Mary Veronica Neilson

Home Duties

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Waterloo 1945 1948
Mayor Waterloo 1946 1947

Family background

Mary Veronica Neilson was born on 22 August 1895 in Waterloo, NSW, daughter of Moses Wheeler and Mary Gumbley. She married John William Neilson on 11 November 1912 in Redfern, NSW and they had three sons and three daughters. Mary Veronica Neilson died on 28 July 1985, aged 89 years, late of Raglan Street, Waterloo and she was buried in the Roman Catholic Section of Rookwood Cemetery. John William Neilson died on 9 November 1960 at Waterloo, aged 69 years. Mary Veronica Neilson lived at 56 1/2 Raglan Street, Waterloo.

Occupation & interests

Women were conspicuous by their absence from local government. Mary Neilson was the only woman elected to Waterloo Council between 1860 and 1947, and only female Mayor. After her election as mayor, Mary Neilson told the press of her vision for a better Waterloo. Its inadequate housing would be demolished and better living conditions created for its residents. The northern end of Waterloo would be created a residential area and among the new amenities would be a nursery, and health and community centres. Neilson also believed sex education and mothercraft should be included in the public school curriculum.

Community activity

Mary Neilson was a Chairperson of the Board of the Royal South Sydney Hospital.

Local government service

Mary Veronica Neilson was a female alderman on Waterloo Council in 1945-48. She was mayor in 1946-47. Her husband John Neilson was also an alderman and mayor on Waterloo Council (1932-40).


The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 May 1940, p. 11

‘Elected as Mayor’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December 1945 p. 7,

‘Woman Mayor has Modern Views: Evening Advocate Innisfail, 24 December 1945, p. 2,

City of Sydney Archives, 2013/265164


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