And here we are at the last week of the Movember. This week I share stories of 8 Mayors of Brisbane because I wanted to finish the series with all Mayors from years 1859-1903 – the times of Brisbane Town.
George Watson was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1852. Aged 10 years old, he immigrated to Brisbane on the ship Ocean Chief with his father. At age 13 was apprenticed as a plumber to his father. When his father retired in 1880, the business was taken over by George and his brothers Thomas, James and John Douglas. George Watson was an alderman of Brisbane from 1891 to 1896 (East Ward) and was elected mayor on Saturday 6 February 1892. Due to the need for continuing leadership during severe flooding, his term was extended in 1893 (normally a new election for mayor would have occurred in early 1893).
Robert Fraser was born in 1843 in Beauly, Inverness, Scotland. He arrived in Brisbane in 1878 and began work with D. L. Brown and Co. where he worked in the woolen section of their department store. From 1888 he ran his own drapery business for twenty years until his retirement in 1908. Fraserwas an alderman in Brisbane from 1891 to 1906. During this time, he was Mayor of Brisbane from 1894 until 1895. He was also a founder of lawn bowls in Queensland and was a life member of the Booroodabin Bowls Club. Fraser was at one-time president of the Tattersalls Club in Brisbane and was a life member of the Queensland Royal Geographical Society.
Robert Woods Thurlow was born in Suffolk, England in 1855, and came to Queensland in 1867. In 1870 he joined the firm of J. and J. Burns, and in 1878 had risen to the position of manager. In 1884, on the death of Mr. John Burns, he purchased the business, which became R. W. Thurlow and Co. Mr. Thurlow was actively associated with the commercial and business side of the community, he was also prominent in political affairs of the city and in 1896 was made Mayor of Brisbane.
[Sources: The Brisbane Courier 1913]
William Thorne was born about 1840 in Devonshire. He emigrated to Queensland in about 1865 where he was a printer and was associated with Mr T. Pugh, the founder of the Almanac. Later on Mr Thorne purchased rights of the publication. For many years he represented the West Ward and Kangaroo Point in the City Council and also was a Mayor for one term. Mr Thorne was also prominently associated with religious movements in Brisbane. He tragically died in 1915 in Adelaide during the centenary celebrations of the Bible Christian Society (he was a grandson of the founder of the society).
[Sources: The Brisbane Courier 1915]
William Andrew Seal was born in Sydney in 1857, and few years later in 1863 his parents settled in Brisbane. From the age of 14 he was working as a painter and decorator and at the age of 21 he commenced successful business on his own account in Fortitude Valley. In 1895 he lost his first election to Municipal Council, yet 2 years later he defeated the same opponent (Alderman Proe). In 1899 he was elected Mayor of the city of Brisbane.
[Sources: The Brisbane Courier 1904]
James Nicol Robinson was born in Brisbane in about 1868. He was educated at the Normal State School and the local Grammar School. He began his legal career as articled clerk to Sir Charles Power, Justice of the High Court of Australia, and subsequently became a partner of Sir Charles Power. In his early 30s he was elected to the Brisbane City Council and in 1900 at the age of 32 became mayor of the city.
[Sources: Sunday Mail 1929]
Thomas Proe was born in 1852 at Wigan, Lancashire, England. He came to Queensland in 1876 and married Mary Strasburg. Thomas Proe trained as an engineer in England, but in Brisbane he became a publican. He owned the Osborne Hotel and later Royal George Hotel. Thomas Proe was served as an alderman of the Brisbane Municipal Council from 1895 to 1905. He was mayor of the Brisbane Municipal Council in 1901 and again in 1905 as mayor of the Brisbane City Council (Brisbane having become a city in 1903).
Leslie Gordon Corrie was born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1859, the son of James Afleck Corrie of Kirkcudbright and Mary Campbell of Edinburgh. He worked as an architect, first in Hobart and then in Launceston. In 1886, he moved to Brisbane. From 1888 to 1892, he was in partnership with his former employer, Henry Hunter trading as “Hunter and Corrie”. From 1898 to 1905, he was in partnership with G.H.M. Addison as Addison and Corrie. At other times he had a solo practice. He was a founding member of the Queensland Institute of Architects in 1887. Corrie served as an alderman on the Brisbane Municipal Council from 1901 to 1905 and was mayor in 1902 and 1903. He was the last mayor of the Brisbane Municipal Council as Brisbane became a city on 31 March 1903.