Sir Edward Parry: The Fixer

Al Donnelly with his Koala Ferry.
Al Donnelly with his Koala Ferry.

 

YOU have no doubt heard of people referred to as ‘fixers’.

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They have the job of cleaning up a mess made by others and Sir Edward Parry was one of the best Port Stephens has seen.

Parry arrived in 1829 to sort out problems of the Australian Agricultural (AA) Company which had a land grant of some 4000 sq km running away from Tahlee, on the northern shores of the Port.

He instantly realised that the area was unsuited to the farming of sheep and secured better grants around the Liverpool Plains.

By the time he left, the company’s fortunes had been reversed and sheep numbers had risen with a thriving company town of some 167 houses and a workforce of over 500.

Our local family history society’s publication ‘Convicts of the Australian Agricultural Company’ gives detailed information of the 1329 convicts who worked for the company between 1825 and 1850.

The AA company still exists today but it now focuses on beef cattle run on vast estates in the Northern Territory.

Over the years Tahlee has become a sleepy little settlement which still has the original governor’s residence replete with a canon which takes pride of place on the lawn.

It’s used today as a college to train ministers of religion.

Lemon Tree Passage now has its own ferry service which, as a permanent fixture, does the historic Tahlee run of a Thursday.

Al Donnelly provides the transport, gives a commentary along the way and morning tea is provided.

Those on board also get to visit the historic homestead and surrounds at their leisure.

 

By Geoff WALKER

 

Historic Tahlee House.
Historic Tahlee House.

 

Sir Edward Parry.
Sir Edward Parry.

 

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