For nearly a century this beautiful timber house at 19 River Street, Taree has overlooked the Manning River. Florence Emma Billingham (nee Carle) bought the land in 1909.1 She was married to Sylvanus Billingham, a butcher and later a milk vendor in Taree.2 Florence built two houses on the land, one in 1919 facing Victoria Street and this residence in 1923. In 1924 she subdivided and sold both houses, the one in Victoria Street to William Bright a printer, and this house to Mr G A Ruprecht.3
George Alfred Ruprecht was a dentist who established his dental practice in Manning Street, Taree in January 1921. He worked six days a week as well as on call for the Manning River District Hospital.4 The Ruprechts lived in the house until 1949 when they sold to Gertrude Jones. When Jones died and the house was offered for sale in 1960, a young married couple called Jacqueline and Robert Wallace wanted to buy the house but they were unable to secure a bank loan.5 The property subsequently passed through several hands including Lattimore and Armstrong before it was bought and restored in the early 21st century with original features including stained glass windows and ornate plaster ceilings.6
In 2020, Brian Wallace Director of the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing,7 bought the house – the same house his parents wanted to buy 60 years earlier.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 NSW Land Registry Services, Vol-Fol: 1984-148.
2 NSW BDM, Marriage Index No. 6915/1893; Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 12 October 1938, 2.
3 Northern Champion, 8 November 1924, 3.
4 Northern Champion, 15 January 1921, 4.
5 NSW BDM, marriage index for Robert Ramon Wallace and Jacqueline Margaret Schmitzer, No. 12283/1956; interview with Jacqueline Wallace, 2020.
6 NSW Land Registry Services, Vol-Fol: 3793-72; interview with Brian Wallace, 2020.