri' or 'Pullumunbra'.

* In 1825 land was granted to Cyrus Doyle, the son of a convict, at the junction of the Hunter River and the creek that took his name.

* In the 1840s the local postmaster was Charles Harpur, an important early Australian poet, who married Mary Doyle, the daughter of Edmund Doyle. It is known that some of Harpur's love poetry was addressed to Mary Doyle.

* The first Jerrys Plain was located on the banks of Redmanvale Creek east of the present town.

* By 1840 there was an attempt to move the village westward. The site was surveyed but land sales did not occur until 1857 and the village was divided until the 1870s.

* The huge Hunter River floods in 1955 eventually saw the last of the old village washed away.


Visitor Information

There is no visitor information in Jerrys Plains. The closest is the Singleton Visitor Information Centre, 39 George Street, Singleton, tel: (02) 6571 5888


Useful Websites

There is no local, specialist website on Jerrys Plains.


Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.

33 suggestions
  • Hi,
    Just letting you know Arrowfield Estate wines doesn’t exist anymore. The winery is Hollydene Estate Wines, if you would like to update your site.


    • Hi,
      I’m tracing a family tree and have come as far back as 1862 to Elizabeth Hawkins who was born in Jerrys Plains wondering of anyone can help.

      B. C.
  • Mary Doyle, wife of Charles Harpur, was the eldest daughter of Edmund Doyle and Frances Smith. Edmund was a younger brother of Cyrus Matthew Doyle.

    Barbara Mulligan
  • To the east of new town was a big house on the southern bank, on a small rise. It was a ruin in 1973, but entering found it to be a substantial colonial house with a fortified room on each side if the front entry. It also had a kitchen at back n.w. with a large bakery oven with steps going to a landing over the oven. The walls of the two front reception rooms were hand-decorated with painted friezes. I was told it was the Magistrates house but Ogilvie’s Merton selection seems to be on the north side of the river. I wonder if it was a Joh. Howe homestead?

    Debra White
  • I would like to visit the Old Catholic Cemetery at Jerrys Plains. Is there a vehicle entrance other than Pagon Street and if so could you direct me how to get there please?

    Can anyone help, John?

    John Dwyer
  • Motel/Hotel Accommodation in area?

    Beverley Kay
  • I have discovered through tracing my family tree that a relative of mine – Frederick Stokes – emigrated to Jerry’s Plains in 1858 and owned the Post Office Hotel. Could you tell me if it is still standing please as I can’t find any photos of it?

    Angela Chivers
  • Can anyone tell me where the old Catholic Cemetery is it said Pagan Street? I could not find it. My Allen family are buried there.

  • Recently we stopped at Jerrys Plains free camp site and found the site very clean and a pleasure to stop at. We went to the local shop and did some shopping that would not have done but for the camp site. As we appreciate this site and its facilities a fee would not be a problem, an honesty box at the gate maybe would help in the up keep and help to keep this site open for all us old grey nomads to enjoy. Thanks again Rhonda and John Stone.

    Rhonda and John Stone
  • Hi there – is there a coffee shop in town? we are passing through next week.

  • Hi
    My great grandmother Margaret Blundell (nee Coulton) and her husband Albert Blundell owned the Commercial Hotel. The 1923 street directory lists Albert’s address as Commercial Hotel, Jerry’s Plains. I would be very interested to know where this hotel stood and what is in its place now. I have a photograph of the hotel if you’d like a copy for your site.

    Steve Coulton
  • Can you help! We will be free camping on a Sunday night. Is there anywhere that we can get a meal that night?

  • I am looking for info on John Howe Sr first settled as he took on my convict [ Joseph Frederick Curtis, he worked on the land in Patrick Plains. I am wondering if there are remnants of a Howe family home there. Joseph Curtis was my great great great grandfather. He married Howe’s housekeeper, Bridget Curtis, had children and was pardoned and died in 1848. Bridget went on to have a child, Eliza Howe, in 1851, with John Kennedy Howe. thanks if I can hear back from you. on any info..

  • I was led to believe that my great great grandfather Peter Duff was granted a block in 1825 when he retired from the army. His 2 sons are buried there 1 in the old catholic [my great grandfather James] Peter in the other. My grandfather was born there but is buried at Bellata near Moree

    Joe Crowley
  • Steve Coulton mentioned he has ancestors who owned The Commercial Hotel in the 1920s. I believe my great grandfather owned that hotel around the 1890s. I have a photo that might be it. I think it was demolished at some later stage and re-built, possibly not on the same site.

    Jennifer Anderson
  • A very helpful site. I am chasing up Reverend Joseph Cooper who came to the first village in 1843 and three years later a church called St Clements was erected by the creek. I believe there is a stained – glass window donated by his family in the new church. He came out listed as a farmer but was known as Reverend – The family were steerage immigrants from Brixton in 1833 on the Sir Thomas Munro and he was ordained as a deacon shortly after.in 1842? The children were baptised in a Wesleyan Chapel and St Clements was described as Anglican Episcopalian in a news report in 1846 when the stone was laid. This is a new term to me. And I wondered at his swift elevation to a reverend. Can you comment on this?

