Andrew Torning

Decorative Painter, Actor, Fireman

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Waterloo 1876 1881
Alderman Waterloo 1884 1886
Mayor Waterloo 1879 1879

Family background

Andrew Torning was born in London, England on 20 September 1814, son of Andrew Torning and Ann Dayton. He arrived in Sydney in 1842 with his wife and two children. Torning founded the NSW Volunteer Fire Brigade in 1857, however, he and his family left Sydney in 1858 for San Francisco where he took American citizenship and joined the local Fire Brigade. When he returned to Sydney in 1867 he was elected as superintendent of the Australian Volunteer Fire Company No 1. He was living in Elizabeth Street, Waterloo in the 1870s and 1880s and in Manly at the time of his death on 13 April 1900. He was buried in the Independent Old Ground Section of Rookwood Cemetery. He was married to Eliza Crew (1814-87) in 1832 in London, England and there was a son and a daughter.

Occupation & interests

Torning and his wife were actors, and the pair worked at the Victoria Theatre in Pitt Street. Andrew Torning, house decorator, was declared bankrupt in 1890.

Community activity

In 1885 Waterloo Mayor Torning remarked that the police had very easy times. He said some steps should be taken to prevent roughs from congregating at the corners of streets or breaking people’s windows, as is often done. Torning was a member of the council’s Improvement Committee in 1876 and 1884.

Local government service

Andrew Torning was an alderman on Waterloo Council in 1876-81 and 1884-86. He was mayor in 1879.


‘Municipal and shire nominations’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 February 1876, p. 8,

‘Brevities’, Evening News, 28 March 1885, p.4,

Andrew Torning, Corner of George and Hunter Streets, c1849, State Library of NSW, DG XV1A/11

Andrew Torning, founder of Volunteer Fire companies of New South Wales, c1876, photographer unknown, State Library of NSW, P1/1791

‘Torning, Thomas Andrew (1833–1868)’, People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 February 2023.


Printer friendly version Persistent URL:

Share this entry on: