Baheeg ‘Bill’ Saad was born in Douma, Lebanon in 1907.2 He was a well-known business man in the Manning Valley region of NSW. He established shoe shops in Taree, Forster and Port Macquarie, as well as a wholesale fruit and vegetable shop, and a milk bar and café in Taree.
Bill Saad married Mary Solomon in 1937 and in 1938, they opened the ‘Manning Café’ in Manning Street, Taree.3 (It was also called ‘Doumany’s Café’ after Baheeg’s hometown). It was located where Dans Ladies Wear currently is and the now closed Angus & Robertson book store. Because the business had two shop fronts they displayed fruit and vegetables on the left with tables and chairs behind that. On the right was a refrigerated counter which ran the length of the shop with a lolly bar at the front. They had scales out the front so people could weigh themselves. Mary and Bill lived in a residence at the back of the shop.4
Bill and Mary ran the business with an aunt and uncle. Later their children and nephews worked in the shop after school so Mary could prepare the family’s dinner. They worked very hard, 16 hours a day, starting at 5 am to fuel the stove so they could cook breakfast for their customers. The café also served 3 course meals for lunch and dinner.5
The business was sold to the Nugans in 1970 and continued until about 1973.6 Mary passed away in 1996 and Bill died in 2003 aged 96.7 The Saads have left a lasting mark on Taree.
Authors: Mia Denning Year 5, Huntah Lang-Callow Year 6, Taree West Public School.
1 Australian Lebanese Historical Society Inc, http://alhs.org.au/?p=244.
2 Manning River Times, 9 September 2003.
3 NSW BDM, Marriage Index, Baheej George Sadd (Saad) and Mary Jacob Solomon, 1937, No. 6474.
4 Interview notes with Michele Saad, 29 June 2018.
7 Manning River Times, 9 September 2003.