Biographies of the Early Aldermen
Alderman August 1890 – October 1893
James Swinbourne, son to John F. and Ellen Swinbourne, was a bootmaker. He married the sixteen-year old Mary Jane Kemp at Waterloo in 1872 and they produced James Edward, Maud Eleanor and William Ernest over the next decade. Their residential address is not yet known but the bootmaker’s shop was in Cooks River Road at St Peters and was listed from 1874 (if not earlier).
Mayor Charles Lane probably engineered for Swinbourne to come onto the Council to replace Alderman Charles Peirce who was becoming more and more absent. And Swinbourne returned the favour by raising matters relating to Captain Lane and accommodation for the Fire Brigade.
He represented Kingston Ward. He backed the August 1891 proposal to replace the Town Hall and three months later suggested four houses in Australia Street could be be resumed for just £2480 to allow an expanded Town Hall. He spoke up on behalf of Robert Harmon, the Inspector of Nuisances, who faced dismissal in July 1891, and also agreed with Alderman Morgan in March 1893 that the library be closed and its books disposed of.
Newtown’s Telephone Exchange opened in 1888 but there were few subscribers there; the police station had installed a public telephone [in 189?] and the one at the Town Hall were installed in 1893. James Swinbourne’s bootmaking business did not have one and in May 1893 the Telegraph wrote to Council censuring him for using the municipal telephone for bootmaking business. Five months after this rebuke he decided to resign on 31st. October 1893 and his colleagues thanked him for his able and efficient manner. He died in Newtown in 1922, while Mary Jane lived on another sixteen years.