The land on which the heritage-listed brick house at 9 Smith Street is situated, was part of the Taree West End Estate granted to William Wynter in June 1839.1 The area was first spelt ‘Tarree’ which may explain the front house plaque.2 William Richard Clarke bought the land in 1923 and erected the house around 1928.3 Clarke worked as a mechanic for the Manning Motor Co before being appointed as the region’s agent for Chrysler and Morris. Some of his customers included L. O. Martin, NSW Minister of Justice and local practitioner Dr Stokes, whose new cars caused much public interest and inspection.4
Clarke was married to Florence Anne Hinten.5 Florence’s father, James Hinten, a well-known dairy farmer and storekeeper, built the house next door at 7 Smith Street6 while Florence’s two brothers lived at 8 and 14 Smith Street.7 An adjoining street is called Hinten Crescent for this reason. The Clarkes subdivided their land in 1941 and sold Lot 89 to V Sleeman then moved to Sydney to be near their daughters.8 They leased out 9 Smith Street until 1945 when, following a fire in the garage by a tenant, they decided to sell.9
The new owner was the proprietor of the Highway Garage Taree, Leslie Hopetoun Osmond-Dreyer.10 Dreyer owned a number of properties in Taree at the time so it is unlikely he lived in this house.11 He also became a well-known car agent for the region.12 In 1950 railway fireman David John Wynter bought the property. Wynter initially rented it out but when a housing shortage hit Taree during the 1950s he tried to evict the occupant. When courts denied this action Wynter offered to split the house into two flats to accommodate both his family and renters but the occupants declined the offer.13 Wynter eventually was able to move into his home and was living there until at least 1980 with his wife.14
Author: Janine Roberts
1 NSW Land Registry Services, Vol-Fol: 2304-143, 3264-84, 5262-190; Greater Taree Local Environmental Plan 2010, Item I181.
2 There was a ‘Tarree House’ but it was in a different location and has long since been demolished.
3 Taree Municipal Council historic rate and valuation books 1926-28, https://midcoaststories.com/taree-rates-books-4-2/
4 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 6 August 1932, 6; 12 August 1933, 8; 30 August 1933, 2; 30 May 1934, 2.
5 NSW BDM, Marriage Index No. 8792/1917.
6 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 5 April 1935, 6.
7 Taree Municipal Council historic rate and valuation books 1926-28, https://midcoaststories.com/taree-rates-books-4-2/;Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 30 March 1935, 8.
8 NSW Land Registry Services, Vol-Fol: 3264-84.
9 Manning River Times, 13 January 1945, 3.
10 The Highway Garage was on the corner of Commerce and High Streets, Taree which was once the highway that went to the Tinonee punt. Later the Pacific Highway went along Victoria Street and now bypasses Taree. Dreyer later became the regional agent for Ford car sales. Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 7 Sep 1953, 2.
11 Taree Municipal Council historic rate and valuation books 1948-1950, https://midcoaststories.com/taree-rates-books-4-2-2-2-2/
12 Manning River Times, 7 September 1953, 2.
13 Manning River Times, 10 June 1953, 1.
14 Ancestry.com.au, electoral roll 1980, Taree Lyne, NSW.