“Mimosa” is a beautiful brick home at 25 Edinburgh Drive, Taree. It was built in 1920 and brings together two of Taree’s most industrious people from the turn of the 20th century: farmer Richard ‘Dick’ Richardson and builder James ‘Jack’ Stewart.
Richard and Elizabeth Richardson lived on a farm at Mondrook called ‘Bellevue’ in a cottage built from bricks made on the property.1 Richardson was an exceptional farmer specialising in maize and millet which was world renowned having been awarded prizes at the London and Canadian World Fairs. He was the first person to establish an experimental farm on the Manning River which experts regularly visited. Richardson was involved in many organisations including the MRD Hospital Board, Central Coast Cooperative Society, founding member of the NSW Agricultural Bureau, District Master of the GUOOF and a dedicated Methodist church member.2 His passion though was the Central Coast District’s exhibition for the Sydney Royal Easter Show which he created for 36 years.3
In 1919 Richardson commissioned Jack Stewart to build a brick home in Taree.4 Stewart’s obituary described him as a builder which seems an injustice considering the calibre of his work. Stewart built many of Taree’s iconic buildings including the current Royal Hotel, Beehive Store, Connells (Spotlight in 2020) and countless Taree houses.5 Stewart was also Mayor and served on the boards of many organisations.6
The Richardsons would row a small boat across the river to access the ‘town house’, which they eventually retired to. The home contained rosewood with mahogany floors, stained glass windows and high ceilings with pressed metal panels. The garden of course was beautiful and visitors walked through an arbour dripping with wisteria.7
In 2020 aged 100 years this house is still a grand old lady of Taree.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Farmer and Settler, 17 November 1932, 5.
2 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 11 September 1953, 3.
3 Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 1950, 9.
4 Northern Champion, 12 November 1919, 2.
5 Wingham Chronicle, 31 January 1906, 2; WC 28 March 1906, 3; WC, 26 August 1911, 6; various newspaper articles from 1898 – 1921.
6 Wingham Chronicle, 18 September 1928, 2.
7 Oral histories from Richardson’s family including great granddaughter Di Smith.