Between 1903 and 1906, William Wrigley bought 5 lots of land on the corner of River and Commerce Streets, Taree.1 William was a builder and carpenter and after completing his apprenticeship in Sydney he went to South Africa where the building trade was flourishing. He returned to Australia in 1898 and spent the next 44 years living and working in Taree. He became a master builder and erected over 100 cottages and other buildings in Taree, making a point to ‘provide his customers with the best possible value’. 2
William, was an Alderman for over 30 years and twice served as the Mayor of Taree. He subdivided his land and built similar-looking cottages at 2, 4 and 6 Commerce Street. In 1935, William transferred these properties to his two sons Harold and William Ernest, both motor mechanics in Taree. Harold received 2 Commerce Street.
2 Commerce Street appears to have been an investment property rather than the family home. The land was bought in 1906 and by 1907 a cottage was erected. The cottage was first leased to George De Saxe, a prominent Taree dentist, and then to Stephen Whitbread, a long-serving Town Clerk of Taree.3 After Harold took ownership he leased it to Mrs Fielder who ran it as the ‘Riverside’ Guest House until 1941.4 It continued as a boarding house over the years until Raymond Mitchell, a retired railway employee, and his wife Florence bought it in 1971. 5 In recent years it has operated as a vintage-wares shop and café.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 NSW Land Registry Services Vol-Fol: 1478-201, 1478-202, 1693-55. (Now known as 75 and 76 River Street, and 2, 4, 6 and 8 Commerce Street).
2 Northern Champion, 27 May 1942.
3 Taree Municipal Council Historic Rates: 1906-1922.
4 Northern Champion, 5 Feb 1941.
5 NSW Land Registry Services Vol-Fol: 4621-145.
6 Photo, Janine Roberts, December 2017.
5 Baiba Berzins, North Coast Women: A History to 1939, Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney, 1996, p117.
6 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 10 January 1934.
7 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 4 March 1952.
8 Malcolm Brown and Harriet Veitch, Obituaries Australia, Nancy-Bird Walton (1915-2009).
9 National Library of Australia. Nancy-Bird Walton http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-136210338/view.