Councillors had to guarantee to repay loan if Council defaulted: times were tough 110 years ago.

50-year-luncheon-colo-shire-1(Programme courtesy Hawkesbury Local Studies Collection, Hawkesbury Central Library, Windsor, NSW.)

Almost sixty years ago, on 9 December 1957, the President of Colo Shire, Councillor Matheson, MBE, Councillors A.V. Watkins, M.A. Duffy, N.A. Powell, L.N. Smith, C.S. Ward, Shire Clerk Howard James, Deputy Shire Clerk R.A. Dasey, Shire Engineer S.F.S. Pollard and Health and Building Inspector W.R. Roach, held an official luncheon in the School of Arts at Wilberforce to celebrate the achievements of Colo Shire over a fifty year period.

Colo Shire was one of many rural areas formed under regulations contained in the Local Government Act passed in NSW in 1905. In mid-1906, Henry Wilson, Edward Bowd, Cyril Tuckerman, John Dunstan and Jonathan Gosper (who died just before Council elections) were appointed to administer a Temporary Council until elections for Councillors could be held on 24 November 1906. It was decided that Council meetings and the headquarters of the Shire would be in Wilberforce.

James Bligh Johnston was appointed returning officer for the election and parish maps were supplied to the police in Wilberforce, North Richmond and St Albans so that a list of electors could be prepared before the election. A room and printing press were rented from Mrs Lockhart, who operated a boarding house in an old inn situated almost opposite where the Council Chambers would later be built in 1910. Councillors elected for each of the three ridings were Arthur Charles Anderson and William Henry Gosper (A Riding, 214 voters), Henry Albert Wilson and Edward Thomas Bowd (B Riding, 586 voters), John Lamrock and James Edward McMahon (C Riding, 228 voters), with John Lamrock as President. Bank accounts were opened with the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Windsor Branch, and the first loan was for 350 pounds with an interest rate of six per cent. At the time, each Councillor had to sign a personal guarantee with the bank to repay the loan if Council defaulted.

members Colo Shire 1906 b.jpg

(Photograph of first Colo Shire Council members courtesy of Hawkesbury Local Studies Collection, Hawkesbury Central Library, Windsor, NSW.)

Cecil Icely was appointed Shire Clerk and Mr A. Adams was appointed Shire Engineer. The engineer’s duties were shared fortnightly with Erina Shire and he was required to cover his own travelling costs, office rent and equipment. The area covered was huge: just over 3,100 square kilometres with eighty per cent of the area considered unrateable land, stretching from north of Putty to Castlereagh and from Mount Bell to Mount Manning, from the junction of Wollemi Creek and the Colo River to the parishes of Wollangambe, Irvine, St Albans, Wallambine and Lockyer, Mt Wilson, the Grose River, down to Yarramundi and the right banks of the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers all the way to Wisemans Ferry Crossing. Although land was transferred to Blue Mountains City Council on more than one occasion and boundaries changed over the years, the area controlled by Colo Shire was still 2,646 square kilometres in 1960.

Colo Shire Council operated for seventy-five years until amalgamation with Windsor Municipal Council in 1981, forming Hawkesbury Shire Council. City status was then granted to Hawkesbury City Council in 1989.

Colo Shire article.jpg

(This article first appeared in Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 23 November 2016, written by Carol Roberts for Colo Shire Family History Group Inc.)

copyrightCarol Roberts, author 2016.

[Another interesting article about the beginnings of Colo Shire Council, titled ‘Colo Shire established 110 years ago’ was recently published by Michelle Nichols, Local Studies Librarian at Hawkesbury Library, in The Hawkesbury Crier (December 2016), the newsletter of Hawkesbury Family History Group. Contact details email
If you interested in finding out (or joining) Colo Shire Family History Group Inc contact email]


‘Obituary – Jonathan Gosper’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 3 November 1906, National Library of Australia Trove,, accessed 13 November 2016.

‘Colo Shire Election’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 1 December 1906, National Library of Australia Trove,, accessed 13 November 2016.

Information about Colo Shire Council from Local Studies Collection – Hawkesbury Library, Windsor, NSW.

Jan Barkley and Michelle Nichols, Hawkesbury 1794-1994: The First 200 Years of the Second Colonisation, Hawkesbury City Council, 1994.

Government Gazette No 148 of 23 December 1960, Colo Shire (as altered).

Programme from Official Luncheon, Colo Shire Council Jubilee Year, 1957, Hawkesbury Library Local Studies Collection.


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