Thomas & Francis Pembroke
   Thomas Michael PEMBROKE was born in Trahlee in County Kerry, Ireland in 1796
Trial Place: Madras, India, 17 Oct 1818. Sentence: 7 years. Occupation: Linen Draper.
Age: 23 years. Height: 5'6". Complexion: Fair Pale. Hair: Brown. Eyes: Hazel.

Arrival: 28 Nov 1819 aboard the "St Michael" at Port Jackson, N S W on the 6th January 1820.

One the 24th Jun 1822 he wrote and applied for permission to Marry Francis Collit at Castlereagh. On May 12th 1825 he was transferred from the District of Evan, then on November 15th 1825 he received orders for grant of land  from Sir Thomas Brisbane.

He died in an Asylum in June 1840




    1825 May 12 Convict transferred from in the District of Evan (Reel 6063; 4/1786 p.101b)

    1825 Oct 25 Of Evan; served in East India Company Corps. Memorial (Fiche 3149; 4/1843B No.638 pp.1051-4)

    1825 Nov 15
    On list of persons who have received orders for grants of land (Fiche 3266; 9/2652 p.99); on list of lands granted and reserved by Sir Thomas Brisbane (Fiche 3269; 9/2740 p.23)


    Marriage 1 Frances COLLITS b: 26 SEP 1804 in Parramatta, NSW V18041471 1A/1804
    • Married: 25 JUL 1822 in Christ Church Anglican Church, Castlereagh, NSW
  • ID: I185
  • Name: Thomas Michael PEMBROKE
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: ABT 1796 in Tralee,,County Kerry,Ireland
  • Death: ABT 1840 in Sydney,,N S W
  • Note:
    Convict: Thomas Michael PEMBROKE, County Kerry, Ireland.
    Trial Place: Madras, India, 17 Oct 1818.
    Sentence: 7 years.
    Occupation: Linen Draper.
    Age: 23 years.
    Height: 5'6".
    Complexion: Fair Pale.
    Hair: Brown.
    Eyes: Hazel.
    Arrival: 28 Nov 1819 aboard the "St Michael" at Port Jackson, N S W.
  • Note:
    Thomas PEMBROKE, Convict.
    Sentence: 7 years.
    Ship: "St Michael".
    Occupation: Government Servant.
    Employer: F Painter, Windsor.
  • Reference Number: 2686
  • Name: Thomas Michael PEMBROKE 1
  • Sex: M
  • Change Date: 06 APR 2008
  • Birth: ABT 1796 in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland
  • Note: Thomas Michael was the son of an Irish merchant Michael Pembroke who died the year he was born. 1 2
  • Death: 09 JUN 1840 in Benevolent Society, Corner of George and Devonshire Streets, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Note: Thomas was a patient at the Benevolent Society 2
  • Burial: 18 JUN 1840 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Note:
    Michael was presumably buried at the nearby cemetery which is now the site of Sydney Central Railway Station.

    "Thomas Michael Pembroke was a literate, educated man used to a more ordered society than that which he found in the Colony. He battled for legitimacy of Title where most did not. He fought for his neighbour, an illegal squatter to be evicted and failed. He suffered the ignominy of a second conviction having asserted his innocence in simply collecting a few slabs of wood left behind by one of his employed splitters." [Gloria Crammond in collaboration with Cynthia Kardell, both descendants of Thomas, 22 March 1994]
  • Note: Thomas was admitted to the asylum at The Benevolent Society 2
  • 12 May 1825: Convict transferred from in the District of Evan

    Letter written by Thomas Michael Pembroke to His Excellency, Sir Thomas Brisbane KGB in 1825.
    "That your Excellency's Memo'ist is Free by Servitude that he arrived in this Colony under the unfortunate circumstances of transportation for the term of seven years which was passed on him in India, and which he has served in this Colony with impeccable character. That your Excellency's Memo'ist was seven years in the service of The Honourable East India Company's Corps as Matross and Sergeant for which period Memo'ist has certificates of Good behaviour. That Memo'ist is married to a native female of this Colony by whom he has two children ..... etc.".

