One of the earliest buildings in Old Bar, apart from the Pavilion, was John Sauzier’s “Sanitarium House”. It was a wooden guesthouse that catered for visitors particularly during the summer months. The house was situated on land adjoining the Pavilion and building began in 1906.2 By 1913 the guesthouse was gaining a reputation as a great holiday retreat for residents of Taree.3
John Sauzier was a colourful character and during his time at Old Bar had several quarrels with fellow residents, including Mrs Mary Lucy Badger who he took to court over an access dispute. Their relationship deteriorated sharply with the outbreak of WW1, Badger being of German background and Sauzier of French descent. This little known southern front of the Great War culminated with the explosive accusations by Sauzier of Badger being a “low German”, which resulted in the incisive counter attack by Badger of Sauzier being a “dirty froggy”.4 Another resident, John Wilkes, was accused of maliciously wounding Sauzier’s goat. In Wilkes’ case he was acquitted of any wrong-doing.5 The case against Badger was complicated when she counter-sued but both cases were dropped when neither party appeared at court.6
Sauzier had strong opinions about his rights and how the area should progress. He was not afraid to voice his concerns in strongly worded letters to Council, the Old Bar Trustees or the local newspapers.7 Indeed in 1923, just after Sauzier had left Old Bar and was living in Wauchope, he dispensed with words and instead drew a lurid and graphic pen picture to the Acting NSW Premier complaining about his lot. The Acting Premier passed it to Council and after they recovered from the shock of the image decided to merely mark the letter as ‘received’!8
Sanitarium House was ironically bought by the Badgers around 19229 and sold to Louis Waterman in 1925 who transformed the house into “Farleigh”.10 The house still exists in 2021 at 33 Old Bar Road, making it the oldest surviving building in Old Bar.
Author: Janine Roberts
Sponsored by the Old Bar Manning Point Business & Community Association and supported by Create NSW’s Cultural Grant Program, a devolved funding program administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society on behalf of the NSW Government.
1 Aileen M Butt, Golden Sands and Green Grass of Old Bar, 1988, p. 52-53.
2 Manning River Times and Advocate of the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 18 August 1906, 6; Manning Shire Council rate books (1910-1913). NSW Land Registry Services, Historic maps of Parish of Bohnock, Lot 93.
3 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 28 January 1914, 2.
4 MRT, 13 April 1921, 2.
5 Ancestry.com.au. NSW Police Gazettes, 4 March 1914.
6 MRT, 23 July 1921, 6.
7 Various newspaper articles including MRT, 27 October 1906, 4.
8 Northern Champion, 27 June 1923, 3.
9 Northern Champion, 18 November 1922, 6; WC and MRO, 5 December 1922, 3.
10 MRT, 28 November 1925, 8.