Biographies of the Early Aldermen

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Daniel Wildman.

Mayor in 1880, Alderman in 1879 – 1881 Auditor in 1875.

He was born in 1837 and married Rebecca, daughter to William and Rachel Quick, in Maitland in 1856. They had Caroline but Rebecca died in 1858. He then married Mary Walsh in Maitland that year, and they had children Samuel and Charles. The family moved to Hordern Street, Newtown in 1860, and over the next fifteen years they produced Mary, Julia, Emily, Fanny, Alfred and Florence.

He was a builder. The 1860s was the heyday of the Temperance movement and their continuing campaign against that “fruitful source of care, misery, drunkenness and immodesty”. The Sons of Temperance commenced in 1864 and gained 4000 members in four years. Their Newtown branch of the Sons of Temperance were known as the Good Samaritan Division and Daniel Wildman was one of their trustees. The local branch of the Daughters of Temperance (Fourth division) was named ‘the Star of Peace’; its motto was Love, Fidelity and Purity and their crest included a star to guide the wandering and tempest-tossed. The Temperants were successful in the ‘local option’ referendums in the 1880s as to whether more hotel licenses should be permitted.

The Good Samaritans asked Daniel Wildman to build their hall in 1868. It was the first of the suburban halls; it was 40 x 100 feet on two levels, four shops downstairs and the hall upstairs. Its designer was a certain Mr Hardaker but its design was straightforward, a rectangular room in which to house the altar stand with its goblets and pitchers of water and undertake the rituals of installation and obligation accompanied by recitations of passwords, rappings of the wand, with the participants robed with special coloured collars, rosettes and tassels. Alderman William Hobbs participated in the hall’s opening ceremony in 1868.

Daniel Wildman stood for election in the Cook/Camperdown municipality in 1873, the same year the Sons and Daughters of Temperance organised a petition of 177 Newtown residents to the Legislative Assembly against the Sunday traffic in intoxicants. He and a Mr. Fisher were elected as auditors to Newtown Council in 1875. In 1876 he joined the Masonic Lodge of Newtown Kilwinning which met in the Town Hall. He was involved in the Mason’s dispute of 1878 as to whether the Lodge should affiliate with the new Australian Lodge or remain with the Scottish original. Daniel Wildman was suspended in August 1878 and the Kilwinning Lodge had to move out.

In November 1878 he paid Council to lay tar paving in front of his new house ‘Mansfield’ on the east side of Station Street. By this time his building premises were located nearby in Enmore Road (between Station and Reiby near Alderman Bedford’s ‘Olive Bank’). He was involved in a special meeting held in August 1877 to consider the Public Works’ plan to widen the railway bridge and was invited to join the deputation to the Minister for Public Works asking him to reconsider the plan which was considered to be “entirely opposed to the views of the ratepayers”.

He was elected to Council for Enmore Ward on 13th. February 1879 and served on the Water and Specification and Finance Committees. In March he participated in the continuing merry-go-round as to a decision whether the omnibus stand should be located in Crescent Street or King Street.

He had served one year and he was nominated and elected as Mayor, a record!

There was a spat with rival Charles Whately in July 1881. He asked, as a matter of privilege, to be allowed to read a letter which appeared in the “Suburban Telegraph” newspaper in reference to a matter which occurred at the last meeting of Council. Whately objected on the grounds that it was out of order to read a newspaper in a Council meeting. There were other disagreements over points of order with the trying Ninian Melville. Daniel Wildman served another two years, until he was defeated by his neighbour across Station Street, Frederick Jamison Gibbes.

His coachbuilding premises were located in the main road by the 1880s. Sons Samuel and Charles also joined the building trade and lived nearby and produced sons of their own. Florence, the youngest daughter, married Ernest Goodsell [relationship to be checked] in 1898 but then married Joseph Bromhead 3 years later. Daniel Wildman died in 1902, wife Mary twelve years later.

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