THE floors slope in places, internal render has dropped in chunks from the brick walls and the front verandah is a no-go area.
But anyone with a penchant for old buildings knows that wobbly bits are par for the course.
The buyers of what is believed to be Carrington’s very first shop are bound to find that and more.
Photo: Circa 1874, the history of the shop is unclear.
Another clue – the business names on the facade are: ‘‘A. Stobbs Hairdressing and Shaving Saloon’’ and ‘‘R.Jordan’s Wine Depot’’.
Other suggestions are that at one time the building was a general store.
Newcastle pharmacist Bob Lundy recalls living there around 1943 before moving to Wilson Street.
But its later history adds even more character to what will be a great building again once restored.
In the 1950s Russian immigrants Alexander (Alec) and Ria Chernish bought the old shop a few years after coming to Australia on the Fairsea, the first migrant ship to Newcastle from Naples.
Their middle daughter Tamara grew up in the shop and lives there today with partner Cameron Seabrook.
She said her parents, like the many thousands of displaced people across Europe, could choose where to go – North or South America, Canada or Australia.
‘‘My mother chose Australia because it is an island, surrounded by water and on the other side of the world far away from Europe.’’
Among the 170,000 displaced people who began a new life at Greta Camp, Alec, a precision engineer, was quickly indentured to BHP for a few weeks. However he then got another job as a master clockmaker for Whitakers Jewellers.
Ria – a chemical engineer – kept house, raised three girls and worked for a time as a cook at the Great Northern.
She even used her engineering background at Telarah as one of the first female employees for the joint Coal Board.
At that time the waters around Carrington were central to family life and Tamara can recall her father letting mud crabs go in the backyard and fishing from his two boats moored nearby – the Tamara and later the Lady Patricia.
She remembers her father converting part of the front room to repair firearms for Newcastle’s constabulary and the family making moonshine in the adjacent shed.
‘‘In those days the only thing available was port, Ben Ean moselle and Cold Duck,’’ she said.