Mosman Council History

Richard Harnett Jnr, Mosman's first mayor, 1893-94.
Richard Harnett Jnr, Mosman's first mayor, 1893-94.
Mosman was constituted a separate Municipality on 11 April 1893. Previously Mosman was known as the Mosman Ward, being part of the borough of St. Leonards from 1868. The separation was proclaimed by His Excellency The Honourable Sir Frederick Matthew Darley, Lieutenant Governor.

The first meeting of Mosman Council was held on Thursday 9 June 1893 at 7.30pm at a Community Hall, which was a two storey wooden building erected in 1880 by Richard Harnett Jnr. The address of the hall was ‘Great Military Road’ being next to the present Post Office at Mosman Junction opposite Belmont Road. Rental was 17/6 per week.

At the first election 775 persons were eligible to vote.

Those elected were Richard Harnett Jnr (first Mayor of Mosman), Patrick Taylor, Richard Moran, Charles Cowles, John Noble, Hugh Rose, Thomas Bladen, John Gerald Cannon and Archibald Mcalpine.

Mosman Council Chambers, c1900, corner of Military and Myahgah Roads.
Mosman Council Chambers, c1900, corner of Military and Myahgah Roads.
The Municipality at first comprised three wards. In 1902 this was increased to four – Balmoral, East, West and South.

On 27 July 1897, Mosman Council received 6 months to quit the Council Chambers.

On 8 September 1898 Alderman Horning moved that a new building not to cost more than 1000 pounds be erected on the site occupied by the Council Chambers. This was completed in 1900 and cost 1100 pounds. James Peddle was the architect.

The third Council Chambers were designed by Leonard Herbert and Edward Wilson on the same site as the Civic Centre at Spit Junction.

Mosman Town Hall and Council Chambers, 1947, corner of Military and Myahgah Roads.
Mosman Town Hall and Council Chambers, 1947, corner of Military and Myahgah Roads.
The Council Chambers you see now – the fourth in Council’s history – was designed by Travis Partners Pty Ltd and opened in 1988. This new building was called The Mosman Civic Centre and was an integral part of the Mosman Square Project.

Mayor and Councillor History

This table contains a listing of current and past Mayors and Councillors of Mosman Council since its inception in 1893. This is part of a research project and is a work in progress. Further information will be added as it is extracted from Council’s records.

Council crest and motto

The first official seal was designed when Mosman was incorporated as a separate Municipality in 1893. Famous Mosman resident Livingstone Hopkins, Hop of the Bulletin, created the first design of a spouting whale with water and sun as a backdrop to symbolise Mosman’s early beginnings as a whaling station.

The motto, which remains unchanged today, is Tutus in Undis meaning in safe waters.

In 1952, Alderman Allan Gamble designed a new seal so as to incorporate other symbols of Mosman’s history.

Mosman Council crest

At top: an anchor rests enveloped by the sun, a traditional maritime symbol.

Below: a spouting whale appears to remind us of Mosman’s early whaling industry, introduced by the Scot, Archibald Mosman, after whom the suburb was named.

To the left: two mounted guns signify unique fortifications built at the strategic positions of Georges Head, Middle Head and Bradley’s Head. In times of threat of war, during the last century and World War II, Mosman’s shores were recognised as having some of the strongest vantage points in case of attack of Sydney and harbour.

To the right: the sailing vessel represents HMS Sirius, flagship of the First Fleet, which was careened in 1789 at what is now known as Mosman Bay. This event marked the advent of the first Europeans to Mosman’s soil.

At the side: two stylised dolphins represent further links with the sea life of Mosman’s environmental heritage.