Municipality of Redfern

The Municipality of Redfern was a local government area of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The small municipality was proclaimed in 1859 as one of the first municipalities proclaimed under the new provisions of the Municipalities Act, 1858, and was centred on the suburbs of Redfern, Eveleigh, Darlington and Surry Hills. The council was amalgamated, along with most of its neighbours, with the City of Sydney to the north with the passing of the Local Government (Areas) Act 1948. From 1968 to 1982 and from 1989 to 2004, the area was part of the South Sydney councils.

Municipality of Redfern
New South Wales
Redfern Town Hall, 1871 by Charles Pickering.jpg
Redfern Town Hall, c. 1871, Mayor George Renwick is pictured at right on the balcony.
Population18,637 (1947 census)[1]
 • Density11,000/km2 (28,400/sq mi)
Established11 August 1859
Abolished31 December 1948
Area1.7 km2 (0.7 sq mi)
Council seatRedfern Town Hall
ParishAlexandria
LGAs around Municipality of Redfern:
Darlington Sydney Sydney
Newtown Municipality of Redfern Sydney
Erskineville Alexandria Waterloo

Council historyEdit

When Redfern Municipality was proclaimed in August 1859, the area initially included the areas of Waterloo and Alexandria. However the Municipality of Waterloo was proclaimed in May 1860 and the Municipality of Alexandria separated from Waterloo in August 1868.[2][3] Upon incorporation in 1859, the municipality was divided into three wards: Redfern, Waterloo and Surry Hills, each electing three Aldermen. With the secession of Waterloo a few months later the wards were rearranged to be Redfern, Belmore and Surry Hills and in 1880 Golden Grove Ward was added to that number.[4] Under the enactment of The Municipalities Act of 1867, the title of 'Chairman' for the council was changed to be 'Mayor'. With this Act, the council also became known as the Borough of Redfern (From 28 December 1906, with the passing of the Local Government Act, 1906, the council was again renamed as the "Municipality of Redfern"). The Mayor had a set of official robes to wear as part of the office, but they were often boycotted by Labor mayors who affirmed they were against their 'democratic principles'.[5]

Redfern was notable for being the first suburb in Sydney to have electricity and electric street lighting, which occurred when the Council voted unanimously in 1891 to build its own power station, in Turner Street, to power the suburb. From the late 1910s and 1920s the Redfern area became increasingly populated by the unemployed and working class, employed by industry and the nearby Eveleigh Railway Workshops, resulting in the increasing domination of the Labor Party and left-wing groups in the area.[6] In 1947 the Communist Party of Australia succeeded in getting their first alderman, Patrick Levelle, elected to the council.[7][8] As a consequence the council, traditionally held by the merchant and middle classes, frequently found itself divided on simple matters, including the election of the mayor, which required the Minister for Local Government and the Governor to instead appoint the mayor several times.[9][10][11][12][13] This was a situation occurring within many of the inner-city councils as demographics of the area changed dramatically, but Redfern was considered the worst example of a council paralysed by party politics.[14]

With the Redfern area's close involvement with the labor movement and the Labor Party, the wartime conscription debate affected Redfern Council most particularly. In October 1916 Redfern Council passed a motion "without a dissentient that conscription was not in the best interests in Australia", in direct opposition to the views of ALP Prime Minister Billy Hughes and the Member for Redfern James McGowen. McGowen lost his preselection in Redfern and in response the Redfern ALP Branch president, Alderman John Leitch (Mayor, 1908–1910, 1914–1915) resigned to join the pro-conscriptionists with his friend McGowen.[15]

By the end of the Second World War, the NSW Government had realised that its ideas of infrastructure expansion could not be effected by the present system of the patchwork of small municipal councils across Sydney and the Minister for Local Government, Joseph Cahill, following the recommendations of the 1945–46 Clancy Royal Commission on Local Government Boundaries, passed a bill in 1948 that abolished a significant number of those councils.[16] Under the Local Government (Areas) Act 1948, Redfern Municipal Council became the Redfern Ward of the City of Sydney, returning two aldermen.[17]

MayorsEdit

 
Thomas Clarke (1846–1922), Mayor (1890–1891, 1898–1900) and Member of Parliament for Darlington (1898–1901).
 
John Beveridge (1848–1916), Alderman for Belmore Ward (1886–1891) and Mayor (1891).
 
