Lake Macquarie History

Mary's Gift

A passing timber cutter stopped to talk to Mary Jane Grey. It was about 1870 and she was 12 years old. He was in the area looking for Australian cedar trees. There was a lively 19th century trade in this beautiful red timber in the Hunter and elsewhere in NSW.

The timber cutter asked her what she would get for Christmas. Mary replied that she would get nothing. Her family were very poor. A few days later the timber cutter returned with a wooden doll. He had carved it from a tree branch.

Mary married William Edwards in 1885. She passed away in 1924. They are buried side by side in West Wallsend Cemetery.

A hundred years after Mary received this gift, her daughter Mary Hughes gave the doll to amateur local historian Ern Lambert. He recorded the story she told him. The doll was donated to West Wallsend High School and Community Museum in 1992 in Lambert's name. WWHSCM donated it to Lake Macquarie City Council 30 years later.

If you have information to share about Mary Jane Grey or these many acts of giving, please be in touch. This is Mary's gift to us: connecting us to each other and our shared history. Let's build on what we know and deepen our knowledge of the past together.

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and Council's cultural collections may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

This website may contain place names, opinions and terms that reflect authors' views or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded. These may not be considered appropriate today.

If you experience any issues with the website or its content please contact us [email protected]