Biographies of the Early Aldermen

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William Green Hibble.

Alderman 1882-84.

William Hibble was born to Charles and Eliza Hibble. He was a decorator, painter, glazier and cotton merchant. He lived in Watkin Street, three houses from the bottom in 1880 and had a shop on the south side of King Street between O’Connell and St. Stephens Streets from the mid 1870s.

In March 1875 he joined the Masonic Lodge of Newtown Kilwinning, which met in the Town Hall, but was among those suspended in August 1878 because they believed the Lodge should affiliate with the new Australian Lodge rather than remain with the Scottish original.

In 1879 he was chosen to head one of three teams to supplement the Department of Public Works painters working on the Garden Palace Exhibition Building. He painted and decorated three of the courts on the ground floor: New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Newspapers describe the overall blue colour with vermilion stripes and stencilled fleur-de-lis, while Donald Ellsmore is not complimentary.

Newtown Council decided to improve the Town Hall in October 1880; the second of many times. They set the colour scheme but William Hibble tendered for it for £45 along with a design for additional decorations to the interior. The tender was so much lower than the amount voted by Council, that his suggestions were accepted at an additional cost of £50. The Committee reported that the work had been carried out in a very creditable manner.

A Mr. S. [?] Hibble wrote to Council in March 1881 requesting that asphalt be laid on the footpath in front of his premises in King Street. This didn’t actually happen until November 1882 after he got onto Council and they were split 50/50 as to whether asphalting would be laid from Bligh Street to the bridge. He was elected to represent O’Connell ward in February 1882.

He called attention to the dusty state of the Newtown Road at his second meeting; it was a “disgrace to all connected with it and tended greatly to depreciation of property”. He agitated to have a deputation to the Commissioner for Railways asking what the Department intended to do with the roadway when the tramway line was completed, and whether a decision would be made paving it with wood blocking. There was no clear response to this. Henry Copeland, the then Secretary for Public Works, and a neighbour, sent £200 for street watering which the Roads Department had promised some time ago. William Hibble supported calls in March 1883 for a new water cart for watering King Street and later [?] proposed a stand pipe be erected between Missenden Road and Bligh Street to fill the watercarts.

He was still nagging about the delay in asphalting King Street in May and September 1883. The principal cause of delay being that negotiations were being made with the Roads Department about making of the roadway and it was more than likely that the kerbing and guttering in many places would have to be raised or lowered to suit the roadway, so that it would be as well to delay it a little longer. He also asked that gravel be spread at the entrances to all business premises.

We do not know about William Hibble’s personality. We know that Frederick Goodsell refused to have him on the Works Committee and that he did not join any committees in 1883. He moved in October 1883 for a bylaw against loitering and that a £5 fine be imposed on “all persons standing or loitering upon any footpath, street or public place in the Borough of Newtown to the inconvenience of the passers-by, or in anyway intercepting the traffic, shall discontinue to do so or be required by any officer or servants of the Council, or any police officer. The offender shall on conviction pay a penalty of £5”.

In August 1884 he suggested the Government pay for the temporary holding of the police court in the Town Hall over 5 years (in September 1881 solicitor Mr Godfrey was requesting to put a tablet with his name and profession on the Town Hall’s front fence). In February 1885 he ran again but was pipped by another shopkeeper, the highly assertive Richard Bellemey.

He had land in Augustus Street and is thought to have died in 1909.

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