Home' Hunter Its People : June 2010 Contents 36 THE HERALD Thursday, June 24, 2010
MAITLAND High Street, 4933 8044
EAST MAITLAND George St, 4934 5100
RAYMOND TERRACE William St, 4987 6199
RUTHERFORD Rutherford Marketplace, 4932 1000
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Since our inception we have weathered storms, floods, depression and
wars. Throughout all of this The Mutual has maintained its overiding
aim of serving the people of Maitland and its surrounds through
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for 122 years
CAPTAIN William Reid, the European discoverer of
Lake Macquarie, is believed to have been born in
Ayr, Scotland, about 1765 or '66, and probably went
He arrived in Australia in 1788 in the First Fleet aboard
the Sirius, where he signed on at 21 as an able seaman
and finished as a quartermaster. Following the wreck of
the Sirius at Norfolk Island in 1790, Reid settled in Sydney
and became skipper of the Francis and then the Martha.
In 1800 he made his now-famous mistake, bringing Lake
Macquarie to the notice of the NSW authorities.
Since 1797 Sydney had been sending ships to Coal
River (Newcastle) to pick up coal and cedar. In 1800 the
Martha was sent but Reid mistook Green Island (now
Moon Island) for Nobbys, and crossed the bar into the
lake. He picked up enough loose coal to make a cargo
and presumably described his adventure to friends when
he got home. They realised he'd gone to the wrong place,
and the lake was thereafter known as Reid's Mistake.
Reid is thought to have later become part owner and
commander of the El Plumier, a Spanish ship taken as
spoils of war off the South American coast and
on it he was off to New Zealand, Tonga
Fiji to load sandalwood, but his crew is
suspected of mutiny and he was taken to
Reid is believed to have returned to
Sydney, but little is known of him after
LANCELOT THRELKELD >>
The written records of Rev Lancelot
Threlkeld, who ran a mission to
Aborigines in Lake Macquarie in
the 1820s and 1830s, are among
the most important documents
describing this crucial period
of cultural collision that exist in
His descriptions of the Aboriginal
way of life and dealings between the
two races are a historical treasure and h
documentation of the Awabakal langua
has been acclaimed by linguists.
Threlkeld was born in London in 1788, ordained
by the London Missionary Society in 1815, and after
a long, difficult journey where both his wife and child
died, arrived in NSW in 1824. The missionary society
organized a 4050-hectare grant on the eastern side of
Lake Macquarie and Threlkeld, his second wife and family
arrived at Newcastle in May, 1825. A house they built at
present-day Belmont cost a fortune and from then on
Threlkeld was in dispute with the society until they sacked
him in 1828, by which time he was planning his own
Governor Darling granted him 150 pounds a year for
five years towards the project and Threlkeld applied for
a grant of 518 hectares on the western side of the lake
-- present day Toronto, Carey Bay, Coal Point and Kilaben
Bay -- and named it Ebenezer. He and his family moved
there in December, 1831.
Threlkeld was contracted to produce a written version
of the Awabakal language and an Awabakal translation
of the gospel and he worked hard at this project, also
often advocating for Aboriginal people, but gradually the
Aboriginals abandoned the mission and in 1841 Governor
Gipps discontinued its funding.
In 1839 Threlkeld turned to coal mining at Ebenezer,
but the 1840s brought recession and Threlkeld became
insolvent. In 1844 the Ebenezer Coal Works and property
were auctioned and Threlkeld moved to Sydney were he
died on October 9, 1859, aged 71.
Warners Bay owes its name to one of its first settlers, Jonathan
Warner, a retired army officer who was given a grant of 518
hectares. Warner was an assistant suveyor who was sent to find
a road from the Hawkesbury to Maitland via Lake Macquarie
and must have liked what he saw of the lake.
Warner selected his land in 1829 and took possession
in 1831, building a house on a hill and calling it Biddaba,
which was the birthplace of Warners Bay. He
d an orange orchard and farm and
he was appointed magistrate for
1840 he sub-divided part of his land
t it failed to sell. It was to be another
5 years before some of it was sold
nd by that time Jonathan Warner
had been dead for 43 years.
The Seventh-Day Adventist
Church properties in Cooranbong
owe their existence to one of the
church founders, Ellen White,
who said God directed her there in
a dream. Her dream was in 1894,
nd a year later the 67-year-old
idow from Maine pitched a tent at
oranbong and built a home called
nyside, which still stands.
te travelled to Australia in 1891 to
a training school for missionaries,
a committee including White
found 600 hectares of land at Cooranbong for just
12 cents a hectare. White recalled her dream and the land
A year later Adventist settlers were arriving and by 1897
Avondale College had opened. By 1899 the Sanitarium
factory was built and a hospital and health retreat
completed. The Sanitarium company now has an annual
turnover of around $320 million in Australia and its
Cooranbong site employs about 150 people and turns out
three million cases of product a year, including its famous
In 1900 White returned to the US where she died in
Known as ''Mr Charlestown'', Alf Pickering's family were
pioneers in the area as his grandfather, Edward, settled
there in the 1870s.
Born in Charlestown in 1913, Pickering started in
business in 1933 with a bicycle and radio shop, progressing
to a department store and later developing properties
including Pickering Arcade, before his retirement in 1957.
A Rotarian and president of the Charlestown Chamber
of Commerce, in 1965 he was elected to Lake Macquarie
Council, remaining there until his death in 1981. He
served with the Charlestown Urban Committee, was the
council representative to Shortland County Council and
Hunter Valley Tourist Association and a local government
representative on the Hunter District Water Board. He
was co-founder of the Newcastle branch of the Royal Blind
Society (his father was blind) and its treasurer and was
involved with the Adult Deaf and Dumb Society. In 1976
he organised the Charlestown centenary celebrations and
in 1978 was awarded the British Empire Medal for services
to local government and the community.
THOMAS CHARLES FRITH
Born in 1872, Thomas and his wife Maria came to
Boolaroo shortly after the Sulphide Works opened in 1897
and built the first shop in the town.
The son of Irish immigrants, Frith left school early and
worked for his brothers, William and Richard, at a brick
yard at Holmesville. At 14 he worked at the Co-operative
Colliery before becoming a shop assistant in Frank
In 1897 Frith opened a store in Waratah, later buying
land at Boolaroo. As the Boolaroo venture expanded he
left the Waratah business and opened stores at Teralba,
Toronto and Warners Bay. But in the latter part of the
last century the stores hit hard times and the empire was
wound up in 1993.
Frith was president of Lake Macquarie Council in
1920 and was instrumental in light and power coming to
Boolaroo and the establishment of an ambulance service.
He was foundation Master of Lodge Speers Point and
trustee of Boolaroo Methodist Church. The Boolaroo
Bowling Club site was donated by Frith in 1927 and he was
club founder and its first president. During the Depression
and through mine strikes Frith stores gave credit to hard-
hit families, Frith saying ''I will feed the miners and their
families while ever I have goods in my store. I will trust
every man on his own merit.''
Frith died on November 3, 1957.
THE HUNTER ...
''I will feed the miners and their
families while ever I have goods in
my store. I will trust every man
on his own merit.''
-- T.C. Frith
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