    15 November 1825: Thomas was on the list of persons who have received orders for grants of land and on the on list of lands granted and reserved by Sir Thomas Brisbane 2 3

  • Note:
    In 1837 in a letter written by Francis Pembroke to His Excellency Lieutenant General Sir Richard Bourke 31.12.1837.
    "The Humble Petition of Frances Pembroke that your petitioner is the unfortunate and destitute wife of Michael Pembroke now a prisoner of the Crown ...(who) is under sentence for two years in Irons on the public roads passed upon him in July last at the Windsor Quarter Sessions for removing in the open day and had to pass through the stockade at 17 Mile Hollow) a few slabs the property of Government which he did in a mistake he having had a person employed splitting similar slabs adjacent to those of Government at some distance in the bush ..... and induce you to grant him such commuted amelioration as in your great mercy may deem fit".

    In a reply 19.2.1838 from the Colonial Office to Frances Pembroke she -
    "Is informed in reply to her Petition that His Excellency the Acting Governor has been pleased to reduce to one year the sentence of two years in Irons passed on her husband Michael Pembroke. Signed TC Harrington." 2
  • Note:
    The land grant was the subject of latter correspondence 17 November 1829to the then Governor, Lieutenant General Ralph Darling in which it was stated that -
    "as your Excellency suggested a House of Accommodation would be more necessary at 20 Mile Hollow than where he at present resides, he humbly petitions to have that 50 acres measured there and with the offered assistance of his father-in-law at Mount York, will immediately commence and complete a Respectable accommodation.."
    ` 14 December 1829 - from Pierce Collits to the Honourable Alexanda McLeay Esq. "in reply to your letter of the 5th instant I beg leave to state that I am ready to assist TM Pembroke in building an Inn...." 2
  • Note: a grant of "2 acres of land confirmed for the establishment and proposed, with a promise of an additional grant after 2 years to complete my Establishment. 2
  • Note: Thomas started planning to build an Inn named the 'Sign of the Woodman' at Woodford. A grant of 50 acres of land was made by Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane on 15 November 1826. 2
  • Note:
    The actual building of the Inn commenced in 1831 and was largely complete by February 1833

    12 April 1831 - Thomas was "compelled to come on the land in consequence of being ordered to quit the Crown land he then resided on (i.e. 24 Mile Hollow).

    8 December 1831. While still residing at 24 Mile Hollow Thomas states in a letter ...... Sir, I am instructed to erect a Respectable Inn, which is in progress, having Stone Masons, Carpenters, Splitters and Fencers employed since August last when the Surveyor General (in company with Mr. Rusden, Asst. Surveyor) was pleased to call and inform me "My S election was approved of". I was to consider the land as mine and consequently may commence Improvements - he has "expended near thirty pounds in building materials for the purpose of erecting an Inn...." as at this date.

    "In 1833 at Twenty Mile Hollow (now Woodford) ex-convict Thomas Pembroke erected an inn known as "The Woodman". It was frequented by soldiers stationed at nearby Bull's Camp to supervise convict road gangs, as well as by travellers going west."[] 2
  • Note: Letter from Thomas Michael Pembroke to His Excellency Major General Richard Bourke CB "and I have erected a Commodious Inn comprising ten apartments tho not yet finished I have expended upwards of Sixty pounds already on two acres of a Rock and what little is received by accommodating travellers (without spirit selling)..." 2
  • Note: Authority for licence to sell spirits is given in Licence No. 34/400. He writes that a large Inn is now in place. Thomas Michael's letters went largely unanswered. The reasons are not known however many were subsequently found July 1834 in Governor Bourke's 'oubliette' prompting a review and the question "What is the present state of the matter?" in August 1834. However bureaucracy can work exceedingly slowly as it was not until - 20 October 1835 that Primary Grant 42/626 was issued to Mr.T.M. Pembroke of the Woodman Inn. Although a further licence for two years to sell spirits had been granted 23 June 1835 and issued 17 July1835 (No. 35/390). 2
  • Note:
    Thomas Michael's fortunes deteriorated - perhaps due to the continuing wrangling with his neighbour Mr. William James. James ran an illicit grog shop.

