History of the Arms of Australia Inn Museum
The Arms of Australia Inn was one of 23 road side inns in the Nepean District and the last stop before starting up the mountain road and the trail west.
It is believed that the building was built in two sections, the first around 1826 and was purchased on 1st May 1833 by Joseph Barrow Montefiore. He later split the land in two in 1840 and sold half to John Mortimer, who commenced trading as an inn on the main road to Bathurst, Orange and the gold diggings.
The coaches that plied the road day and night also used to stop at the inn as did many bullock team drivers taking stock and provisions over the mountains. As the inn only had two main rooms, most overnight travellers had to sleep in the barn, on the veranda or under their wagons.
A year later the laws were changed and Inns had to have separate rooms for ‘Ladies and Children’. Mortimer added four additional rooms for bedrooms.
As bushrangers were a great problem in the area, the Arms and a second inn at the top of the hill had a system to warn travellers if bushrangers were about. This was accomplished by the inn at the top of the hill hanging a lantern on their building which was visible to the Arms. If the lantern was burning, the road was clear, but if it was not, the stagecoach drivers and other travellers would spend the night at the Arms and continue on in daylight.
The Inn continued to prosper till the 1860s, when the rail line came through. People began to use the train instead of going by road and trade died off.
The inn was sold in 1865 and became a private house for the next hundred years, when it was sold to Lucas & Tait for subdivision.
In 1972, rather than have the building demolished the Nepean District Historical Society asked the Penrith City Council to purchase the site, which they did.
The society took control of the building and began the slow work of restoration until it was officially opened on 27th March 1976 as a museum of local history for the Nepean district.