In the mid 1960s whilst undertaking work on the Chapman Place parking area, traces of brickwork were uncovered which were believed to be part of an underground well used by the Manning Steam Laundry.1
Henry W Alcorn was a local builder who, in 1915, saw the potential in developing a commercial laundry to service Taree and the surrounding area.
He selected a site in Albert Lane which backed onto the two arms of Mill Creek, thus affording a plentiful supply of water.2 Work started on the underground tank in December 1915 and, by May 1916, specialists from Sydney were in Taree to install the laundry equipment. An official opening took place on 14 August 1916.3
Alcorn advertised widely throughout the Taree/Wingham area and even as far afield as Kempsey.
This led to a war of words with Mrs Johnson, proprietor of the Kempsey Laundry, who, in 1918, issued a challenge to the Manning Steam Laundry to decide whose work was the superior! 4
Sadly, the Manning Steam Laundry was a short lived venture. By 1923 it had been forced out of business by stronger competitors 5 and Mr Alcorn and his wife left Taree to live in Sydney. 6
Author: Penny Teerman
1 Flashback: 50 Years Ago, Manning River Times, Wednesday 21 September 2016
2 Taree Municipal Rates and Valuation Books.
3 Northern Champion, Wednesday 16 August 1916, Page 2
4 Macleay Chronicle, Wednesday 20 February 1918, Page 5
5 Wingham Chronicle, Friday 3 October 1924, Page 1
6 Dungog Chronicle, Saturday 7 April 1923, Page 2