    Thomas was involved with the court case when James was charged with the murder of his wife. Thomas was a material witness for the Crown but was too inebriated to finish giving evidence. Mr. Justice Burton immediately directed that he should be taken to the General Hospital, there to undergo a course of purgation, by means of the stomach-pump or emetics; and, in the mean time, His Honor adjourned the Court for an hour  on February 3 to dry out and the case adjourned until 8 December 1836 when James was found guilty, but later pardoned for reasons of fairness in regard to the Judge's wrongful discharge of the Jury in the first instance.

    After waiting much beyond that time, the witness was again produced, and upon being put once more into the box, was asked by the learned Judge if he though himself sober enough to state what he knew; to which he replied that ``he hoped he was."  Mr. Therry, the prisoner's Counsel, then came into Court, and the examination was resumed by the Solicitor-General. 

    It had not, however, proceeded far, when it was made quite evident that the ``course of medicine," or whatever other ``course" the witness had undergone at the Hospital had not been sufficiently powerful to render him a fitting witness in a case of murder.  The learned Judge soon professed his utter inability to understand what the witness meant to convey to the Court; and the Jury, through their Foreman, told the Judge that they could not think of forming an opinion upon testimony given by a person in such a state.

    His Honor said that the Court was placed in a situation of great embarrassment in the case, and suggested that the prisoner's Counsel should consent to the Jury being discharged, and the trial commence de novo on the following morning.

    His Honor then directed the cause of all this scene of confusion and delay - to wit, the drunken witness - to be consigned to the watch-house or gaol till the following morning, and then to be brought before the Court.

    In the course of the morning the witness, whose intoxication yesterday had led to all the inconvenience which followed, was brought before the Court, and after a very severe reprimand, and serious remonstrance on the impropriety of his conduct, was sentence to a month's imprisonment, for the contempt of which he had been found guilty

    Before Mr. Justice Kinchela and a Military Jury.

    William James, a free man, residing at Twenty-mile Hollow, in the district of Bathurst, was indicted for the wilful murder of Mary his wife, by strangling her with a handkerchief on the 12th October last.

    The Attorney-General briefly stated the case to the jury.  The prisoner's wife had threatened to hang herself, and had tied a handkerchief to a rafter for that purpose, when the prisoner not only put it round her neck, but shoved her off the box.  If he proved these facts the Judge would tell them it was murder.  The prisoner had been arraigned last Session, but a witness being drunk Mr. Justice Burton discharged the jury. 

    The following witnesses were then called:-

    Patrick Cahan, private in the 4th Regiment, being sworn, stated, on the 12th October last, I was in company with Corporal Spence at the prisoner's house, at Twenty-mile Hollow; we called in to light our pipes in the afternoon; we remained but a very short time, we saw the prisoner and some children; three or four minutes afterwards a female named Smith called me in to see Mrs. James; I looked between the slabs and saw her hanging by a black handkerchief from the rafters; there was a box near her feet, she appeared to be dead; he hands were up as if she had been trying to lay hold of the handkerchief; I called out to Corporal Spence and told him; the prisoner was in the kitchen, and he came to me when I called out, and said ``go and cut her down," I told him to go himself, and I saw the prisoner's son go in the room with a knife to cut her down and I think the prisoner helped him; a publican named Pembroke, who resided near the spot, came up, and him, me, and the Corporal, went into the room, the deceased was lying on the floor, and Mr. Pembroke said he was sure she was dead; the prisoner was sober, he appeared to be melancholy.

