Alfred Baker was born at Pelican Bay in 1861.1 Pelican Bay was once famous for early ship building on the Manning and Alfred’s father Henry worked at Newton’s shipyard.2 While Alfred enjoyed sailing throughout his life he did not follow in his father’s footsteps, instead he was apprenticed to John Witchard as a baker, and later worked for baker David Jones at Croki.
After marrying Charlotte Bulley in 18843 they returned to Taree and Alfred set up his own bakery business in Victoria Street. He was a master in his field and regularly judged in the baking section at shows from Gloucester to Kempsey where winners were delighted that their work had been judged by “Mr Baker”.
Alfred dispensed with his bakery and the couple took over a boarding house in Victoria Street in 1899.4 The establishment was simply known as Mrs Baker’s Boarding House but later would be called the Central Palace Boarding House run by Mrs Sharkie.5 The house was initially single storey but Alfred found there was not enough accommodation so built a second storey. In 1905 when the great fire of Taree hit, the boarding house was spared widespread damage partly due to Mrs Baker draping wet blankets over the verandahs and balconies.6
Alfred was one of the original firefighters in Taree being captain for over 20 years. He also took on other civic roles including caretaker of the Belmore Hall and Masonic Hall, Alderman of Taree Municipal Council and warden at St John’s Church of England.7
Charlotte died in 1908 and Alfred died at his daughter’s house, Annie and Jim Levick, on Dumaresque Island in 1934.8
Author: Janine Roberts based on the obituary of Alfred Baker sent in by great grandson Barry Levick.
1 NSW BDM, birth index No. 8577/1861.
2 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 10 December 1918, 2.
3 NSW BDM, marriage index No. 5200/1884.
4 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 26 July 1899, 4; Taree historic rate books 1899-1900, https://midcoaststories.com/taree-rates-books-3/#1534384317267-0527b58f-1bf3
5 Taree historic rate books https://midcoaststories.com/rates-books/
6 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 2 December 1905, 5.
7 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 10 April 1934, 4.
8 NSW BDM, death indexes Charlotte No. 15595/1908 and Alfred No. 10420/1934.