Doyle, Michael and Jane

Full name:

Doyle, Michael and Jane (née Morley) + family

Dates recorded for being in Berrima:


Occupation if known and land ownership:

Innkeeper and coach operator. Owner of four allotments


Ex-Convict and wife Born in Colony

Between 1839 and 1849 Michael Doyle ran the (Royal) Mail Coach Hotel on the corner of the Market Place and the main highway.

Doyle played a leading role in the Berrima community and is mentioned in the press many times, mainly associated with the Berrima races, his role as an auctioneer and the hospitality offered at his inn.

Doyle arrived as a convict in 1825 transported from Dublin on the Ann and Amelia. His certificate of freedom, issued in July 1833, states he was born in 1798 a shopman and had been convicted of stealing jewellery for which he was sentenced to transportation for seven years.[1] The certificate also says the Supreme Court sent him to the penal settlement on Norfolk Island for six years in November 1826 where he is listed at the time of the 1828 Census. His crime this time was stealing fifty blankets from the Crown.[2]

On his return Doyle was associated with the coaching business of John Ireland, another ex-convict. In April 1836 he and Ireland appeared in court, charged with assault, Ireland, described as the proprietor of a coaching company and Doyle as his clerk. Together they were accused of dragging a man from the box seat of one of their coaches.[3] The outcome is not known but Ireland’s business was to grow, sometimes in partnership with John Richards, who was to become another Berrima resident.

When Doyle purchased land in Berrima (Lot 3 Section 5) in December 1834 Doyle is listed as living somewhere on the Parramatta Road, possibly near or at Ireland’s Plough Inn at the junction of the Parramatta and Liverpool roads This same address is given as late as February 1836 when he buys another allotment in Bathurst. [4] And as late as 1 May 1837 he is mentioned in the Sydney Monitor as a Mail Coach proprietor based at the Talbot Inn in Sydney. It must have been soon after this he built his inn, the Mail Coach, on his Berrima allotment. As the name suggested this coincided with the re-routing of the mail run to include Berrima and have Berrima, rather than Bong Bong, as the district’s main post office. In March 1837 Doyle advertised for a ‘Respectable Waiter and Thorough Cook’ adding that ‘None need apply that cannot produce satisfactory testimonials as to character and ability’. Applications were to be sent to the Coach Office of the Talbot Inn in Sydney.[5]

1837 was also the year Doyle married: his wife was Jane Morley (née Morley), twelve years his junior and born in the colony to convict parents.[6],[7]

The fact that the mail coach stopped at Doyle’s inn rather than either of the two other premises, McMahon’s Berrima Inn and Harper’s Surveyor General Inn confirms his contacts in the coaching business. Doyle’s inn in Berrima became the overnight stop on the lucrative southern mail run.

Within one year of opening the Mail Coach Inn on Jellore Street (then known as the Market Place) Michael was looking for larger premises. In 1838 he bought Lots 2, 3 and 4 of Section 1, on the opposite side of the market place, from Edward Flood for the sum of £120. A portion of this money, some £100, had come from the sale of his original Berrima property and his allotments in Bathurst and Bungonia to John Ireland. He had made this sale only months after opening the inn – in July 1837.[8] These transactions confirm the strong business links between the two men.[9]

In 1839 Michael Doyle succeeded in transferring his publican’s licence and added ‘Royal’ to its title also upgrading it to a ‘Hotel’. It was a prime location on the main road and clearly visible to approaching traffic.

In January 1838 an advertisement appeared under the heading ‘Royal Mail Coach Inn’, advising that

‘M Doyle most respectfully acquaints his Friends; and the Public that he has opened the above house, and fitted it up in a most convenient style for the Accommodation of Travellers, and trusts by unremitting attention to merit a share of Patronage and Support.’
The Sydney, Goulburn and Yass Mails start from the above inn where all Passengers and Parcels are Booked and attended to.[10]

This advertisement appears under one for the Yass Mail and coaching service then being operated by John Richards, another of the coaching fraternity who had also been in business with John Ireland.