Patrick Mooney (1880–1942), Mayor (1925) and Senator for New South Wales (1931–1932).
Years Chairmen Notes
14 September 1859 – February 1861 Thomas Hayes [18]
February 1861 – 5 February 1862 Michael Williamson [19]
5 February 1862 – February 1864 George Renwick [20][21]
February 1864 – 10 February 1865 Thomas Jones [22]
10 February 1865 – February 1866 Thomas Wild [23]
February 1866 – 7 February 1867 William Williamson [24]
7 February 1867 – 13 February 1868 George Renwick [25]
Years Mayors Notes
13 February 1868 – 16 February 1872 George Renwick [26]
16 February 1872 – 11 February 1874 Henry Hudson (Free Trade) [27][28]
11 February 1874 – 8 February 1876 William Williamson [29][30]
8 February 1876 – 11 February 1880 Patrick Stanley [31][32]
11 February 1880 – 9 February 1881 Henry Hudson (Free Trade) [27][33]
9 February 1881 – 10 February 1882 Patrick Stanley [34][35]
10 February 1882 – 16 February 1885 Francis Augustus Wright [36][37]
16 February 1885 – 3 February 1887 George Lander [38][39]
3 February 1887 – 10 February 1888 Edwin Berry [40][41]
10 February 1888 – 14 February 1889 Thomas Williamson [42][43]
14 February 1889 – 13 February 1890 John Crowe [44]
13 February 1890 – 12 February 1891 Thomas Clarke (Free Trade) [45]
11 February 1891 – 29 May 1891 John Beveridge (Free Trade) [46][47][48]
2 June 1891 – 17 February 1893 George William Howe [49][50]
17 February 1893 – 15 February 1894 Cornelius Gorton [51][52]
15 February 1894 – 15 February 1895 William Davis [53][54]
15 February 1895 – 13 February 1896 William Poole [55]
13 February 1896 – 11 February 1897 George Richard Parkes [56][57]
11 February 1897 – February 1898 Joseph Medcalf [58][59]
February 1898 – 13 October 1898 Edwin Berry [60]
13 October 1898 – 7 February 1900 Thomas Clarke (Free Trade) [61]
7 February 1900 – 14 February 1901 Henry Vernon [62]
14 February 1901 – 12 February 1902 James Jackson [63]
12 February 1902 – 12 February 1903 Thomas Fanning [64]
12 February 1903 – 13 February 1904 George Richard Parkes [65]
13 February 1904 – 17 February 1905 Joseph Medcalf [66][67]
17 February 1905 – 16 February 1906 Cornelius Gorton [68][69]
16 February 1906 – 15 February 1907 James Owen Batchelor [70]
15 February 1907 – 7 February 1908 George Todd [71]
7 February 1908 – 2 February 1911 John Leitch (ALP) [9][72][73]
2 February 1911 – 11 February 1914 Tom Holden (ALP) [74][75]
11 February 1914 – 4 February 1915 John Leitch (ALP) [76][77]
4 February 1915 – July 1917 Tom Holden (ALP) [74][78]
12 July 1917 – 5 February 1920 Albert Clarke Isaacs [79][80][81]
5 February 1920 – February 1922 Patrick Roberts (ALP) [82][83][84]
February 1922 – 20 December 1923 John Joseph Castle (ALP) [85]
20 December 1923 – 16 December 1924 George Boyd (ALP) [86][87]
16 December 1924 – 23 December 1926 Patrick Mooney (ALP) [88][89][90]
23 December 1926 – 23 December 1927 Tom Holden (ALP) [74][91]
23 December 1927 – 12 December 1928 Francis James Gilmore [92][93][94]
12 December 1928 – 19 December 1929 John Hanafin [95]
19 December 1929 – 18 December 1930 George Waite (ALP) [96]
18 December 1930 – December 1931 Kenneth John Alexander MacRae (ALP) [97]
December 1931 – 15 December 1932 George Wheatley (ALP)
15 December 1932 – 31 December 1934 John Joseph Castle (ALP) [98]
31 December 1934 – 10 January 1936 Harry Gardiner (ALP) [11][99]
10 January 1936 – 8 January 1937 Joseph Malachi Gilmore [100]
8 January 1937 – December 1937 Alexis Howarth [12][101][102]
December 1937 – December 1939 Francis James Gilmore [103]
December 1939 – December 1941 James Francis Edward Gilmore [104]
December 1941 – 23 December 1943 John Stephen O’Brien [105]
23 December 1943 – 13 December 1944 Thomas Ormond Powell [106]
13 December 1944 – 10 January 1946 Edward Robert Elvy [107][108]
10 January 1946 – December 1947 Joseph Warburton [13][109]
December 1947 – 31 December 1948 Alexis Howarth [110]

Town ClerksEdit

 
R. W. Grierson, Town Clerk of Redfern for 50 years (1885–1934).
Years Town Clerk Notes
14 September 1859 – 31 December 1861 George Philben [111]
1 January 1861 – 1 February 1863 Edward Richard Jones [112]
1 February 1863 – 1 February 1869 Thomas Fraser [113][114]
1 February 1869 – 21 January 1881 William Steele Wardrop [115][116][117]
21 January 1881 – 11 June 1885 William Neale Parker [118]
11 June 1885 – 30 November 1934 Robert William Grierson [119][120][121][122]
30 November 1934 – 31 December 1948 Frank W. Wright [123]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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