Windsor's Municipal History-THE INTERESTING EARLY STAGES
THE PROMOTERS' TROUBLES.
The Hon. William Walker.From his book entitled ''Reminiscences of a Fifty Tears' Residence at Windsor,
published in 1890, we take the following extract, which carries us still further back - back to a quarter of a century before the town's incorporation.
The hon. gentleman writes :
" There was a District Council once at Windsor (it embraced the whole district), of which the late Mr. Robert Fitzgerald was the first and last Warden. It started with a lot of Councillors, and commenced operations on a large and extravagant scale. But it had no funds to go on with. Assessors were appointed to value all the property in the district, who began work by a lengthened trip down the Hawkesbury in a boat, examining the farms on the way. A valuable suite of office furniture was ordered of a Mr. Atkinson, but after delivery he could not get paid. He sued some of the members of the Council, who denied their individual liability, and the council was without money. Atkinson was non-suited-the Council broke up-no one would consent to act on it, fearing liabilities, and it died in 1846. The furniture, which no one would own, was placed in the Court House for a considerable time ; but it was in the way there, and some of it is now, I believe, at a neighbouring house, this was tbe first experience of municipal matters at Windsor, and its failure created a bad impression. The Municipalities' Act of 1858, how ever, brought, local Councils into existence again. But there were great difficulties encountered in get ting a Municipal Council started in Windsor, and those who now partici pate in the advantages of the institu tion, little know the trouble the promoters had in getting it afloat.
The first public meeting on the, subject was called in November, 1858,at the Court House. There were
about 200 people present, numbers of whom came for the purpose of opposition and disturbance.
The lower part of the Court-room was not well lighted, so that malcontents there had every chance of keeping out of sight.
The meeting was called at 7 o'clock, but business did not commence until past eight, when I proposed that Mr. Jas. Bligh Johnson, J .P., should take the chair, but that gentleman discreetly declined.
Mr. Richard Ridge and Mr. Thomas Tebbutt were also solicited and refused.
It was apparent that no one had the courage to take the chair, and that unless I did so myself, the meeting would collapse.
Mr. Tebbutt then proposed that I should preside. I can tell you, I did not fancy the post, as I could foresee there would be some disagreeable work. However, as I was determined the meeting should not fail for want of a chairman, I consented to take the position.
I stated shortly the object of the meeting, and expressed a hope that fair play would be shown to the speakers for and against. My remarks were well received, and Mr. T. Primrose rose to move the first resolution, in favor of establishing a municipality in the borough. He was met with all kinds of interruption, and presently an egg whizzed past him, thrown from the rear part of the audience. Then followed another, and another.
I don't think they struck any one, but lodged their contents on the valuable and historical picture of Governor Macquarie and the Court House wall behind the bench. It was impossible to go on - so much noise and disorder prevailed, and the meeting broke up in sublime confusion-the advocates for a municipality receiving numerous groans and hoots.
The Court House wall remained disfigured for a long time after this discreditable scene. It was some years after this, in 1871, when the people became more reasonable, that the present Municipal
Council was established."
Source:Hawkesbury Herald (Windsor, NSW : 1902 - 1945)
Friday 16 January 1903
Transcription, janilye 2012