An illegal grog shop beside the road was replaced in 1834 first by The Woodman Inn, built from local sandstone around the time when Charles Darwin visited the area, then renamed The King's Arms, benefiting from the patronage of the soldiers at nearby Bull's Camp. Then William Buss, a former farm labourer convicted of horse stealing and transported to New South Wales, bought it at the height of the Gold Rush in 1855. The place became well known as Buss's Inn - even the nearby railway stop was called Buss's Platform - and prospered from hopeful gold diggers as well as soldiers tasked with escorting the gold to Sydney. The popular publican expanded the property, even providing a parlour where travelling ladies could relax without being troubled by gentlemen in the bar. Buss, in his red vest, is now one of the 'essences' seen haunting the house at times.
|Part of the original inn where once the gold was stored |
- see partially revealed stone walls and plaster and lath ceiling
- later a boys' washroom
So the boys left their mark as did the convict labourers who chipped away at these stones.
The old Great Western Road passes by the house where we're staying this week - near the home of artist Michael Herron, who was exhibiting his paintings inspired by Woodford Academy when I visited. Woodford Academy is now the oldest surviving building in the Blue Mountains, and a fascinating little museum. A busy highway now runs beside it, separating it from the railway; but the sound of a freight train coming through conjures images of its colourful history.