The story of Tilligerry history buff Bull Howard Port Stephens Port Stephens News by News Of The Area - Modern Media - February 2, 2021 Bill Howard at Tanilba Shores. MUCH of the preservation of our local history can be put down to those quiet achievers who beaver away for endless hours combing through archives and long forgotten documents. Advertise with News of The Area today. It’s worth it for your business. Message us. Phone us – (02) 4981 8882. Email us – [email protected] One such person out Tilligerry way was Bill Howard, a behind-the-scenes researcher and editor whose contribution was huge. Indeed, he was working on a monumental work about the history of World War II in the Pacific when a bushfire burned his Salt Ash home down. The manuscript was lost in the blaze. Bill was a high school teacher of mathematics, a subject master and lecturer at both a teachers college and university level. He was also a reserve officer in the army, attaining the rank of captain. He was pivotal in the publication of ‘A History of the Tilligerry Peninsula’ which went to a second imprint with sales of over 1000 copies. A lesser known but equally important publication he edited came about when two sisters came to town in search of details of a pioneer relative – a certain Henry Blackford of Lemon Tree Passage. It was Bill who sifted through the piles of documents and turned them into a very interesting book which not only told the Blackford story but also painted a picture of the lives of people and the times in which they lived. Henry Blackford was the first settler on the Tilligerry Peninsula where a land grant saw him trying to grow wheat and raise cattle in Lemon Tree Passage. He failed, as the sandy soil was unsuitable for cropping and his cattle died from eating a poisonous plant. His memory is preserved in a thoroughfare named ‘Blackford Lane.’ And Bill? After the bushfire, he was rehoused in Tanilba Shores retirement village before moving to a care facility on the Central Coast where he spent his final days. Want to know more? ‘A History of the Tilligerry Peninsula’ is available from our local library and if you google ‘Henry Blackford from Lemon Tree Passage His Life and Times,’ you will be rewarded with a rollicking tale of our colonial past. By Geoff WALKER Our local history book which Bill edited.