Doyle was also selling off land he owned in Goulburn, presumably to finance his new inn. Perhaps indicative of the market growth of Goulburn vis a vis Berrima, one allotment in Auburn St, Goulburn yielded the couple £200 in 1839

Michael Doyle seemed to prosper. He was able to raise and pay off a £500 mortgage he had obtained and to construct one of the grandest buildings in Berrima, a four-storey, dressed sandstone building with attic rooms and extensive cellars.[11] The new Mail Coach Inn is often cited in the newspapers of the time as the meeting place for local activities including regular auctions of land in March 1841 and a meeting to discuss establishing annual horse races in April 1841.[12],

On the occasion of a visit to Berrima by John Wild Esq, the District’s representative in the Colonial government, a dinner in his honour was held at the Mail Coach Hotel. The account in the Sydney Morning Herald of 24 July 1845 lists the guests as including local landowners Charles Throsby and John Nicholson Jr and merchant J J Higgins. commenting that:

‘The dinner was got up in the very best style, and reflects the highest credit upon Mr. Doyle’s Mail Coach Hotel: indeed, when we bear in mind the very short time he had to prepare an entertainment for so many, it is surprising how he managed to provide so many good things, partaking as they did both of substantials and delicacies.’

A more illustrious guest was Governor Gipps who stayed there on a visit to Berrima in 1842.[13] The inn remains today alongside the Market Place, evidence of the money Doyle invested.

When John Richards died late in 1838 Doyle took over the contract for the mail and coaching business. Regular advertisements (see below) appear for his coach services alongside another advertisement encouraging travellers to stop overnight at his inn.

He may not, however, have been the sole owner of the coaching business as there is anecdotal evidence of a coaching company called Doyle and Levy existing in this period. In the Maitland Mercury of 31 October 1938 an article by Will Carter on the coaching days mentions the coaching company of Doyle and Levy and though no specific dates are given it refers to the late 1830s on the Goulburn to Campbelltown route. Another reference comes in Goulburn Evening Penny Post 9 September 1905 when the writer, Charles McAlister Senior, refers to memories of his first coach trips:

made as a boy in 1838, when in one of Doyle and Levy’s coaches (and a rough affair it was) we spent sixteen days in going and coming. Old hands will remember the strange partnership of Messrs. Doyle and Levy. Doyle, the devil-may-care Sydney Irishman, and Levy, the wide awake Berrima Jew – the pioneers of southern coach drivers and owners, both keen and lively “Jehus” as ever made passengers foot it up a hill, but, be it also recounted, as honest a pair of citizens as ever hold the ribbons.

Though the reference to Levy is almost certainly to Joseph Levy who owned a store and brewery in Berrima and was to build the Victoria Inn in 1840, there is no proof that the Doyle referred to is Berrima’s Michael Doyle, it was a fairly common name. But neither should it be discounted solely on the basis of McAlister referring to him as ‘of Sydney’.

If this was a joint venture between the two notable Berrima residents how long it continued is not known. The Maitland Mercury reference given above says Doyle and Levy were succeeded by Jones and Lupton who, in the fifties, held the mail delivery contract from Sydney to Melbourne.[14]

There is some evidence, however, that either the coaching business was expanding or the association between Doyle and John Ireland was breaking down. Independent of Doyle’s mail coach service John Ireland was offering his own coach services south from Campbelltown using a different booking office in Goulburn, at the inn of a Mr Moses. And in January 1840 Ireland announced a fast service three times a week travelling from Goulburn to Campbelltown in one day. That is, there was no overnight stop in Berrima.

A further indication of Ireland’s a rift between Doyle is his establishing an independent base in Berrima. With partners Isaac Titterton and Charles Morris, Ireland leased the Surveyor General Inn and forty acres of land at the northern end of the village from James Harper in 1838. The three-year lease cost the partnership £200 a year and came with permission to build a blacksmiths shop.[15] Doyle was not included.

But by 1843 Ireland and Doyle were in business again, advertising their mail coach services.[16]

And by the late 1840s there are signs Doyle is planning to leave Berrima as locals pick up on its potential sale. .[17],[18]. A notice placed in Sydney Morning Herald of 17 February 1849 states:

JL., in addition, begs leave to state that he is ready to undertake AGENCY business upon the same principle as that adopted by the old innkeeper Mr. Michael Doyle, who has left Berrima; and he pledges himself to make the old customers, either from Sydney or the country whenever they favour him with a call.