    Cross-examined - When we first went in we saw the prisoner near the fire; not more than five minutes had elapsed when Jane Smith called me, I went in immediately, James was still in the kitchen; I cannot say whether the door was locked inside; Corporal Spence went to Pembroke's; I did not hear the deceased when we first went in; if she had made any alarm I must have heard it; Creran did not give me the alarm, it was Jane Smith; I saw Creran in the house after Mr. Pembroke had arrived; some time had then elapsed; I saw him come out of another room; there was no time for the prisoner to have hung his wife from the first time I entered until I gave the alarm; no person without peeping could see Mrs. James hanging

    Patrick Creran - I have been free three years, I have been ten years in the colony; I was at Pembroke's the day Mrs James was hanged; one of her sons came crying out that his mother was hanging; it was about eight or nine o'clock in the day; I went up to the house; I saw James, and I asked him what was the matter, he said there was nothing the matter and asked me what business I had there; the children were all laughing at the door; I went into the room and saw the woman hanging; I cut her down; James was standing with his back to the fire; he threatened me, and said I had not right to interfere; there was a dispute between me and James; I got him fined forty shillings, he did not like to see me about the house; I heard James say, ``let her hang and be d--d;" this was before I cut her down; she was hanging by a red handkerchief; when I cut her down she was a long time before she came too; when she did come too she took some rum that James had, but he gave her a push and she fell down; I had seen Mrs. James before that morning; while I was trying to recover Mrs. James, the prisoner was in the kitchen, he gave me no assistance; when Mrs. James came into the kitchen she said she understood I was the b--y rogue that cut he down; she was angry with me; I said I did cut her down, and I asked her if she was not glad of it; she replied no, the prisoner had been long enough trying it on, and that if I had not interfered she would have been in a better world.  The prisoner and his wife then had a dispute about Jane Smith, and I went into another room, and by standing on the sofa I was able to see into the room in which the prisoner and his wife usually slept; I saw Mrs. James with a black handkerchief in her hand which she tied to a rafter; she asked the prisoner, who was in the next room, where her eldest son was, and he said he had gone for sugar; Mrs. James then got on a box, and the prisoner came to the room door and asked her if she was as game as she pretended; she said she wanted to see her eldest son; the prisoner said stop a minute, and then put the handkerchief round her neck and pushed her off the box; he then dragged her by the feet; he then left her and went into the kitchen; the son almost immediately came in and cut her down; the sudden jerk he gave her must have hung her; I saw the soldiers come in; I heard the soldier sing out; I was on the sofa and was looking over the wall when I saw the prisoner drag his wife by the feet; I intended to have cut her down, but the son was before me; the boy entered the room almost immediately after the prisoner left it.

    Cross-examined - I was drinking at Pembroke's when the son came to me; I was at the door and saw the boy; I got there in time to save her; I was in the house the second time but was not in time then; it was after the soldiers had come in to light their pipes that James acted as I described; I do not know whether the door was locked inside; I did not tell constable Abrahams that the door was locked, I should have made an alarm if I had not been afraid the prisoner would have escaped; if I had done such a deed I should have run away; I knew he had pistols in the house; and I told the magistrates at Penrith that was the reason; the prisoner had threatened to take my life; I thought it was necessary for me to keep my eye on him; there was no time lost before the soldiers made an alarm; I did at one time say I saw the deceased through the slabs, but it was the first time I alluded to; I do not think I said so with regard to the second time; the box was about half a yard high; it might have been more or less; I did not hear Jane Smith call the soldiers; I did not see the soldier from the time he lit his pipe until Mr. Pembroke was in the house; I did not see him look through the door; when I saw the prisoner leave the room; I got down as gently as I could in order that the prisoner might not hear me for fear he should blow my brains out, and I got out of the room as quick as possible but the son was before me.

    Cahan re-called, I never left the house from the time Smith called me until Pembroke came up; if Creran had been trying to cut the woman down I must have seen him.

    Cross-examination of Creran continued.  I laid two informations against James, I convicted him on one of them; I was charged with perjury but it could not be proved; I was in the house about settling one of the informations, the prisoner sent for me and offered me a pound and a pistol; I have just been giving evidence in the other court; I swore that all my clothes were stripped off me, and the man who was with me swore I was not stripped, but it is easy to get people to swear any thing; James was partly drunk; I was not out of the house from the time she was hanging the first time until the second time; I remained in the room all that time through what I heard amongst them; I wanted to see whether she was for hanging herself, or he was for hanging her; I saw that officer (Mr. Faunce) come in.

