Biographies of the Early Aldermen

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John Francis Tabrett

Alderman in 1886-87.

John Francis Tabrett was a builder married to Fanny Elizabeth who ran a shop known as a ‘fancy repository’. They had children Arthur, Leslie and Henry.

He is listed as owning a timber yard on the corner of Hordern and Victoria Streets in 1879-84 (two houses away from Alderman Boots) and in Church Street, 10 away from Alderman Whately in the years 1882-1885.

In September 1882 he successfully tendered to build the Commercial Bank of Australia building on the corner of King and Eliza Streets, opposite the Town Hall, for £4,035. The bank was one of a series designed by William Wilkinson Wardell (1823-99), whose major work is St Mary’s Cathedral and St John’s College at the University of Sydney.

He was co-owner with Mr Draper in a steam saw mill located on three acres in the brickfields across from St Peters Station in the 1880s. An illustrated advertisement in ‘The Builder and Contractors News’ of 1889 shows the mill alongside tram tracks and the post and rail fence. All the corrugated iron buildings are emblazoned with ten foot high letters ‘TABRETT & DRAPER, SAW MILLS & JOINERY WORKS, Bilders & Contractors, Brick makers’. And though a December 1888 petition to Council complained of ‘large volumes of smoke from the brickyards’, the advertisement shows four belching chimneys.

He took especial exception that Robert Hannan, Council’s Inspector of Nuisances was acting as an agent for the (Australian) Mutual (Fire) Insurance Society and asked that he be discharged.

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