Emu Hotel, Parramatta

emu hotel george street parramatta

Emu Hotel, George Street, Parramatta


Sydney, Tuesday.
An old age pensioner named James Lawson was found today in a stable at the Emu Hotel, Parramatta, with his throat cut. He had been seeking admission to the asylum. He is in a critical condition.
– National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW) Wednesday 11 February 1903
* James Lawson had been camped in the old stables behind the Emu Hotel in George Street Parramatta for three days before the publican found him bleeding from wounds to his neck and arms. Lawson had tried to kill himself with a pen knife. Despite losing a lot of blood the 75-year-old survived and as a result was charged with attempted suicide by police. Lawson was said to be in Parramatta trying to gain entry to one of the asylums and attempted suicide because he was “tired of life”. He eventually returned to his home in Forest Lodge where he died two years later in 1905. Can anyone tell us the exact location of the Emu Hotel?

Categories: NSW hotels, Sydney hotels

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1 reply

  1. Hello Mick

    I have been reading the historic notes you have written on a number of hotels, and want to compliment you on your research and the interesting way you have written the stories of the hotels in the Rocks, for instance. I have ancestors who would have frequented these hotels – one of them was John Morris, who worked on the ‘Lucy Ann’ and the ‘Joseph Weller’, travelling backwards and forwards to NZ. He moved from captaining the ‘Joseph Weller’ to the much quieter water world of the Parramatta River. He was captain of the ‘Australia’, the ‘Emu’ and other steam boats working on the Sydney-Parramatta run. Hence my interest in your piece here on the Emu Hotel.

    George Street runs from the Old Government House in Parramatta down to the wharf area, where the steam packets used to arrive and depart. Captain John Morris lived in George Street, so I imagine he new the Emu Hotel well. I have read that it was known as ‘Cadman’s Steam Packet Hotel, George Street, Parramatta’. Low’s Directory for 1847 has a fantastic advertisement for it which you may like to check. The advertisement finishes that it is “close to the Queen’s Wharf, possessing views of the river and the surrounding country”. So I hope that helps you in your quest to locate the Emu Hotel, as it later became known.

    I can recommend to you a book by Catherine Bishop, titled “Minding Her Own Business”. Catherine writes that Elizabeth Cadman took over the running of the Steampacket Inn in George Street Parramatta when her husband died. These were, incidentally, the same Cadmans as in ‘Cadman’s Cottage’ at Circular Quay.


    Caroline Hardie

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