    Mr. Pembroke an inn keeper residing at Twenty-mile Hollow.  Corporal Spence called me and said Mrs. James was hanging; I went up to the house; the body was cut down; I recommended James to send to the depot for a medical man, but he refused; the body was quite dead; I saw Creran in the house.

    Cross-examined - The prisoner refused to send for a medical attendant; he afterwards appeared to be in great tribulation; the deceased was subject to take a drop; Creran called me on one side and pointed out a place from where he said he saw the prisoner commit the act; I did not know anything about the deceased having attempted to hang herself before; I do not think Creran was at my house that morning; I understood Creran to say he had seen through the slabs; he did not tell me that he had got on the sofa and looked over the wall; I cannot say whether he could have done so; no person came to my house and called Creran to go and cut the woman down.

    Mr. Thomas Black, surgeon - On examining the body of the deceased, I found one or two slight contusions on the eye, but think they were inflicted by her falling forward after she had been cut down; she died by strangulation, which I have no doubt was caused by hanging.

    Cross-examined - Creran said he saw the transaction through the slabs; he never said anything about sofa or bark; he said her feet were about the height of the table from the ground, but that was impossible, as from the position of the handkerchief, her feet could only just be clear of the ground; I recollect Creran was flogger at the station; from the very inconsistent manner in which he gave his evidence I would not believe him on his oath.

    The prisoner made no defence, but called the following witnesses:--

    District Constable Samuel - I was sent to the Twenty-mile Hollow; Creran told me the door was bolted inside; he took me into the inside room and shewed me where he said he stood to see James put the handkerchief over his wife's head; I am a taller man than Creran, but when I got on the sofa I could not see over; I could not lift the bark, I was not high enough.

    Lieutenant Faunce, 4th Regiment - I was on the spot with Mr. Campbell the magistrate just after the affair; Creran did not offer his evidence; after all the persons had been examined, Mr. Campbell said as Creran was a constable he would examine him, and then he told this long story; I would not believe him on his oath; The box pointed out as the one from which the deceased was thrown, was about seven inches high.

    Mr. Foster said that he had other witnesses, but he did not think it was necessary to call them.

    Mr. Justice Kinchela said, that in law, a person who assisted another to commit suicide, was guilty of murder; so that in a case where two disappointed lovers agreed to commit suicide, and went out in a boat for the purpose of drowning themselves, and one of them survived, the survivor was held to be guilty of murder, and the case was afterwards argued before the twelve judges, who were of the same opinion.  The present case as it affected the prisoner, stood solely on the evidence of Creran; they had heard his evidence, and they had heard what had been said about him, and it was for them to shew by their verdict whether they believed him.

    When the Jury had been absent about half an hour, they returned, and the Foreman (Captain Macpherson) said that they wished to examine James the son of the prisoner, who cut his mother down.  Mr. Justice Kinchela said that they were bound to return a verdict on the evidence laid before them; they could re-examine any witness they pleased, but they could call no new ones; neither the prosecutor or the defendant had called him, and the Jury could not.  Captain M. said that there was no likelihood of their agreeing, and they again left the Court which was adjourned for two hours.

    Soon after seven o'clock the Jury again returned to Court, and said that they were unable to agree upon which His Honor said that he was very sorry, but he must lock them up for the night.  He could not discharge them without the consent of the Crown and the prisoner.  If the Crown would forego the prosecution entirely, or the prisoner consent to be tried again, a Juror could be withdrawn, otherwise they were entitled to a verdict.  Mr. Carter on the part of the Attorney-General, and Mr. Foster on the part of the prisoner refused to acceded to the suggestion, and the Jury were locked up for the night.

    Saturday, August 13. - Upon Mr. Justice Kinchela taking his set this morning, the jury in James' case, who had been locked up all night, came into Court and returned a verdict of Guilty.  Death.  Ordered for execution on Monday morning.  His Honor stated that he would respite the prisoner until he could take the opinion of the Judges on the point raised in his behalf by Mr. Foster.

