Early one wet, Saturday morning in January 1917 an explosion rocked “Bangoola”, the Schreiterer family home in Parriwi Road, better known then as New Spit Road. It was heard as far away as Cremorne Point.
Paul Schreiterer was a wool broker from Reichenbach, Germany. He migrated to Australia in 1893, married Ida Smith and built a large two story house on extensive grounds overlooking Middle Harbour in about 1905 for his family of six children.
The family had suffered a tragedy in March 1911 when Godfrey aged 6 died from injuries caused when he fell off a pony and was dragged along Spit Road some distance with one foot caught in the stirrup.
It was reported that a bomb had been thrown into the basement of the house through an open window. A family member was thrown out of bed by the force of the explosion but no one was injured.
The explosion caused considerable damage to the house causing the veranda to lift “a foot” and a hole “17 inches” deep was blown in the basement. The contents of some rooms on the lower floor were severely damaged. Valuable glass and antique china was shattered as were a number of windows. There was other structural damage. Damage was estimated at between 200 and 300 pounds.
It was thought that the fact that the cellar door was open and there were several other openings helped contain the damage.
The Police examined the damaged area and could not find any fragments of the bomb, any trace of a fuse or any clue to the identity of the perpetrator. They concluded that the explosion was the work of a crank. Mr Schreiterer could not account for the bombing. He stated that he had no known enemies.
The explosion was reported in newspapers as far away as Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie.
Only a year earlier, a bomb wrecked a shop at 69 Belmont Road owned by German born pastry cook and confectioner Otto Pfafflin.
We will never know whether the bomb at “Bangoola” was the work of a crank, an enemy of the family or someone with a grievance against Germans, it being the penultimate year of the First World War.
1917 ‘NORTH SYDNEY BOMB OUTRAGE.’, Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), 11 January, p. 4, viewed 1 March, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45433207
1916 ‘SUPPOSED BOMB.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 29 February, p. 10, viewed 1 March, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15650195
Bangoola, Mosman, 1912 / photographer unknown – Historic Houses Trust, Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection
The Sands Directory for 1917 lists Paul Schreiterer at Pariwa Road (West Side), number 10. Perhaps the house is there still?