‘JL’ was undoubtedly Joseph Levy. A year later the Mail Coach Inn is offered for sale. An advertisement provides a wonderful description of what Michael Doyle had built ten years previous (see below). [19]

What happened to Doyle is unknown. At this period, two Michael Doyles are mentioned in the press, one opening a lumber yard in Goulburn, the other and more likely candidate is one who was made insolvent with substantial debts, operating the Toll Gate Inn on the Parramatta Road. But neither has been linked to Berrima’s Michael Doyle.

What is certain is that by 1956 he was insolvent.[20] Evidence of this insolvency being associated with Berrima’s Michael Doyle is that his name plus that of his wife Jane Morley are also mentioned in relation to land sales around the village of Northfield in Kurrajong Heights. There are three entries for the sale of land two in Michael Doyles’ name and one in the name of Jane. No date accompanies them but the dates of other sales would suggest the mid-1850s. Against one sale under the headings ‘Details’ it says ‘Michael Doyle insolvent 12 Oct 1856’.[21]

Michael died in 1862 at the age of 65.

DEATHDOYLE-On the 5th October, at his residence, No. 28, Campbell-street, Mr. Michael Doyle, in the 65th year of his age. (Empire, 7 October 1862)

FUNERAL. The friends of the deceased MICHAEL DOYLE are invited to attend his Funeral, to move from his late residence, No. 80, Campbell-street, THIS (Monday) AFTERNOON, at 3 o’clock. JAMES CURTIS, undertaker, 59, Hunter-street. (Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 1862)

Jane Morley

Jane’s father was Joseph Parker Morley a convict from London who arrived in 1796 on the 2nd Fleet ship Surprize to serve a seven-year sentence for theft. Joseph was one of those convicts who made good and his activities are well-documented.[1] He married twice, both times to other convicts. His first wife was Ann Yates who he married in 1798 and with whom he had four children, two of whom died young. He and Ann separated in 1809. Joseph’s second wife was Hannah Railton and though they didn’t marry until 1818 their first child, Jane Parker Morley, was born in 1809. Six more children were to follow.

Woronora Cemetary

Thus Jane was part of a very large family. Joseph Parker Morley died in 1838 and his wife, Hannah, in 1853. The sad tale of Hannah’s being committed as a lunatic while residing with her daughter in Berrima is written up in the Sydney Morning Herald, 8 December 1843. Other members of Jane’s family moved to the area, notably her brother, Anthony George Morley, who was the licensee of the Argyle Inn, Bong Bong from 1844 to 1849.

Doyle and his wife had at least one child, Michael Henry Doyle, born in Berrima in August 1845. He died in Liverpool in 1918.

Jane was fourteen years younger than Michael who she married in Berrima in 1837 and she outlived him by fifteen years. The notice of her death in the Sydney Morning Herald of 7 September 1877 reads:

At her residence, 356 Elizabeth-street, Sydney, Jane, relict of the late Michael Doyle, aged 67 years.

Michael and Jane Doyle are commemorated on a memorial with others of Jane’s family, including her mother and father, in Woronora Cemetery, Sutherland where their bodies were relocated after the closure of the Devonshire St cemetery. On the memorial Jane is referred to as Jane Parker Doyle.



Royal Mail Coach Hotel, Berrima
An Advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald of 1842

THE Proprietor having completed an extensive addition to his building, and fitted it up in a convenient and comfortable style, he hopes for a continuance of the public favour so liberally bestowed on him during the last six years, for which he takes this opportunity of returning his most grateful thanks to the gentlemen and travellers to and from Port Phillip and the surrounding districts, whose comfort and patronage it shall be his constant study to preserve.

The Mails start from his house every morning precisely at 6 o’clock, for Goulburn, Yass, &c, &c and also for Campbelltown and Sydney. He begs further to announce, that he has determined on starting a four-horse coach in a respectable  and comfortable style, with careful drivers, at very reduced fares, as will be seen by the following list, viz.:

£   s.  d.
From Sydney to Yass                               4   4   0
From ditto to Goulburn                            3   0   0
From ditto to Berrima.,                            1  14   0
From Campbelltown to Yass .                  3  18   0
From Campbelltown to Goulburn            2  12  0
From Campbelltown to Berrima              1   6   0

NB – Booking Offices, Talbot Inn, George Street, Sydney; Hurley’s Hotel Mr. White’s Mail Coach Office, Church Street, Goulburn: and at the Mail Coach Hotel, Berrima.