    Dowling A.C.J. and Burton and Kinchela JJ, 19 August 1836 Source: Burton, Notes of Criminal Cases, vol. 26, State Records of New South Wales, 2/2427

    On the 12th January 1836 the prisoner named in the margin was put upon his trial before His Honor Mr Justice Burton in the Supreme Court for the wilful murder of his wife.  After the Jury had been sworn and charged with the prisoner and some of the merits of the case were gone into a material witness for the prosecution being put into the box the presiding Judge discovered that the witness was so drunk as to be incapable of giving Evidence.  Whereupon the learned Judge adjourns the further prosecution of the case for two hours, and directed that in the [p. 93] meantime the witness should be taken to the General Hospital, for the purpose of having remedies applied to him, as were within the skill of the Surgeon to restore him to a fit state to give evidence.  After the lapse of considerably more than two hours the proceedings were resumed the witness then appearing to have recovered he was sworn and proceeded with his evidence far enough to shew that he was a very material witness when he became again incapable of giving evidence from the operation of the healed Court upon his previous intoxication.
    James was respited until the opinion of the Crown Lawyers in England was made known.  In the meantime, he was still in the condemned cell in November 1836: Australian, 8 November 1836.

    On 26 Aug 2007, Geraldine James wrote;

    "Thomas Michael Pembroke was in part responsible for the difficulties that William James had as he was always reporting him to the court at Penrith. After William's wife hung herself in 1835, a short time after the birth of her 6th child and William was charged with her murder, the 6 children of the James family were left to fend for themselves.

    When Pembroke was approached for assistance by the children he took their corn and returned them very little for it. After the children were found destitute by Mr Therry,  who defended him and also owned a neighboring property    Pembroke was again approached this time by Mr Therry, who stated in a letter to Sir John Jamieson of Regentville that he found him to be a person who drove a hard bargain and that he only agreed to help the children after he was assured of payment for any help that he gave. Mr Therry gave him assurance of this and so the children were saved from absolute starvation until other arrangements could be made for them.

    The baby died shortly after its mother, aged just about 6 weeks, having been cared for by the 8 year old Caroline from the time of her mother's death till the time of the baby's death.

    Also Pembroke was ordered to pay William James for the land that he was squatting on and had applied for a grant, until Pembroke started all the trouble with the courts, but no payment was ever received by William James or his family.

    William was given leave to apply to the High Court in England for a pardon and this was granted to him, in part because Pembroke had perjured himself at William's trial.

    It also appears that after the children were a little older the Collits family had the girls at least, and possibly the two older boys, working in one of their inns at Hartley and married William, whom his father described as of unsound mind, off to the young Caroline who was only 13 when the marriage took place in November 1840. Caroline was born in Liverpool NSW in April 1827. She was the third child and first daughter of William amd Mary James.

    Her younger siblings were as follows;
    + Maria who was born in 1829 at Stonequarry Creek, now Picton, and married at 12 to John Welsh, who was responsible for Caroline's rape and murder,
    + Simon who was born about 1831 at Twenty Mile Hollow and
    + the baby who died born about September 1835 also at Twenty Mile Hollow.

    I wonder how much influence Pembroke's interference had on Mary's decision to hang herself. Caroline's name has been blackened by the Collits family unfairly, she was simply an innocent child in the whole sordid story and her life was snuffed out before she reached her 15th birthday.

    Details of the children's ages dates and places of birth are contained in a deposition given by William James after he was taken to gaol and accused of Mary's murder"

