Alexander McDowell

Saw Doctor And Sawyer

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Glebe 1932 1937
  • Glebe Council logo 1896 (City of Sydney Archives A-00333228)

Family background

Alexander ‘Alec’¬†McDowell was born in 1886, the son of Alexander McDowell and Margaret. In 1912 he married Mary Ann Martin at Sydney. He died at Glebe on 4 March 1957, aged 70 years. Mary McDowell died on 5 August 1981, aged 96 years.

Occupation & interests

The timber industry was a major source of local labour in Glebe throughout the inter-war years with timber mills and large box factories concentrated around Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays. They provided steady employment for McDowell who worked as a sawyer and saw doctor.

Community activity

The Glebe timber strike, from January to October 1929, adversely affected Alec McDowell’s employment. The traditional networks that sustained the industrial militancy was remarkable for its tenacity and duration. Few of the strikers were re-employed in their mills and most faced long periods of unemployment.

Local government service

In 1937 McDowell said he dissociated himself entirely from the action of Mayor Foley directing Council employees to demolish the NSW Trotting Club’s turnstiles and ticket boxes at Harold Park, regarded as a barrier across a public street. ‘You have not honoured your word to the alderman’, he told Mayor Foley, provoking an exchange, with McDowell being asked to leave the chamber.


Hogan, Michael 2004,  Local labor: a history of the Labor Party in Glebe, 1891-2003, Federation Press, Annandale, NSW

Sydney Morning Herald, 4 January 1932, p. 6

Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 193,4 p. 13

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 July 1937, p. 2

Sydney Morning Herald, 5 March 1957, p. 22


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