CONVICTS were assigned to wealthy landowners and the now bustling suburb was considered a tiny riverside village when Raymond Terrace was settled in 1837.
A Census taken in 1841 shows a population of 364 people living in 47 homes, with residents working as farmers, potters or winemakers, according to Raymond Terrace Historical Society President Moira Saunderson.
The settlement and history of Raymond Terrace was explored at a dinner to commemorate the township’s 175th anniversary at the Raymond Terrace Senior Citizens Hall on Saturday.
Mrs Saunderson, who launched her book Echoes of War on Saturday, said there were several descendants of the earliest settlers among the 60 people who attended the anniversary.
‘‘Members of the Moxey and Meredith families were both at the dinner and their descendants settled in Raymond Terrace in the 1850s and 1840s respectively,’’ Mrs Saunderson said. ‘‘In those days landowners were assigned convicts to help them work if they were fortunate.’’
One of the suburb’s earliest residents, Brigadier General J.B.Meredith, worked as a doctor during the Boer War and served with the Australian Light Horse regiment during World War I.
Mrs Saunderson said Echoes of War chronicled 60 letters penned by soldiers during World War I and the Boer War, which were delivered to relatives living in Raymond Terrace. The letters were published in the Raymond Terrace Examiner, an early edition of the Port Stephens Examiner, and written by more than 40 soldiers, Mrs Saunderson said.
The book is available by contacting the Raymond Terrace Historical Society or the Raymond Terrace Regional Library. It costs $35.