    [Geradline James, World Connect Post Em, 26 Aug 2007] 2

  • Note: Thomas Michael entered into a mortgage by demise on the Woodman Inn and surrounding property for a consideration of sixty pounds. His initial debt was increased over the next few years to culminate in a conveyance by lease and release to Mr. Michael Hogan of Penrith 24 September 1839. 2
  • Note: A 'severe fit of illness' resulted in his being unable to attend personally as required by law at Penrith Courthouse to secure the renewal of his liquor licence - a situation which he was unable to rectify despite significant efforts on his part. 2
  • Note: Thomas had been convicted for theft and sentenced to hard labour on the Road Gangs. 2
  • Note: Thomas Michael had been freed by an act of clemency by mid 1838, but it is not known whether he ever returned to Woodford. 2
  • Note:
    A Sydney Morning Herald advertisement listed a property for sale "50acres, 20 cleared, well built stone and wood house Inn known as "Sign of Woodman", licensed comprising 9 excellent rooms, stabling for six horses, store, stock and sheep yards with a productive garden and overflowing spring of water". Mr. GK Bryant was the lessee and licensee presumably therefore providing some financial support for Thomas Michael who by then gave his address as simply `Sydney'.
    . 2
  • Note: Thomas Michael authorised Mr. Michael Hogan of Penrith to apply for the formal issue of the Primary Grant in his name - relinquishing all claimt o the property by a conveyance on the 24 September 1839 for final consideration of 90 pounds 2
  • Note: After probably being reared by his extended family, he was given an education and the opportunity to enter The British East India Co. transfering to India in 1814. The circumstances of his subsequent Court-martial and transportation are not known, notwithstanding the many letters which remain to tell us so much about this man who together with wife Frances and assisted by father-in-law Pierce Colits erected the first substantial Inn & Residence in the Woodford area. 2
  • Note:
    Woodford and "The Kings Arms"

    Woodford is a small and quiet township in the Blue Mountains, located 84km from Sydney. While building the first road across the Blue Mountains, William Cox placed a marker peg near the site of the present-day Woodford railway station in 1814. He named it 'Twenty Mile Hollow' as it was located about twenty miles from the river crossing at Emu Plains and the locality retained this title until 1871. It initially served as a reserve for traveling stock owing to its good supply of water.

    William James, from Worcester, England, was the first known white resident on this site. He was listed as a convict among 136 disembarked from the 'Baring' on 3/7/1819. He built a rough stone and slab squat thought to comprise 5 rooms, stable and stockyard. James had been asked to leave the squat in part due to his reputation for the illegal sale ofa lcohol. In the Colonial secretary's papers of November 30th 1831, he is described as the only "illegal" squatter on Bathurst Rd.

    Thomas Michael Pembroke of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, arrived as a convict aboard the "St. Michael" in 1818 aged 22. By 1831, he had been given a grant of land at Twenty Mile Hollow. This site included William James's squat. That year, Pembroke employed fencers, splitters and stonemasons to erect an inn which was largely complete by 1833. In 1839 this 'for sale' advertisement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald "50acres, 20 cleared, well-built stone and wood house, inn known as 'Signo f the Woodman', licensed, comprising 9 excellent rooms, stabling for 6horses, store, stock and sheep yards etc. with productive garden and overflowing spring of water" (SMH 14/6/1839, Mitchell). He sold the property to a Michael Hogan of Penrith for 450.

    The earliest parts of Woodford Academy (as it became known in 1907) --those fronting the highway -- remain largely in original condition and, although there is evidence of alterations, the plan form is typical ofan 1830's inn. []

    In 1855 it was decided that the police presence at Weatherboard (now Wentworth Falls) be moved closer to Penrith and a police paddock and lock-up were established at Twenty Mile Hollow. They were located just up the hill from the inn, adjacent the present highway, between Arthur St and Woodbury St.

    Another ex-convict, named William Buss, purchased the King's Arms in1855 and it thence became known as 'Buss's Inn'. A popular watering hole, it served those traveling west to the goldfields.

    The railway passed through in 1866-67 and the original railway station was known as Buss's Platform. However, Buss died in 1867 and the railway probably detracted from the road traffic and thus retarded custom at the inn. At any rate, in 1868 Buss's widow sold the building to Alfred Fairfax who renamed it Woodford House. Consequently the railway station was renamed Woodford which became the official name of the settlement.

    Woodford Academy

    The most significant historic building in Woodford is the Woodford Academy, located on the northern side of the Great Western Highway, between Arthur St and Woodford Av. Owned by the National Trust, this collection of brick and sandstone Georgian buildings dates back to the1840s. The first structure on this site was a weatherboard inn built in the early 1830s by an Irish ex-convict named Thomas Pembroke. A single-storey stone building and single-storey kitchen wing, which form the basis of the present group, were probably erected in the 1840s when the tavern became known as 'The King's Arms'. A brick second storey was later added to the kitchen and a two-storey stone wing was built, with the group completed in its present form, by 1862. Another ex-convict, named William Buss, purchased the establishment in 1855 and it thence became known as 'Buss's Inn'. A popular watering hole, it served those raveling west to the goldfields.

