Albion Park home steeped in history

A sign on the front wall, "The Willows", gives the impression that Allan Wilson's Tongarra Road home was always known by that name, but it wasn't always the case.

"When the children were growing up everyone would call our family 'The Willows'," Mr Wilson said.

"My son saw the sign one day, bought it and put it up there.

"It is not the original name, it has been up there about 20 years now so it will probably stick.

"The council use it now anyway," he laughed.

Mr Wilson and wife Barbara have lived in the Albion Park home for 25 years, following in the footsteps of Mr Wilson's parents and grandparents.

Mr Wilson's grandfather Ollie moved from Parkes to Albion Park in the early part of the 19th century to take up a lease on a blacksmith's shop and the house, initially from Albion Park pioneer John Russell.

The home and shop were bought by Sarah McGill in the sale of the Russell Estate subdivision in 1917, then later purchased by the Wilson family.

Allan's father Jim would also go on to lease the blacksmith's shop.

The home, which is thought to have been built in the 1880s, is believed to have previously been a hospital and also a courthouse.

The home has been extensively modified by successive generations to accommodate growing families to the point where Mr Wilson said that the shape of the roof is all that remains of the building's original form.

"The kitchen, bathroom and laundry were separate to the house and the verandah wrapped around the home," Mr Wilson said.

"We used to have a chip heater for hot water.

"When dad moved in with four children he turned the verandah into bedrooms.

"It is a big backyard ... when my father took over the blacksmith's shop they cut the shop in half and towed it down and he had his business in the backyard."

Mr Wilson's father instigated the Albion Park bushfire brigade in 1952, which is located next door to the home.

"It was very handy ... when the hotel burnt down in 1954 I remember we had hoses running out to the river," Mr Wilson said.

The Wilsons are in no hurry to leave the family home.

"It is nice and quiet, tennis courts nearby, shops down the road, we had four children and there was plenty of room," Mr Wilson said.

They also have the showground at the back fence, which was ideal for a rugby league family growing up.

"Albion Park has changed a lot ... it is a busy place now and, in school times you have trouble getting across the road.

"The neighbours are nice, although a lot of the old timers are all going. But this house is still nice and comfortable."

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