A treasure on York Street
A home with a humble history of strength and grace will continue its legacy of giving people a leg up for yet another generation.
THIS simple cottage in York Street Singleton has been passed down through 5 generations of strong women who have at times fought to keep it in the family.
Although currently owned by Sheree Klasen, 20 York Street’s story starts back in the late 1800s on river bank at Dights Crossing. That’s where Matilda Jane Grainger’s children were playing one Christmas day when the met an orphan by the name of Alf Jakes.
The kids invited Alf, a Barnardo Boy, up to the house for Christmas lunch and he never left. Although Matilda already had 6 children to feed and clothe, her generosity found room for 1 more.
When Jake grew up, he fought in WW1 and returned to Singleton with the news of a small inheritance from England. He used this to purchase a home for the aging Matilda, so she no longer had to take in the washing from Fairholme Maternity Hospital to support the family.
After Matilda’s passing the home went to her daughter Ada Garland (Grainger) and subsequently Ada’s daughter, Joyce Bates (Garland). At the time that Joyce inherited the home, she was encouraged to sell York Street.
Joyce insisted that you ‘should never sell real estate’ and fought to keep the house and continue its legacy.
Ada allowed her gradaughter, Avril, and new husband Max to live in the house when they were first married, giving them a place to start when they had nothing of material value.
It was here that Sheree and sister Vikki were brought home to Singleton as newborns and lived the first few years or their lives.
The house fell into disrepair and after Joyce’s passing Sheree was lucky enough to keep it in the family. Although the work required was extensive, Sheree and husband Tony put in the love and the hard yards to ensure that Matilda Jane’s legacy will live on for many years to come.
To Sheree, this house is more than her childhood home, it’s the embodiment of strong family values of generosity, strong women and helping those in need.
Although the house is currently a rental, Sheree has certainly tried to keep the tradition alive by making sure the house has given a start to young families, those new in town, and those just starting out that have struggled to secure their first place to call home.
As for the future?
Sheree says that the home will go to her daughters when the time comes and hopes that they too will continue to see it as a starting point for those who need a leg up.