The first official settlers of 20 Mile Hollow were Thomas Michael Pembroke, his wife Francis Collits and their young family.
Pembroke was a self admitted man of dogged persistence. He had first squatted at 24 mile hollow - Christmas Swamp - with the intention of setting up an Inn.
This hut is still marked on this map along with his later settlement marked as ‘Pembrokes Waterhole’. It is ironic and unfortunate that the land he finally settled on was already occupied by the squatter William James who had already erected a slab hut, and stables and put in applicationto be granted the land he occupied. The map shows how Pembrokes selection includes James’s stockyard.
This initial period of European settlement was marked by one of the earliest Blue Mountains Neighbourhood disputes, a bitter and ongoing clash which was only resolved with the death of Mary James, the arrest of her husband on the charge of assisting her suicide and the imprisonment of Pembroke for his drunken testimony, which caused the acquittal of James, who later died on a prison Hulk.
Even with the advantages of having Pierce Collits as a Father-in-law Pembroke was not a success.
He began to use his land grant like a cash converter and continually borrowed against it, leading to a total debt of over £150.
His creditors, Hughes & Hoskings, took over the lease of the property and advertised it for sale - this one of the earliest descriptions of the land, its aspect, advantages and improvements.
1838 “Woodman Inn,”- Bathurst Road.- where may be constantly enjoyed (even, this unpropitious season) the most delicious spring water, air most salubrious, with most extensive prospect of southern and eastern country. Fifty Acres being a Grant from the Crown. Stabling, Stock-yards, Garden, and twenty Acres fell and nearly cleared for a Paddock. Apply to Messrs. Hughes & Hoskings.
A later 1839 advertisement detailed the stabling for six horses, store, stock and sheep-yards, with a productive garden and an overflowing spring of pure water.
When Michael Hogan purchased the Inn in 1839 to add to his healthy portfolio of land investments he also claimed the right to the original full 50 acres Crown grant promised to Pembroke - Portion 1 of the County of Cook.
Hogan was a solid and sound landlord and he and his wife Mary, (specifically mentioned on the title deed) reliably managed the property for 16 years with a succession of Innkeepers and without incident.
text and plan images: Kate O’Neill