Woolpack Hotel, Parramatta

Woolpack Hotel Parramatta 1949 small

The Woolpack Hotel, Parramatta 1949. Photo: Australian National University, Noel Butlin Archives.

Mystery Fire In Hotel Room
SYDNEY. Friday.— When a room in the Woolpack Hotel, Parramatta, was burning today people, hearing screams, ran in and found Samuel Newlands, 36, lying on the floor gasping and crying out in agony. He died a few minutes later. About a quarter of an hour before a maid had taken morning tea to Mr. Newlands. He was then all right. The police are puzzled about the cause of the fire.
The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA) Saturday 17 January 1931.
lockett family woolpack hotel parramatta 1930

Licensee of the Woolpack Hotel, Parramatta, Tim Lockett (left) standing beside his wife, Una in 1930.

Dead Man’s Charge
SYDNEY, Tuesday.
The inquest concerning the death of Samuel Newlands, at Paramatta, was resumed today. Dr Alexander stated that a glass was found on the dressing table of the dead man’s room containing some liquid which had the same smell as the dying man’s breath. Witness took it to be cyanide. At the last hearing allegations were made against Mrs. Lockett, wife of the licensee of the hotel, at Parramatta. References were made to other men and Mrs. Lockett. In the papers left by Newlands there were charges of immorality.
The Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW : 1894 – 1939) Tuesday 10 March 1931.
una lockett publican wife woolpack parramatta 1931

Una Lockett

The coroner’s hearing into Sam Newlands’ death at the Woolpack Hotel at Parramatta in 1931 caused a sensation, and packed the court room.

Newlands was the manager of Tim and Una Locketts’ miniature golf course, and was a boarder at their hotel. In Newlands’ diary, found in the room after his death, he made explosive allegations against the publican’s wife, branding her as “immoral”.

The night before his death, Una, whose husband was away on holidays, had acid thrown on her face while she slept. The publican’s wife said she believed Newlands crept into her room while she slept, splashing the acid on her cheek, in revenge to her earlier in the day refusing to lend him money.

Dr Alexander, the pub barman William Knight, and several other witnesses, who discovered Newlands’ burnt body, told the inquest that a “lager glass”, containing a small amount of acid, was taken from the bedside cabinet by the police. Adding to the interest the story created, the police denied that a glass existed, and that they had not removed it from Newlands’ room, despite the doctor and the barman testifying to the fact.

knight barman woolpack 1931

Woolpack Hotel barman, William Knight.

Sensational evidence was tendered when the.inquiry was resumed on Tuesday into the death of Samuel Newlands (34), manager of the Woolpack miniature golf course, who was found dead in a blazing room in the Woolpack Hotel on January 16. Dr. S. J. Alexander declared that he saw a glass containing cyanide in Newlands’ room, and that he drew the attention of the police to it. Two maids also claimed that they saw the glass, and William Knight, a barman, asserted that the police took it away from the hotel wrapped in white paper. A denial of the allegation was made by Sergeant Dibden. “It is a lie,” he declared hotly. The Coroner, in returning a verdict that Newlands died from poison, wilfully self administered, said he had no hesitation in believing that Sergeant Dibden had spoken the truth. “I don’t believe there was a glass in the room,” he added.

– The Cumberland Argus (Parramatta, NSW) Thursday March 12 1931.

The coroner found that Newlands died from prussic acid poisoning, wilfully self administered. He went on to say it wasn’t his job to determine why Newlands would throw acid at the publican’s wife, before drinking the remainder and killing himself. His job was to determine whether Newlands killed himself, and he had no doubt that is what happened.
A year after the controversy, the Woolpack Hotel publican, Tim Lockett died.

Categories: NSW hotels, Parramatta Hotels, Publicans, Sydney hotels

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