The land on which Tahmoor House stands forms part of Portion 203 granted to Edward Doyle by Crown Grant dated 1st November 1822. Doyle occupied the land prior to that date.
During his time at Myrtle Creek, Doyle who had been transported from Ireland in 1806, erected a dwelling, known as Doyle’s Accommodation House, grew crops and cleared some of the land. He saw potential for an inn along the Great South Road and applied, in 1822, to Governor Brisbane to sell liquor without a licence. His request was denied. Some records have stated that he was a person of ‘doubtful character’.
Doyle sold his grant to William Klensendorlffe in 1824.
William Klensendorlffe came as a freeman to New South Wales in 1818 and shortly later married Elizabeth Guise of Parramatta, daughter of Richard Guise of the 102nd Regiment
William Hovell and Hamilton Hume, the explorers, record staying overnight
at Klensendorlffe's in October 1824 on their expedition south to Port Phillip in Victoria.
In 1825 Klensendorlffe had a license to sell liquor but was not popular with his neighbours He had a reputation of being troublesome and litigious. It would appear Klensendorlffe’s purchase of the inn was purely commercial.
Margaret and Ralph Hush Jr. were the licensees in 1829 and named the Inn, 'The Traveller'. Klensendorlffe retained ownership of the property but was now living near Canberra.
Margaret's husband Ralph Hush Senior, a convict sentenced to life, was indentured to John Oxley as a convict labourer. However, Margaret persuaded Oxley to free her husband and this was done after he had served only four years of his sentence. Undoubtedly John Oxley was a visitor to the Inn.
James Crispe became licensee in 1835 and purchased the building and 240 acres of land from Klensendorlffe in 1836 for the sum of one thousand pounds. Crispe was born in Norfolk, England arriving in 1825 and had held the license for the Angel Inn in George Street, Sydney prior to his arrival in Tahmoor.
Crispe seems to have been well liked and respected with a most benevolent and polite disposition.
In 1841, Crispe discharged the mortgage of 500 pounds taken out when he purchased the property and re-mortgaged it for one thousand one hundred pounds. It has been generally written, without confirmation that Crispe extended the building with the money from the refinancing. It is possible he may have been in financial difficulty as the depression of the 1840's had an effect on many people. Crispe was declared insolvent in 1844. He moved on to be the licensee of the George IV Inn in Picton.
The property transferred to the mortgagee, Peter Plomer, who retained ownership until 1853. The license was held by James Blake in 1844 and 1845 and John Gray appeared as licensee in 1847. The Inn retained the name of 'The Traveller' and was changed to 'The Pastoral Hotel' when John Gray became the owner in 1853,
John Gray was born in Fraserburgh, Scotland and came to New South Wales in 1824 as a free man. Gray purchased the property in 1853 and last renewed the publican's license in 1867, which was the year the railway was extended from Picton to Mittagong, bypassing Tahmoor and going through nearby Thirlmere. The extension of the rail line obviously had its effect and the building ceased to trade as an inn. It seems that Gray continued to provide accommodation, advertising vacant apartments at Myrtle Creek under the heading 'Change of Air'. Business continued to decline and Gray was declared insolvent in 1869.
The property was sold in 1870 to James Watson who leased it to the McInnes family, who are said to be responsible for internal alterations. (Photographed right The McInnes Brothers)
George Bradbury purchased the property in 1879 and it now became a private residence. He and his wife Mary occupied it for 40 years, naming it 'Leigham Holme'. Shortly after the purchase he transferred the land to his wife by way of a Trust Deed. During his long residence, Bradbury took a great interest in local affairs, especially the school, which he allowed to operate free of charge in one of his old buildings; he also donated two acres of land for a new school to be erected. Bradbury was a member of the Picton Progress Association, a Justice of the Peace and a Police Magistrate. He sold the property in 1920 to Messrs Hardie, Storie & Phippard who subsequently subdivided the land into Tahmoor Park Estate. It is from this date that the building became known as 'Tahmoor Park House' and later just as 'Tahmoor House', now on a much smaller parcel of land.
John Sanderson leased the house for a short period prior to purchasing it in 1922 running it as a boarding house and tea rooms for a number of years, until it was sold in 1946 by his widow Alice Sanderson.
A famous and regular visitor to this establishment was James Scullin, Prime Minister of Australia from 1929 to1935.
Will Lawson, well known Sydney journalist and author, in his book 'Red Morgan Rides' published in 1940 devotes a chapter to the inn in which Red Morgan's wife Annie is working as a barmaid at The Traveller before leaving to meet her ill fated husband in Wagga. This may be poetic licence on behalf of the author but it is obvious from his description that he was a visitor to Tahmoor House back then.
Harry Foyston Clayton became the owner in 1946, followed in 1953 by Leslie Howard Quinion and in 1970 by June Callan. When George and Julie Rhodes purchased it in 1972, it was in a bad state of repair. The grounds were heavily overgrown, old fruit trees were growing into the building; white ants had destroyed internal walls and some flooring and it was infested with rats. The house had been divided into separate living areas and let to local bank staff.
Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes spent six years repairing and refurbishing the house and in 1985 they sold it to John and Kathy Colless who did further renovations.
The gardens of Tahmoor House were featured on the television
show 'Burke's Backyard' back in the early 1990's after the Colless
family had spent much time landscaping and planting.
The property was auctioned off in 2002 and the new owners subdivided the property into residential blocks.
The house now occupies just over an acre of land with a further 500sq. Metres on the creek together with an access way. In August 2009 the house was purchased by Terry and Sheila Ings who are now working on restoring the original fabric of the house.
The first OPEN DAY was held for the public on the 5th April 2010 and the response was overwhelming.
Hamilton Hume and William Hovell, explorers and overnight guests at Tahmoor House in 1824.
George and Mary Bradbury and Family at Myrtle Creek