William ‘George’ Sawyer was the second child of 10 children of John William Sawyer and Martha Gore of Tinonee.1 When he married Eliza Agnes Stevens in 19132 at Nabiac he managed his mother-in-law’s farm at Cocumbark until she died and then bought the farm at Taree Estate.3
Their home was flooded in 1929 and again in 1930. The 1929 flood was higher than the guttering on the homestead and was a huge setback for George as they had no warning and lost everything. They ran for their lives to higher ground above the Fig Tree Bridge.
George and Eliza had two children Constance (Connie) and Jack. When Eliza died 17 June 1960,4 George moved into Taree to live with Connie in Macquarie Street from which he toured around in his Dodge Tourer.
This car had a large silver knob on the dash which when fully extended engaged the gears and when retracted freed the gears so that one could change gear without using the clutch. In other words the car would coast along and not slow down when the accelerator was lifted because the gears would no longer slow the car. This did not worry George and he had a few close calls!
George continued to drive around until his death at age 87.5 His grandson George made use of the car until he was able to purchase his own.
After the Dodge was sold a letter arrived at Connie’s home together with a photograph of the restored vehicle and the story of how the car’s ownership was traced. In the side driver’s door storage compartment, the new owner found a wedding invitation to George inviting him to granddaughter Ruth’s wedding. The car was now owned by a Dodge enthusiast from Florida, U.S.A.
Author: George Sawyer, grandson
1 NSW BDM, Birth Index for William G Sawyer No. 21609/1884, (9 May 1884).
2 NSW BDM, Marriage Index for William G Sawyer and Eliza A Stevens No. 15868/1913.
3 NSW Land Registry Services Vol-Fol: 3423-183, 242 Edinburgh Drive, Taree Estate.
4 NSW BDM, Death Index for Eliza Agnes Sawyer No. 13311/1960.
5 NSW BDM, Death Index for William George Sawyer No. 54213/1971 (28 March 1971).