    At the time of Buss's death in 1867 the railway was passing through and, although it brought more people to the mountains, it detracted from the road traffic and probably retarded custom at the inn. At any rate, in1868, Buss's widow sold the building to Alfred Fairfax who renamed it Woodford House. Fairfax resided there intermittently until the 1880swhen it became a guest house to serve the growing trade of holidaymakers.

    By 1897, when it was purchased by David Flannery, the property had expanded to 90 acres, though it was soon subdivided. He leased Woodford House in 1907 and it subsequently became an educational institution for boys, focusing on the liberal arts, and was known as Woodford Academy. John McManamey purchased the house in 1914 but it remained a school until 1936 when it served as a residence for McManamey's two daughters.

    It is one of the thirteen historic inns listed on the excellent History Highway Inns website. Check it out at History Highway Inns which offers detailed information about the historic inns in the Blue Mountains.


    Situated at 91 Great Western Highway, Woodford, the Academy buildingsare the oldest group of buildings in the Blue Mountains and one of the most significant in NSW. Most of the building is dated to the 1880'swith part of the original 1830's Inn built by the ex-convict Thomas Pembroke still in existence.[] 4
  • Note: Thomas sought permission to marry at Castlereagh 5

    His wife appealed for clemency, requesting support from an important family in the district, who also appear to have been the employers of coachman Charles Fell.  A year later Sarah Nash's future husband John Fell was born. 

    Father: Michael PEMBROKE

    Marriage 1 Frances COLLITS b: 26 SEP 1804 in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
    • Married: 07 JUL 1822 in Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia
    • Note: The Pembroke Family Tree suggests that the marriage date was 25 July 1822 1 2
    1. Has Children Mary PEMBROKE b: 22 MAY 1822 in Castlereagh
    2. Has No Children Thomas de Goggin PEMBROKE b: 1823
    3. Has Children William PEMBROKE b: 24 NOV 1824
    4. Has Children Garrett De Grogan PEMBROKE b: 14 AUG 1826
    5. Has No Children Pierce PEMBROKE b: 1828
    6. Has No Children Edwin PEMBROKE b: 1829
    7. Has No Children Thomas PEMBROKE b: 21 DEC 1830
    8. Has No Children Ellen PEMBROKE b: 25 MAR 1833
    9. Has Children Henry PEMBROKE b: 1835 in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
    10. Has No Children Sarah PEMBROKE b: 23 OCT 1837
    11. Has Children John PEMBROKE b: 08 NOV 1838 in Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia

    1. Title: Pembroke Family Tree, 13 June 1987 (Included in research material from Faye Young for Ron Prowse
      Abbrev: Pembroke Family Tree, 13 June 1987
    2. Title: Thomas Michael Pembroke - Personal Details
      Abbrev: Thomas Michael Pembroke - Personal Details
      Author: Gloria Crammond and Cynthia Kardell
      Publication: 22 March 1994
    3. Title: Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825, (NSW)
      Abbrev: Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825
      Page: (Reel 6063; 4/1786 p.101b)
      (Fiche 3149; 4/1843B No.638 pp.1051-4)
      (Fiche 3266; 9/2652 p.99)
      (Fiche 3269; 9/2740 p.23)
    4. Title: Sydney Morning Herald
      Abbrev: Sydney Morning Herald
      Page: 17 February 2005.
    5. Title: Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825, (NSW)
      Abbrev: Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825
      Page: (Reel 6009; 4/3506 p.10)
    Ironically daughter Mary Pembroke married George Hume on the 26 Jun 1840 in Penrith. her father Thomas died aged 44   on the  9th June 1840 at the Benevolent Society where he was a patient.  Mary was four months pregnant at the time.James Stirling HUME b: 18 Nov 1840 in Windsor NSW Australia