The Mercury in 1859: First city council meeting is held in a pub

Glen Humphries
September 25 2023 - 12:00pm
There weren't a lot of votes cast in the first Wollongong council election way back in 1859.
There weren't a lot of votes cast in the first Wollongong council election way back in 1859.

Looking back at September 26, 1859

September 1859 saw the first elections for the Central Illawarra Council, a precursor to Wollongong City Council.

And the vote count shows how small the population of the city was at the time.

Of the three wards, it was Evan Evans in Ward Three who got the highest number of votes - 100.

Though he didn't seem to impress the Mercury at the announcement of the winners.

"Mr Evan Evans was a bad hand at a speech, but he would make that up by attending to the work the people had sent him there to do," the Mercury reported.

In the other two wards, councillors were elected on much smaller votes - John Lindsay got in with just 38 votes.

The newly elected councillors then headed over to the Illawarra Hotel for their first council meeting.

Nothing of substance was discussed - they tussled politely over who would be the chairman and then decided the Illawarra Hotel would be their future meeting place.

Which city is the hardest to say? Which place name pronunciation is Googled the most?

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Glen Humphries

Glen Humphries

Senior journalist

I'm an award-winning senior journalist with the Illawarra Mercury and have well over two decades' worth of experience in newspapers. I cover the three local councils in the Illawarra for the Mercury, state and federal politics, as well as writing for the TV guide. If I'm not writing, I'm reading.

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