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Lynwood – A matter of perception

Two articles that were printed in the local paper, the Moruya Examiner, exactly 100 years ago made me realise how different people can have almost opposite opinions about the same thing, in this case a house. These articles describe my home Lynwood as an “exceptional first-class residence” and a “beautiful home” with a “large drawing room”

TODAY’S SALE – R. H. Harvison, the auctioneer, is very anxious that intending buyers at Mr. James’ big clearing sale of household furniture, etc, would attend not later than 2.00pm, at which time the sale will start. The residence, together with Mr. James’ other cottage further on in the same street (Campbell) will also be submitted to the hammer. The present offers a unique occasion to the people of Moruya of securing an exceptional first-class residence or furniture.

6 September 1919

BOOK AFTERNOON – The large drawing room of “Lynwood,” the beautiful home of Mrs. G. H. James, was filled with a happy crowd on Monday last, when the genial hostess entertained the members of the Red Cross Society and other friends at a book afternoon. A merry time was spent in deciphering the various representations, the lucky winner of the jewel casket being Miss Elsie Jeffrey. During the afternoon musical items were rendered by Mrs. A. M. Wilson and Miss Rita Luck.

6 September 1919
George Henry James

Completed in 1914, the heritage-listed Lynwood was built for Mr George Henry James and family on land purchased by Mr James and Abraham Emmott in 1913. Mr James was the south coast manager of Allen & Taylor , a hardwood timber and shipping company.

Not long after it was built the house had been described in the same newspaper as an ornament to Moruya

Mr and Mrs G.H. James

AN ORNAMENT TO MORUYA: This handsome structure should stand as a monument to Mr. James’ aestheticism, and he is to be highly congratulated on thus assisting to enhance the town. If only a few more of our capitalistic citizens would follow Mr. James’ example …the township of Moruya would become as far-famed for its architectural magnificence as for its picturesqueness.

Moruya Examiner, 9 May 1914, p.2.

However, not everyone agreed with the opinions expressed in the Moruya Examiner. A.V. (Bob) Colefax called the house “ostentatious” in one section of his memoirs and went on to say in another

A short diversion at this stage to refer to the pattern of community life as I saw it when a small child. … The principal buyer of timber was the firm Allen Taylor & Co. The Moruya agent was a man called Mr James, who did much better financially than the axemen and the teamsters who toiled from dawn to dark in winning the timber from the forest, James …created a minor sensation in Moruya when he had built the residence in Campbell Street now owned by Mr Cec Wills, To our humble community in those days, this place was considered a mansion,

A.V. Colefax, Down Memory Lane

My opinion? Obviously I agree with the writers of the Moruya Examiner with one proviso. Big, old timber homes like Lynwood are very large, very deep, money pits.

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