In 1825 James Tobias (Toby) Ryan a local from Penrith, built a home for his family, now known as the historic Emu Hall.

Ryan was married and had seven children. He was a self-made man and tried his hand at a variety of different occupations. His role as a prominent resident was instrumental in the development of Penrith and Emu Plains. He was a well-known sports enthusiast (particularly in Boxing and Pigeon shooting), an auctioneer, ploughman, butcher, and was elected to the State Legislative Assembly just to name a few. Ryan, was also known to have purchased land near the Macquarie and Castlereagh Rivers.

His house, Emu Hall, still stands at the base of the Blue Mountains in Emu Plains and sits on the west of the Nepean River.

During the mid-nineteenth century property that was developed on the grounds of a riverside, indicated new wealth in the area. The House was originally built with a corrugated steel roof, cast iron columns, embellished laced balustrading with a verandah wrapping around the southern and eastern sides. The dwelling also originally had large windows and French doors surrounded by 1.04ha of estate with freestanding servant quarters, brick stables, a workshop, formal gardens and a wine cellar.