Lake Macquarie History

Lord of the Manor House

'Lord of the Manor' House, or 'House on the Hill' was built in 1924 by the Orett Brothers of Newcastle, for Robert Shaw, who had purchased the land from the Cam family in 1913.

Samuel Cam purchased a total of eighty acres; the first forty in 1867 for £1 an acre, the second forty in 1873. He built an iron roofed slab hut near Cam's Point with a wharf close by. He established a small farming enterprise on the land, which provided fresh food for his family and the mining community at Catherine Hill Bay. The wharf he built became an essential facility in the chain of transport for goods and miners who were not permanent residents. Although Samuel Cam was successful in business, his personal life was marked by tragedy, taking his own life in 1893 at the age of 58. The land was passed down to his daughter Matilda after the death of Samuel's wife Anne in 1908. Matilda transferrred the property to a ;miner from Killingworth, also named Samuel Cam, in 1912, who then sold it to Robert Shaw in early 1913.

Robert Shaw was a miner from Carrington who was described as 'hunched', a 'little bloke' and a 'funny sort of fellow' who was said to live an unorthodox existence. He was not married and rumours abounded about his long time relationship with housekeeper, Mrs Robertson.

During Bob's ownership the residence was upgraded from the waterfront slab hut to a weatherboard cottage further back on the land. The architectural style is considered to be simplified Interwar Georgian Revival which was constructed from timber weatherboard and asbestos cement sheeting with a corrugated galvanised iron roof. The interior floors were made from timber with linoleum covering some. Fibrous plaster sheeting donned the ceilings and some of the walls, with veneered timber panelling on the remaining walls. A brick and tile fire place in the corner of both the kitchen and living room. A broad verandah, topped with a bellcast roof looked out onto the lake. Two big tanks near the laundry supplied the house with water.

Bob earned a great reputation for his pineapple growing and was noted as having a fine orchard. He sold eggs and fruit to neighbouring families, taking the excess produce by horse and cart to the Steel Street Markets in Newcastle.

photo: lord of the manor. cams wharfl

In 1950 the residence and land was sold on to Tom Wrightson who, with his family, moved in on 1 February 1950 where he lived until 1982. Tom maintained the upkeep of the farm and orchard, where he raised cattle, chickens and pigs and tended the pineapple plantation. Some time later Tom planted a row of pine trees in front of the house.

The 'Lord of the Manor' title appeared during Tom's residence. A nickname believed to originate from the owners of the weekenders, to whom Tom leased small parcels of land along the waterfront.

Unfortunately during the 18 October 2013 bushfires, the house was destroyed.

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