Archibald McNeill was born in Ireland in 1839, son of John and Sarah McNeill. On 3 February 1862 he married Jean Balmer at Sydney. There was a son and a daughter of the marriage. He died at Glebe on 22 November 1902, aged 63 years. Jean McNeill died on 27 November 1927, aged 86 years.
Occupation & interests
Sydney was supplied with meat from the government abattoir at Glebe Island. McNeill lived at the end of Sussex Street, Sydney in the 1860s, an early slaughtering locale, and prospered as a butcher in Sydney.
A severe assessment of Glebe Council’s financial position was delivered during McNeill’s first year (1894) as an alderman: ‘The year has been a very severe one, owing to the continued and ever-deepening depression….The bank has been pressing for payment of the overdraft, and creditors of the borough were as clamorous as they could be for the payment of their accounts’.
Local government service
McNeill’s time as an alderman on Glebe Council (1894-98) was a time of unprecedented poverty and hardship for many, revealing a local community in crisis. The City Mission operated a soup kitchen and distributed meals at its Bay Street hall. The ragged school, a symbol of poverty, moved to larger premises in Water Street Glebe in 1894, and the middle class response through Glebe Benevolent Society was to raise funds through its ‘bread and butter’ ball. Glebe Council was confronted with depreciating land values and growing rate arrears. By 1897 Glebe Council had a debt of 39,060 pounds.
Daily Telegraph, 15 October 1898
Sydney Morning Heraldm 13 October 1893, p. 6
Sydney Morning Heraldm 9 March 1894, p. 6
Sydney Morning Heraldm 5 February 1894, p. 1
Sydney Morning Heraldm 24 November 1902, p. 1