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History Corner: The Saracen Head Inn

By Reg A. Watson

 

THOUSANDS of cars pass it every day, perhaps oblivious to its origins and age.

The Saracen Head Inn stands on the road to and from Bowen Bridge on the corner of the Risdon roundabout.

It is one of the oldest convict-built buildings in the south.

Constructed in about 1828, it served as an inn for the coaches on their way to Richmond.

The convicts were from the old Richmond gaol and it is reputed to have not only one ghost, but two.

A young lady who was murdered from a coaching party is said to be heard dancing up the stairs.

Surrounded by and hidden from the road by old huge pine trees (probably 190 years old), it is of Georgian design.

Once, hop fields surrounded the building, but they have long since gone.

Each year, dances were held in the kiln to celebrate the end of the season.

Those romantic times have passed.

The old stables still exist with the home (it is a private dwelling) and has French windows and a cathedral ceiling.

Next time traveller, when rushing past the Saracen, do reflect on its heritage and ponder on its historic significance.