The very first entry in the 1885 Taree Municipal Council Rate Book (the year of incorporation) shows a Mr Avery as the owner of a mill and dwelling with an assessed annual value of £52. This was Thomas Avery, who, in 1858 purchased land and built a flour mill at the mouth of a creek between Commerce and Pulteney Streets – thus the name, Mill Creek – which provided the water to power the steam driven mill.1
Henry Alcorn found the creek to be similarly useful in 1916 as a reliable source of water for his steam laundry venture in the vicinity of Albert Lane.2
Mill Creek remained a feature of the landscape until Fotheringham Park was created circa 1949.3 The formation works included the enclosing and piping of the watercourse. Although hidden from view, Mill Creek still exists, and discharges into the Manning River, as it ever did, opposite Fotheringham Park. Exploring the substantial outlet pipe has proved an irresistible adventure for inquisitive children over the years.
Nature can never be completely tamed and Mill Creek still asserts itself in periods of heavy rainfall, being a major contributor to the flooding of the Chapman Place Car Park and other low lying areas in the vicinity of Victoria and Pulteney Streets.
Author: Penny Teerman
1 Manning Valley Historical Society Journal No. 57 (The Urbanisation of the Manning Valley Part 1 Taree 1854-1891 by Katherine M Bell) and The Struggle Against Isolation by John Ramsland 1987.
2 Northern Champion Wednesday 16 August 1916 Pg 2
3 Manning River Times Wednesday 22 February 1950 Pg 4