TOPICS: Building bridges

LIZ Parkinson and David Rose are two history buffs the Newcastle Herald brought together for a story in February about the 1843 Half Way House Inn on the Old New England Highway at Liddell.

Ms Parkinson, of Terrigal, grew up in Muswellbrook and Mr Rose lives in Metford – but these ‘‘strangers’’, as we called them in the story, shared a concern for the fate of the old inn at Chain of Ponds, better known as Liddell.

But that is not all they share.

Since the story, Ms Parkinson and Mr Rose have discovered they are related.

Mr Rose said his ancestor Thomas Rose sailed to Australia with his family on The Bellona in 1793.

‘‘He brought his wife and kids with him. He also brought his niece.

‘‘Liz is a descendant of that niece,’’ Mr Rose said.

‘‘Not only do we share an interest in the inn, we also share a link with another historic building, Rose Cottage at Wilberforce, the oldest timber dwelling in Australia, built by Thomas [Rose] in 1811,’’ Mr Rose said.

‘‘It is astounding, bizarre,’’ Ms Parkinson said.

Ms Parkinson’s great-great-grandfather Henry Nowland built the once bustling inn and she has written about the building over the past 30 years.

The two say the Herald story prompted strong public interest, including assistance from Coal & Allied, on whose land the building stands.

The company’s cultural heritage manager, David Cameron has had meetings with people interested in how best to conserve the old building.

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