Biographies of the Early Aldermen
William Robert Thomas Eggleton.
Alderman in June 1886 – January 1891.
William Robert Thomas Eggleton was born in 1858 as one of the six or ten children of William S. (died 1902) and Phoebe Eggleton, 1828-1916). He was baptised in Glebe though his father lived down on Gowrie’s estate from the 1850s and had been among those who petitioned the Governor in 1862 to form a municipality. There were other members of the family living north of Wilson Street in the late 1860s and at Waverley Street (according to an untraced note at Marrickville Library’s Local Study Collection).
His father operated one of the bus services in the early days and after that worked as a brickmaker and as a publican. His hotels were the ‘Bricklayer’s Arms’ (afterwards called the ‘Cricketer’s Arms’) and the ‘Cottage of Content’ both opposite the Post Office (the son tells an anecdote that the ‘Cottage of Content’ was well patronised by mourners who entered via a rear door from the cemetery). After that the father operated the ‘Prince of Wales’ (on the May Street corner at St .Peters) in the 1860s and the ‘Sandringham Hotel’ with Mr M. H. Hennessy in the 1870s. Mayor William Bailey held election campaign meetings at the ‘Sando’ at this time.
William, the son, married Sarah Tye at age 18 in 1876 and produced Lillian, Ethel, William III, and Arthur over the next decade. He joined the Masonic Lodge Kilwinning, the United Friendly Societies Dispensary and also, in 1876, the Manchester Unity Oddfellows’ Loyal St. John’s Lodge. He later became a Grand Master of this lodge, situated south of the Newtown bridge, which gained over 1500 members by 1911, making it the third largest branch in the world.
The family’s paddock in the Gowrie estate was resumed in 1880s for the school playground and they purchased two acres of the brickfields across from St. Peters Station as well as houses in King Street and land in Newman Lane.
Enmore Ward was finally split in September 1886 with the creation of the Camden Ward, and 25 years later William Robert Thomas Eggleton told the compiler of the Municipal history that he and his father were responsible for it.
Twenty-eight year old William Robert Thomas Eggleton was elected to Camden though the minutes refer to him as Mr Jno’ Eggleton. Alderman Eggleton was involved in the continuing indecision over finding a suitable site for public parkland. He recommended Holmwood or Buckland’s estate just north of St Stephen’s cemetery or (the late Mr.) Donohoe’s Estate near the present rail station; yet in August 1888 when the State Government announced it was considering the late Mr. Donohoe’s property he thought it unsuitable and proposed Buckland’s again or the vacant land near Camdenville School. This Council indecision continued for another 20 years.
The minutes record he was “out of town” in November 1889, and six months later he requested three months leave. He again requested extended leave of absence in July 1890.
The handwriting in the Council’s minutes is obscure but one month later he or a family member tendered to Council as a scavenger/sweeper of King Street South and also as supplier of brick pavement. There was pressure that contractors ‘ensure good faith and due performance of contract’ as Alderman Eggleton complained that Patrick Mackin/Macken’s unsatisfactory performance last year was very lacking and that contractors give bond money to Council. Mr “Jno” Eggleton apologises for street sweeping when the sweeping machine broke down. In April 1894 W. R. J. Eggleton is appointed assistant overseer underneath Council’s Engineer-in-Charge, Andrew J. Liddell.
It is thought that wife Sarah died in 1906 and that he married a Gertrude Taylor in 1910. They lived in Wells Street. He contributed his anecdotes to the Municipal history in 1912 and was on the Commitee which organised the Procession from the Town Hall to the University Oval. Two members of the family are listed on the Newtown War Memorial. He died in 1924.