The Collection

Shellharbour Municipal Town Clerk Wig

Date: c.1950

Donated by: Shellharbour City Council

Location: Shellharbour City Museum Collection

Horsehair wig made by Ede & Ravenscroft Ltd. 93-94 Chancery Lane, London, and worn by the Town Clerk of Shellharbour Municipal Council.

200 residents signed a petition 14 January 1859 to form the Municipality of Shellharbour, which was proclaimed on 4 June 1859.  The new Council prepared estimates for expenses such as tolls, rates, dues, fencing, roads, bridges, punts, wharves and other public works.

The first hustings were held at the rear of Robert Wilson’s flour mill at Shellharbour Village (at the foot of Wilson Street), and a poll was demanded for the election of positions. It was feared not many residents would turn up to vote because of the terrible weather, but people travelled from all over the new Municipality to vote on the day.

Nine Aldermen were elected: Robert Wilson, Andrew McGill, Patrick Collins, Ebenezer Russell, William Wilson (Chairman), Robert Martin, William James, William Moles, and Joseph Dunster.

The new Council secured books and by-laws and sought a suitable seal, ‘The design being executed most chastely and in exact accordance with the request of Council namely, a sheaf of wheat, a cow in full milk and a cabbage tree’.

As a Council Chambers had not yet been built, Mr. Edward Graham, a storekeeper at Shellharbour, provided a room for rent at his Peterborough Store on the north west corner of Mary and Addison Streets. Meetings were conducted here until the first Council Chambers was built in Addison Street in 1865. The Council Chambers at Shellharbour Village served until the late 1890s when the establishment of the railway saw the transfer of civic operations to Albion Park. In 1969, due to growth of the Municipality, the Council Chambers were moved to new premises at Warilla. Shellharbour achieved city status on 1 January 1996.

From 1901 the entire business of the Municipality, stretching from Shellharbour to the top of Macquarie Pass, and from Minnamurra to Calderwood, was handled by one man, the Town Clerk Gabriel Timbs Jnr. He was also the Town Clerk of the adjoining Municipality of Jamberoo, visiting there by horse and sulky once a week. The Council work force comprised of four men and a horse and dray at Albion Park, plus two men and a dray at Shellharbour. Picks and shovels were the tools of the trade.

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Shellharbour City Council acknowledges the traditional custodians of Dharawal Country and recognises their continued connection to the land. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and the contribution they make to the life of this city.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed.