Like some of his business contemporaries, John Lawler purchased property in the Springwood district towards the end of the 1800s. The land in question was situated on the border of Springwood and Valley Heights and the Nepean Times (26 March 1898) reported: ‘Mr Lawler of furniture fame is building a residence near Brady’s Gates on the same side as Mr Gamson’.
There was more drama to follow when a quarryman, working on the project, was fined for having too much powder (dynamite) on the job, and insufficient means of storage. The quarryman was obliged to appear in Penrith Court House.
He is thought to have married Sarah Elizabeth Bennett in 1884 and four more children were born. They were: Annie Ellen c1884, Mabel Ruth born c1886, Venetia Marie born c1888 and Elizabeth born c1890. The Sands Directory listed John Lawler & Sons, 608–12 George Street, Sydney, Mattrass (sic) Mft. A “Public Notice” that appeared in the newspapers in 1899 stated that Lawler had conducted business in Sydney for upwards of forty years, trading as a bedding manufacturer and furniture warehouseman. The notice advertised the fact that he had transferred his business over to three of his eldest children namely Frederick Andrew, William John and Catherine Josephine Lawler. John Lawler & Sons sold a variety of furnishings that included music stools, , chairs, hallstands and whatnots to the local market but had a large export market as well.
It would seem that retirement from his business may have prompted his move to Springwood. Lawler moved easily into the civic and social life of the area when he became a permanent resident. He joined the Progress Association and later, was appointed one of the Vice Presidents of the Cricket Club. In 1900 he was appointed as a Reserve Trustees.
|Venetia Lawler in garden of Fels Ridge|
Sadly, in 1902, William John Lawler, one of the sons from his first marriage, committed suicide by taking poison. It would seem that William, only twenty nine years old, was suffering depression at the time. John Lawler appeared on the 1903 electoral roll and was described as having independent means. In 1904, Eringah was leased out and the family moved to Manly for a period of six months. He is listed in the 1916 telephone directory and died in 1918. His estate was valued at almost eighty thousand pounds, which was mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald 27.4.1918. Fifty six thousand of that amount represented property. Sarah died in 1936.
Lawler left his estate divided between his wife, son and four daughters, with all of them having an equal share. Venetia went on to marry William Arnold Wendall of Mosman, and Elizabeth married Timothy Carroll of Toorak, Melbourne. The other two daughters remained single.
Although changes have been made because of new information, the original article was taken from The Making Of A Mountain Community, A Biographical Dictionary of the Springwood District.