Biographies of the Early Aldermen

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Mayor Frederick William Holland

Chairman in 1863, Councillor in 1863-1865

He worked as architect and surveyor and had an office in Thomas Mort’s building in Pitt Street in the city. We do not know how large his practice was, but he did survey and draw the 26 allotments on Enmore Road near the station which William Randle sold through Thomas Mort on 4 May 1857, and there is a design for five typically-Victorian terraces by him dated 1876 for JH King of Petersham at Mitchell Library.

He lived at Pine Cottage in Francis Street within the Joshua Frey Josephson’s Enmore estate (cross-ref) and signed both the 1859 and 1862 petitions to the Governor to form a Municipality.

We may assume he was a member of the Church of England as he complained in May 1864 of the ‘disgraceful state’ of the approaches to St Stephen’s Church (this was the original St Stephens 1844-1938 and located in the little square in Stephen Street).

He received only 26 votes in the initial public election on Saturday 14 February 1863 (i.e. tenth out of the twenty-one candidates). But on the Monday night meeting the councillors selected him behind closed doors as their first Chairman (the term ‘mayor’ was not used until the Municipalities Act of 1867).

He was the first to have his proposals minuted. His year in office from February 1863 saw the Council meeting in shops in lieu of council chambers, a burglary and the hiring of staff, a clerk, ten labourers and the Inspector of Nuisances. He acted as conduit for his ‘landlord’ Josephson in July when he offered a strip of his land at Enmore for the purpose of widening the roadway. After stepping down as Chairman in February 1864, the Councillors thanked him for his ‘able and impartial manner he has at all times evinced in initiating the working of the Municipality’.

At the last meeting of the second Council, he suggested that the boundary with Marrickville be ratified and that the polling at the School of Arts building commence at eight o’clock instead of nine as a number of the electors ‘are obliged to be at their business in town by that time’. He received only 33 votes at that election and was thus replaced as Enmore’s representative on Council by Richard Cozens. Holland seems to have nursed a grievance. In October that year he complained about his neighbour Joseph Kingsbury’s property but declined to join his former colleagues and Richard Cozens in inspecting the problem (cross -ref).

He voiced his dislike of Cozens in an advertisement in the Herald of 3rd February 1866 saying that ‘in the present unfortunate crisis in the municipality’ he and 66 other ratepayers ‘consider it very desirable that a change should be made in dispensing with our present representative’.

He married Kate Fitzgerald in 1870. Joshua Josephson sold the land surrounding Pine Cottage in the 1870s and it seemed Holland moved to a house closer to the new St. Stephen’s Church in 1877.

He worked as Council’s valuer in 1877 for £12 shillings and tenpence per year and as its surveyor from March 1878 when Council’s Clerk C.J. Banks gave up that role. His duties were to superintend the formation of all streets and lanes, accompany the Works Committee to inspect Corporate Works when necessary and measure all work performed under contract or otherwise and give certificates for its due performance. The payment was £50 per year but it was an onerous task as almost all new house builders demanded that ‘levels be taken’ so that ‘sewer water’ could not drain onto their property.

He may have been involved in 1878-79 in a dispute with a property owner on Newtown Road which was eleven feet over his alignment and blamed former Mayor Kingsbury for it.

Holland moved to Lane Cove (according to W.J. Freame’s ‘Old Sydney’ newspaper histories no.C22) and his death was announced on 2 February 1880.

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