Our History

Sydney Property developer Bruce Lyon first visited Boydtown and the Seahorse Inn in 1974 and in his own words became “fascinated by its past, the beach front site, the inn itself and by everything we subsequently read in the Mitchell Library in Sydney”. Bruce from this point was determined to purchase the Boydtown property and was resolved to rebuild the area, including the restoration of the Inn into “something that would give pride to the local people”.

The Inn was first built by Benjamin Boyd in the 1840s when Scottish-born Boyd - a banker, stockbroker and shipping investor - convinced himself there was a fortune to be made in the new and faraway Australia. Boyd wanted part of it so in 1842, aged 41, he sailed to Australia in his 25-metre schooner Wanderer. Boyd saw Boydtown as the base of his pastoral and whaling empire and the Inn was to be the centre piece of the local trading area. The Inn was first opened for business in 1843 but as Boyd's empire failed. the Inn quickly fell into disrepair.

For almost a century, the Inn progressively fell apart due to thieves and vandals until 1936 when Richard Whiter a Victorian camping-park proprietor, planned an expansive holiday site and restoration of the Inn. By 1957 the Inn had been partly restored but further plans were thwarted by World War II and changing family circumstances.

Decades later, Bruce brought back the Inn to eternal life, completing the restoration of the Inn in 2006, after several years' work costing many millions under the guidance of leading architect Brian Dowling from Canberra and enhanced by fascinating photographs of the past loaned by the Whiter family.

The Inn now stands as a wide-ranging tourist destination. The Inn caters for visitors attracted by its scenic nature plus its local and maritime background. The Inn is testimony to the hard work and foresight that was Bruce Lyon.

Bruce's background was as a Sydney real estate agent who at the age of 23, established his first real estate office in Epping in Sydney's Northwest in 1955. He was among the first Sydney real estate agents to open his doors on a Sunday and that fighting business spirit saw him through many successful decades. Bruce became a property industry stalwart for more than 62 years and was a driving force in the vibrant development of the Sydney northwest where he helped pioneer land subdivisions and development.

Bruce passed in July 2019 but his much be-loved company “Lyon Group Australia” continues on as a innovative, dynamic property and investment Group.

Lyon Group Australia is dedicated to the vision that Bruce held for Boydtown and in particular the continued success of the Seahorse Inn. The Group completed a major refurbishment of all rooms in 2021, opened the “Captain's Cottage” in 2022 and have major re-development plans for a new Brasserie in 2024.