In November 1903 George Ford, a Taree butcher, paid £50 for land in Macquarie Street, being Lot 17 in Section 15.1 He then had George Lewis2 build a timber house for himself, his wife Rachel and their two daughters, May and Beatrice. By 1907, when few other buildings existed in Macquarie Street, the family had moved from their rented home in Wynter Street3 and taken up residence in the house they named “Merton”.
Another daughter, Marion, was born in 1914 and she, like her siblings, remained unmarried. She was a teacher of singing, the piano and violin, holding classes at the family home.4 Her mother Rachel was a keen gardener and in April 1951 entered a Garden Picture Contest in the Australian Women’s Weekly.5 The magazine article gives a good idea of just how lush and attractive the garden was at this time before the resumption by the Education Department of the rear part of the lot.6
The three sisters shared an interest in local history and were happy to recount their memories of earlier times, some of which were published in local newspapers.
Passed through the family, “Merton” remained in Marion’s ownership until her death in 20057 and is a rare survivor of early housing stock in Taree’s CBD.
Author: Penny Teerman
1 Certificate of Title Vol: 1501 Fol: 230 and Transfer 374124
2 Manning River Times Wednesday 13 October 1976
3 Taree Municipal Council Rate Books: Assess No. 142 of 1906 and Assess No. 287 of 1907
4 Manning River Times Saturday 4 February 1950 Pg 3
5 Australian Women’s Weekly Saturday 28 April 1951 Pg 61
6 Certificate of Title: Vol: 1501 Fol: 230
7 Ryerson Index – Manning Great Lakes Extra 13 October 2005