M. DOYLE., 13th October, 1842



TO BE SOLD OR LET, all that well-known Inn and Coaching Establish ment, «-THE MAIL COACH HOTEL,” in the centre of the Town of Berrima, and in the direct road to Port Phillip, lately occupied by Mr. Doyle.

These desirable premises stand on about two acres of land, and possess every advantage necessary for a first-rate business fronting the Market-place, and bounded in the rear by the River.

The large Stone house, three stories high, contains spacious cellarage-, bar, parlours, bed rooms, and a handsome ballroom; the whole in good repair, and ready for immediate occupation

Two cottages, suitable for shops or private dwellings

A stone building, with oven complete, and well-floored granary, used as a contract bakehouse and store

A large stone kitchen, with pantry, and servants’ apartments over nil

A fifteen stall stable and well-floored hayloft, temporary stables, loose boxes, and sheds, for the accommodation of from 15 to 20 horses and carriages

A slaughter-house

Four convenient stockyards

Piggeries and out-Offices

Constant supply of water from the river

A never-failing well of water in the centre of the premises

Slab huts, &R. &c, &c.

There is also a garden of nearly an acre in extent, in which are about two hundred choice fruit trees, in a high state of cultivation, well sheltered from southerly gales by a high slab fence, and close to the river.

The whole is securely fenced in, and with little capital may be made one of the most convenient and profitable concerns in the south country.

Terms exceedingly moderate.

Apply to the Proprietor,


No. 36, Castlereagh-street, Sydney. February 1.

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 12 February 1850


[1] No 33/0791 SRO 4.4317 reel 991

[2] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 22 November 1826

[3] Sydney Monitor. 30 April 1836

[4] Doyle bought two allotments in Bungonia in Dec 1834, one allotment in Bathurst in Dec 1834 and a further one allotment in Bathurst in 1836

[5] Australian, 3 March 1837

[6] NSW BDM 363/1837 V1837363 126.

[7] Shylie Brown in Life Behind the Bar says Doyle purchased land on which there were already two 2 stone cottages on the allotments

[8] Lot 3 Section 2 was sold to Ireland in July 1837

[9] The premises were taken over by Mssrs McDermott and Dixon who advertised their new store in Berrima in the premises lately occupied by Mr Michael Doyle. Australian, 30 November 1839.

[10] Colonist, 6 January 1838

[11] The mortgage, covered by Thomas Burdekin, was repaid in November 1841

[12] Australian, 24 April 1841

[13] Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 25 October 1842

[14] Wood, Ian, Hurrah for the Road : Stage Coaches to Goulburn and Beyond 1/7/1848 – 31/12/1875

[15] Memorial of lease agreement between Charles Morris, Isaac Titterton and John Ireland, Lands Titles Office, Book P number 233, p. 16, 6 March 1839

[16] Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 1843

[17] Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 1848. Reports that one potential purchaser of the inn was rumoured to be the Catholic Church. Residents were concerned that the Church intended to purchase the inn for conversion into a chapel, priest’s residence and schoolhouse. In the event the church was built on the opposite side of the river and Harper’s Mansion at the northern end of the town ship was purchased to serve as a presbytery.

[18] Shylie Brown in Life Behind the Bar says Doyle defaulted on his mortgage and Peter W Plomer, a solicitor, took possession of the property, authorising Joseph Levy to act as his agent. In 1850 the building was sold to Thomas Bray for £320. The Brays held the property till 1873.

[19] Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 1848. This article reports that one potential purchaser of the inn was rumoured to be the Catholic Church. Residents were concerned that the Church intended to purchase the inn for conversion into a chapel, priest’s residence and schoolhouse. In the event the church was built on the opposite side of the river and Harper’s Mansion at the northern end of the town ship was purchased to serve as a presbytery.

[20] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 25 October 1856. ‘Michael Doyle of Campbell-street, Sydney, agent. Liabilities, £357. Assets: Value of personal property, £60; outstanding debts, £19; total, £79. Deficit, £278.’

[21] Kurrajong Heights NSW Land Transactions of Interest Accessed 2015