If you look around you here, you can notice the swales in the ground. These give us a clue as to how this land may have been used when it comprised the backyard section of the highway inn at 20 Mile Hollow.
As the buildings layout of Kings Arms Inn from the 1860s shows, this was the area where the stables and stockyards were located. With forage for livestock at an absolute premium along the dry mountains ridgeline, any pasture growth they could nurture meant corn they didn't have to buy in as stockfeed.
The ground here contained the very head of the spring that powered the ecological hotspot that was 20 Mile Hollow.
Dispersing the water across the upper reaches of the hollow, rather than allowing it to simply drain down to the lower levels of fields, helped ensure maximum use was made of this precious resource.
Another feature of the spring here that made it so important for travellers was its close proximity to the Bathurst Road.
Rather than having to leave the road and drop down into a gullyline to search out water, early travellers could simply step aside from the bush track across the mountains and drink their fill. This feature was highlighted in one correspondent's account from 1828 ...
This natural spring was the reason why the roadside inn came to be developed at 20 Mile Hollow over the 1830s. Later, as the property gradually transformed into a guesthouse offering people a retreat from city living, so too did the ground around here adapt to these changing uses.
By 1905, the proprietress Mrs Graves was able to offer visitors access to a golf links, tennis court, orchard, natural swimming bath and swings located in and around this backyard precinct.
Later when the property was taken up as a private school in 1907, this area formed part of the playing fields used by students at the Woodford Academy.