When Tilly Devine roosted in Lilli Pilli


HEATHER Millar, 72, has fond memories growing up with her family in this Lilli Pilli cottage.It was originally a poultry farm sprawling over three acres before it was subdivided into a 904-square-metre block.Mrs Millar’s family ran a hatchery, delivered eggs, and sold dressed chickens. They also allowed a local Baptist church to hold Sunday school services, open to all religious backgrounds, in their backyard in the 1950s.Her mother Edna Taylor, who died last October three months short of her 105th birthday, lived at the property for 68 years.

“She was living there until she had a fall when she was 100,” Mrs Millar said.

“The property was subdivided when my parents retired.”

Mrs Taylor and her husband George, who died 40 years ago, would sell day-old chickens at the old Paddy’s Markets and eggs and dressed poultry to the likes of 1920s gangster and madam Tilly Devine.

Mrs Millar said Devine spent her holidays with other criminals around Lilli Pilli.

“Our parents would always tell us that Tilly Devine ordered chooks off us,” Mrs Millar said.

“She didn’t have a good reputation but she brought in business.”

Mrs Taylor left instructions in her will that the property be sold and the sale divided between Mrs Millar and her brother John.

Records reveal the land, part of the Holt Sutherland Estate, was owned by Florence Spencer in 1910. Her husband Henry was a gardener who died aged 61 in 1930.

The records also show that about 1916 a weatherboard and stone cottage with a kitchen and two bedrooms was built, and still stands today.

Mrs Millar, who lives at Llandilo, said she would join her brother at Berkeley after their house of memories was auctioned.

“I just hope that the property will bring someone happiness like it did for us,” she said.

St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.