William Archibald Ambrose Bryan known as “Ambrose” was born in Taree in 1890.1 Ambrose worked as a motor driver in his younger years before enlisting with the AIF in WWI. From 1915 to 1918 he served in France mostly driving trucks and ambulances.2 Coincidentally his 56 year old father, who also signed up, spent a large amount of his active service on the same truck Ambrose was driving.3
Ambrose owned a sawmill in Koppin Yarratt Road before moving to Lansdowne in 1939. He constructed his new sawmill on P G Warren’s property in Warren’s Lane, Lansdowne and it was called “W A A Bryan and Sons”. His sons Barry, Ross, Ainsley and Vern all worked in the mill. The mill sent dressed timber to Sydney and Orange and much of their timber was used for house frames and mines at Broken Hill.4
In October 1951 the mill burned to the ground following a fire which started in the middle of the night. Workmen, neighbours and forestry came to fight the fire but were too late, all that was saved were sawn timber and logs.5 Less than a year later the Bryans rebuilt the sawmill and opened on 15 May 1952. It was the first mill in the area to have electricity. The mill continued until 1958 when it finally closed.6
Ambrose was heavily involved in the Returned Servicemen’s League and was instrumental in fundraising for the RSL building that was erected in Pulteney Street, Taree.7 He served in many roles including President and Secretary and in 1947 was honoured for his service by having a street named after him in Old Bar “Bryan Street”.8 Ambrose passed away in his Albert Lane home in Taree in 1953 aged 63.9
Author: Janine Roberts
1 NSW BDM, birth index #33655/1890.
2 NAA: B2455, BRYAN W A A.
3 Manning River Times, 21 Apr 1943, 2.
4 Back to Lansdowne 1985, p. 26; Oral history from Bryan family, 2021.
5 Northern Champion, 19 October 1951, 1.
6 Back to Lansdowne 1985, p. 26
7 Manning River Times, 1 Apr 1944, 2.
8 Manning River Times, 26 Feb 1947, 4.
9 Northern Champion, 1 May 1953, 4.