Rectangle: Rounded Corners: LOOKING AT OUR  HISTORY-

If you are driving through the little village of Millfield on Wollembi road between Wollembi & Cessnock, you could be excused if you missed the former Rising Sun Inn without so much as a second glance. There is a small sign on the verandah outside, indicating the old building’s origin, and easily missed, unless you stop.

We had passed this place numerous times during the last 4 years & had mentioned that it is a lovely old building but didn’t investigate into its origin any further & it was only by accident that we found out its history when we called in, as there was a garage sale on.

We were informed by the current owner, that it was built around 1832 -1838 as an inn, of which there had been 12, between Wollombi & Millfield, catering to travellers.

The small cluster of buildings became the township of Millfield, which featured a large flour mill that was the main employer in the area at the time. This mill no longer exists & was replaced by numerous sawmills, seeing as the area was rich in timber.

The Rising Sun Inn was built on land granted to William Smith in 1828. The earliest licence No. 214 was given to John McDougall on 27 June 1838.

John McDougall was famed for his floggings of convicts whilst being an overseer during the building of the Old Great Northern Road, an historic road that was built to link early Sydney with the fertile Hunter Valley to the north.

It is believed several convicts sought revenge on the former overseer by staging bushranger-style attacks on the Inn.

The second publican was Thomas Pendergast, another colourful character. In December 1840 McDougall was visiting Pendergast at the inn,

where they were held up by Edward (Jew Boy) Davis and his gang of bushrangers.

Pendergast was robbed of 13 pounds and McDougall given a dozen strokes with a bullock whip in revenge for his treatment of convicts as overseer.

The building remained an Inn until about 1866, when Charles Beany bought it and used it as a general store.

In March of the same year the postal service was transferred to the inn.

From about 1895 to 1980 it was a residence owned by some of the early pioneering families in the district.

The building was rundown and due to be demolished prior to its restoration which began in 1980.

A job that proved to be quite large, as it was necessary to replace all the rotted windows, doors, water pipes & wiring for power.

In addition, the floor had to be levelled, as parts of it had sunk some 460mm. The western wall was at some stage covered with weatherboards which have recently been removed.

Internal walls in this section have been removed and the ceiling posts repositioned.

Some floorboards in the original section have been replaced using boards from elsewhere in the building.

The original kitchen area with intact large brick double fireplace, once a separate building, but was joined by additions to the main vernacular slab-built structure.

The building is one of the most important & rare examples of early wooden slab buildings from the early 19th century within the City of Cessnock.

The Rising Sun Inn is now used as a museum, gallery & craft shop, along with antiques, with the proceeds going to help women who have been in abusive relationships & was heritage listed in 1999.

It is not open all the time so best to check.

The area is incredibly beautiful, with the Watagans, wineries, 4x4 tracks, Yengo NP, Wollombi & Cessnock, all nearby, with Newcastle being about 1 hour away as well.

All in all, well worth the time to explore this area as it has to lots to offer.

Note: Many driving tracks within The Watagans & Yengo NP are currently closed due to recent severe storm damage, so best check here:

Read more about the inn here: