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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. Since 1868, the area had been part of the Borough of St. Leonards and known as the Mosman Ward. His Excellency, The Honourable Sir Frederick Matthew Darley, Lieutenant Governor proclaimed Mosman’s separation from the Borough of St Leonards.

At the first public election in this new municipality, 832 persons were eligible to vote. Elected to council were Richard Harnett Jnr., Patrick Taylor, Richard Moran, Charles Cowles, John Noble, Hugh Rose, Thomas Bladen, John Gerald Cannon and Archibald Mcalpine.

The first meeting of Mosman Council was held on Thursday 9 June 1893 in the community hall, a two storey wooden building, erected in 1880 by Richard Harnett Jnr. The hall was located on Great Military Road next to the present-day site of Mosman Junction Post Office. The rental for the hall was 17/6 per week.

Mosman Council Chambers, c1900

The Mosman Municipality initially comprised three wards, in 1902 this was increased to four and today there are three wards once again.

The Council received notice to quit the community hall in 1897 and the following year Alderman Horning moved that council chambers, not to cost more than 1000 pounds, be erected. A two-storeyed chambers of brick and stone were built on Military Road, on the corner of Myahgah Road. Designed by architect, James Peddle, the Mosman Council Chambers were completed in 1900 for a cost of 1100 pounds.

In the late 1930s architects, Leonard Herbert, Edward Wilson, Henry Pynor and Alfred Hale, were commissioned to design new Council Chambers to be built on the site of Peddle’s chambers. His Excellency, the Governor of New South Wales, The Lord Wakehurst, K.C.M.G., performed the opening ceremony held on Thursday 18 April 1940.

Mosman Town Hall and Council Chambers, 1940

On Friday 13 May 1988 the fourth Council Chambers, designed by Travis Partners Pty Ltd, were opened and renamed The Mosman Civic Centre.

Mayors and Councillors of Mosman

A list of current and past mayors and councillors (aldermen) since 1893 can be found in Mosman Council Mayors and Councillors (304 kB).

Council crest and motto

In 1893 Mosman resident, Livingston Hopkins, known as Hop of the Bulletin designed the first council seal featuring a spouting whale with water and sun motifs symbolising Mosman’s early beginnings as a whaling station. The motto, which remains unchanged today, is Tutus in Undis meaning in safe waters.

In 1952, architect and Alderman Allan Gamble designed a new seal, incorporating other symbols related to the history of Mosman.

Mosman Council crest

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

Below: a spouting whale is a reminder of Mosman’s whaling industry.

To the left: two mounted guns signify the fortifications built at the strategic positions of Georges Head, Middle Head and Bradley’s Head. During the 19th and 20th centuries, in times of threat of war, Mosman’s shores were recognised as having some of the strongest vantage points in case of attacks on 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 today called Mosman Bay. This event marked the arrival of the first Europeans on Mosman’s soil.

At the side: two stylised dolphins representing further links with the sea, and the sea life, surrounding Mosman.