    Marie Woods, Christchurch NZ
    • I’m a descendant of Joseph Cooper Jr., Joseph Sr’s son.
      Joseph Sr. was born in Brixton, Surrey, England on 15/6/1823. He brought his wife Elizabeth & family to the colony, as steerage passengers aboard the ship Sir Thomas Munro, arriving in Syd 18/2/33. The family took up residence at Liverpool, where Elizabeth had relatives & where she & her husband conducted a private school at Grantham House. Joseph appears to have decided on teaching as a vocation, instead of farming & in 1836 he was a member of the Liverpool committee for General Education. After a period as a teacher in Bathurst he decided to enter the church on 31/12/1843 at St Andrew’s Church Syd.He was ordained Deacon by Bishop Broughton & the next day he was appointed minister of the Parochial Districts of Falbrook & Jerry Plains. On 22/12/1844 at the age of 55yrs he was ordained Priest, by Bishop Broughton, again at St Andrew’s.
      He continued his ministry at Jerry’s Plains until Sept’ 1858 when he retired to lighter duties in Sydney. He died at his residence in Paddington on 27/10/1859, as a result from injuries by a fall from his horse
      Courtesy of Epilogue, chapter 9,
      George Townsend 1798 – 1872 & Trevallyn Paterson River – by Jack Sullivan – Published by Paterson Historical Society Inc 1997

      Jann Booth
  • Hi I am chasing any information about the old butcher shop, can anyone tell me when it was built, and how long it was operating as a butcher shop?

  • Does anyone have any information about my Hobden ancestors home ‘Great Lodge’, Jerry Plains.
    Richard Hobden senior (1790-1851) arrived free on the Earl Spencer in 1813. He married Albenia Walker (1797-1829) in Sydney in 1816. He was later granted land in 1834 in Jerry Plains.
    My maternal great grandmother, Bertha Beatrice Hobden (nee Orchin) (1874- 1939) married Richard William Hobden (1870-1938).
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.
    Margaret Sobb (nee Spinks) (1958- ). Only child of Rene and Forbes Spinks, Singleton.

    Margaret Sobb
    • Hello Margaret, I too am descended from Richard HOBDEN. My Great Great Grandmother was Sarah Ann HOBDEN who married William NEWTON. I will be staying up in Singleton for 2 nights on the 29th/30th April to attend the 200 years celebration of Jerry’s Plains. I would love to meet up and find out more, share etc., my mobile is 0409 633 242, Kind regards,

      Ann Krasny
      • Is there any remnants of the Great lodge? Or is completely gone? I am Vaughan Hobden and only just discovered that Jerry’s Plains hold some history for me from a gentleman on a mine site I am doing some work for.

        Vaughan Hobden
  • Is Jerry Plains Tavern permanently closed

    Joe Brown
  • Are there any Indians staying in Jerry plains ?

    Baranidharan Uvaraj
  • Hi I’m trying to track information regarding my great grandfather original from jerrys plains apparently a homestead now owned by Rio tinto and heritage listed family name Hobden.

    Geanine Hutchen
    • Hello, I too am descended from Richard HOBDEN. The property was called “Great Lodge” and yes it is now in the middle of the mining site. I will be staying in Singleton on the 29th/30th April to attend the 200 year Anniversary of Jerry’s Plains. I would be happy to share what information I have if you want to email me. Kind regards, Ann

      Ann Krasny
  • We are driving through Jerry’s Plains next week and I was hoping to take a photo of the Post Office that Charles Harpur was postmaster of in 1840 but I see the current post office was built in 1881 so it obviously was another building. Does anyone know of any other link to Charles Harpur in the town?

    Liz Hamilton
  • When Jerrys Plains school was ran by the Church of England (denominational school) in 1847-1849 my great, great, great grandfather John Elliott was the school master. He had 47 pupils in 1847.

    Leanne Shiagetz
  • Richard and Charlotte arrived in the Hunter in 1826 with Ben Singleton. They initially managed Captain Lethbridge’s farm ‘Bridgman’, where they came under attack by Aboriginals – Richard sustained life-threatening injuries and three of their stockmen were killed. (There are numerous records of this encounter, and letters written by Gov. Darling etc.)
    Richard and Charlotte Alcorn purchased 150 acres in Jerry’s Plains in 1833. Richard subdivided 24 acres of road frontage into 23 allotments. The registration of the sales took place between 1840 and 1860. The lots were purchased by innkeepers, blacksmiths, tailors, bootmakers, carriers, butchers, and drovers.
    Richard built an Inn beside the ‘high’ road that ran east to west through the property using local sandstone. It was named the “Queen Victoria Inn”, and was described as a ‘substantial building’ having 12 rooms.
    The Inn was open for business in June 1838 and became the community center, not only for alcoholic refreshments, food and lodgings for local inhabitants and travelers, but also for all types of meetings and celebrations for the next 50 years. It proved to be an incredibly successful venture and was described at the time as a –
    ‘Commodious sandstone building, for fifty years a haven for travellers, drovers, bullocky’s, as well as a popular meeting place for local graziers and farmers.’
    William Simpson was one who purchased lots 5 and 6 of the subdivision for £60 on the 27th of October 1843. There were considerable improvements made on those two blocks, including a store which Simpson ran for a few years before opening the ‘Plough Inn’ and securing a licence on the 1st of July 1848.
    The Brown family were also subdividing land some few hundred yards to the east of Richards property at Jerry’s Plains during 1840 and 1857 and had intended that their Inn and adjoining property subdivision would become the focal point for the village. This was not to be due to the greater success of the subdivision engineered by Alcorn’s.
    In 1842 the Alcorn family donated a portion of land to build a church and a larger portion of land to the north to build a racecourse for the residents of Jerry’s Plains. In 1846 further land was donated for a Catholic Church (Maitland Mercury 17th January 1846).
    Richard’s wife Charlotte passed away on the 23 August 1851. Richard married again in October 1852 to Elizabeth Hobden.

    Lynda Alcorn
  • Looking for more information on Hooker, Gardiner and Stokes Family – Stokes owned the post office 1896 to 1915, One of the Hookers was the stonemason for Jerrys. Just trying to find more information and possibility the Mary Gardiner who married a Hooker was of aboriginal descent?

    Sue Alle