Samuel Spence was born in Bradford, England in 1857.1 He joined the army as a young man but became interested in travel so joined the sea service where he gained navigational and marine engineer qualifications. When he arrived in Australia he initially settled in Grafton and married Kate Lyons.2 Together they would have eight children.3 In 1882 they moved to Taree where Spence was employed by the John See Company (later the North Coast Steam Navigation Company) as the captain of the drogher ‘Manning’ for four years.4
Spence was a practical man and started businesses as the community needed them. In 1886, he established a general carrier business which moved furniture and goods by steamer initially and then later by lorry.5 He was also one of the first people to open a sawmill in Taree. Both businesses operated out of his address in Albert Lane.6 Spence also served two terms as an alderman for the Taree Municipal Council from 1900 to 1906.7
In 1913 with W H Muldoon, Spence bought a large section of land in Taree West which was known as ‘Spence’s Subdivision’.8 Spence Street runs through the subdivision and was completed in 1915.9
In 1921 Spence and his wife sold up all of their property interests in Taree to move to Sydney where Kate died just a year later.10 Spence returned to England to live for 10 years before coming back to Sydney in 1935.11 He died 24 March 1942 aged 85 years.12
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Ancestry.com. West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910.
2 NSW BDM, marriage index for Samuel Spence and Kate Lyons, No. 3291/1879.
3 NSW BDM various birth index entries; Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 10 April 1942, 4.
4 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 10 April 1942, 4.
5 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 12 July 1913, 6.
6 Taree rate and valuation books, 1905-1925, https://midcoaststories.com/taree-rates-books-3/
7 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 14 February 1900, 2; 4 February 1903, 3; Wingham Chronicle, 24 January 1906, 2.
8 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 26 April 1913, 8.
9 Wingham Chronicle, 21 January 1914, 2.
10 Northern Champion, 19 October 1921, 2; NSW BDM, death index for Catherine T Spence, No. 15314/1922.
11 Manning River Times. 23 March 1935, 8.
12 NSW BDM, death index for Sam Spence, No. 6250/1942.