William Jarrett was born in 1829 at Chatham, Kent, England, son of William Jarrett and Rebecca. He arrived in Sydney on 6 January 1853 on board the Becjecpore. At Sunderland, County Durham, in 1851 he married Margaret Roberts, who died at Sydney on 5 November 1891, aged 58 years. There were 14 children of the marriage. At Sydney in 1892 he married Lucy A.White. He died at ‘Fairlight’ Mulgoa on 24 April 1901, aged 71 years. Lucy Jarrett died at Marrickville in 1927.
Occupation & interests
A joiner and carpenter in Kent, he obtained a publican’s licence in 1860 for the Tradesman’s Arms in Glebe and remained there to 1870. Jarrett became manager of the Industrial Permanent building Society in 1871, with Glebe aldermen Ambrose Thornley, William Cary, John Seamer and David Elphinstone among its directors. The Excelsior Land Company of which he was also its manager developed suburban property. Jarrett also was engaged in building rows of terraces in Mitchell Street Glebe about 1875 and became manager of Industrial Mutual Fire Insurance. He built a mansion, Venetia, at Glebe Point, where his family lived from 1877 to 1901, as well as Bellevue next door. He left an estate of 22,652 pounds valued for probate purposes.
William Jarrett, in the capacity as manager of the Industrial and Provident Permanent Building Society, gave evidence to a select committee on assisted immigration in 1880. He told the inquiry his Society lent 591,000 pounds for building purposes between 1871 and 1880, and when asked who were his principal borrowers replied ‘Principally among the working classes, or to those who have raised themselves a little abovetheir fellows, and who require houses of their own’. Most advances the society made were on properties within the city or the suburbs encircling it.
Local government service
William Jarrett was an alderman on Glebe Council twice – in 1860-62 and 1872-75. When he was nominated for Bishopthorpe ward at the elections in February 1860, he then proceeded to condemn almost every act of the Glebe Council since its formation, especially the way the assessment had been effected, and the manner in which he alleged councillors had treated a petition from 169 electors on the boundaries of the municipality.
Select Committee on Assisted Immigration V & P NSW Legislative Assembly 1879-80, 5, p. 751
Sydney Morning Herald 8 February 1860 p. 5
Sydney Morning Herald 4 February 1862 p. 1
Sydney Morning Herald 6 February 1872 p. 1
Sydney Morning Herald 8 December 1871 p. 3
Sydney Morning Herald 29 April 1901 p. 5