On Friday 25 May 2018, as excavators were constructing a carpark for the Manning Regional Art Gallery in Macquarie Street, Taree, an old brick well was uncovered. Seeing the handmade bricks made me wonder about the history of 10 Macquarie Street.
Using Taree’s historic rates books I identified the property as Section 6 Lot 13. From 1885, when rates were first charged, a house already existed on the property. It belonged to William Gill, a farmer from Jones Island. It appears that the Gill family owned the property for the best part of a century with it passing through the female descendants including Lily Rose Latham and Norma June Haydon.1
In 1926, William and Lily Latham and their five children moved into 10 Macquarie Street. They ran a fruit shop in Taree and William also owned a taxi business.2 They were paying off several properties including what would become ‘Latham’s Subdivision, Chatham’.3 In 1930, William had been a witness in a tragic murder case and in 1935 the effects of the Great Depression were impacting the Lathams’ lives.4 This is a tragic story so beware. In 1936 William Latham arrived home unexpectedly early from Sydney where he had been conducting business. He convinced his wife to take the children to Old Bar beach that day so he could rest. When the family arrived home later that day William was dead.5
The house was demolished around 2005.6
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Taree Municipal Council Historic Rates Books 1885-1950, Section 6, Lot 13.
2 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 17 Aug 1943.
3 Northern Champion, 12 Nov 1949.
4 Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Sep 1930; Wingham Chronicle, 5 Jul 1935.
5 Northern Champion, 18 Jan 1936.
6 Information from Andrew Cruickshank September 2018, employed in the house demolition.