Biographies of the Early Aldermen

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George Nelson.

Alderman in July 1886-December 1888.

George Nelson was born to William and Margaret Nelson, adherents of the Church of England. His brother, Arthur, was born in 1845.

Arthur became an engineer while George was a carpenter and builder, and was also listed in the mid 1870s as a van proprietor. George nominated to stand in the 1877 election but was not successful. He lived near Reiby and Fulham streets in the late 1870s and on the east side of Marian Street in the 1880s with Arthur living opposite.

Council intervened with two of his building sites in 1881. First, when some terraces encroached some inches on the Watkin Street footpath, then over some drain pipes laid by Council in the line of a proposed house wall in Raper Street. In February 1886 an S. [?] or G. T. [?] Nelson complained of the ‘Goat Nuisance’ in O’Connell and Kingston Wards – presumably James Rawlings the poundkeeper caught all those in Enmore.

We may assume he used Goodsell bricks and that Alderman Goodsell lobbied him when he thought to retire again. George Nelson joined Council to represent Enmore ward in July 1886. He incurred the wrath of martinet James Smith in August 1887. Nelson had quite rightly corrected Smith, then chairing the Works Committee, from taking extra powers to purchase tar, ashes and sand for the purpose of top-dressing, painting and restoring footpaths. Ald. Smith tendered his resignation for this display of ‘no-confidence’ at the next meeting. George Nelson himself requested 3 months leave of absence in October 1888 to ‘leave the Colony’ (i.e. New South Wales) and two months later resigned.

Arthur was involved in the construction of Francis Crago’s Mills in 1896 on the site of the old railway station. Also in 1896, Council decided to abandon the Nelson name for the short O’Connell street now known as Little Queen Street. There is more likely to be a Nelson family connection in the naming of Nelson Terrace in Edgeware Rd (owned in the late 1880s by then Minister for Works Arthur Bruce Smith, 1851-1937) and in the shops marked ‘Nelson Buildings 1913’ on the corner of King Street South and Darley Streets.

George was still living in Maria Street in 1901 and died in 1908, Arthur died in 1913.

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