On 29 July 1949, 4 year old Dorothy Hayter was playing in Railway Parade, Chatham just near the Peters Creameries Factory with her sisters and other children from the street. Her father Albert Joseph Hayter had built part of the factory and 8 of the houses in the parade to accommodate the workers. Her father now had the contract to build the new Manning River District Hospital.1 On the morning in question, Oliver Emerton was reversing his lorry out of the factory yard. Conscious of the children playing near the gate Oliver did everything possible to ensure he did not injure the children as he reversed. Unfortunately Dorothy wandered into the path of the reversing truck and was run over dying soon afterwards. The coroner concluded it was a tragic accident.2
Dorothy’s distraught parents decided to establish the Taree and District Day Nursery in memory of their daughter. Albert removed the building that was the original ward for Aboriginal people from the hospital grounds and re-erected it as the Day Nursery in Taree Park.3 It was officially opened 25 Nov 1950 with a tablet reading ‘This building was erected by Mr and Mrs A J Hayter for the care and guidance of little children in memory of their daughter Dorothy’.4
In 1985, the community radio station 2BOB purchased the building for $2000 and rented the site for $50 per annum. After the 5 year lease ended the station was to remove the building and restore the site. The station renegotiated the lease and is still situated in Taree Park today.5
The tablet was removed from the radio station and is now mounted on the wall outside the Taree & District Preschool in Barton Street.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Northern Champion, Hospital Supplement, 13 September 1957.
2 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 23 August 1949.
3 Northern Champion, 29 November 1950.
4 Northern Champion, Hospital Supplement, 13 September 1957.