John Henry Smith


Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Newtown 1880 1882
  • Jubilee souvenir of the municipality of Newtown, 1862-1912 (City of Sydney Archives LIB-00017635)

Family background

John Henry Smith was born in early 1830 as the only son of James Smith, of Chitton, Somersetshire, England. Migrating to Sydney, he became a publican and likely ran a hotel on King Street near White Horse Road by 1866, and later the ‘Somerset Hotel” at Station Street, Newtown, during the 1870s. From about 1879 until his death on 3 January 1884, he ran the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel on Enmore Road. He died aged 53 years and 11 months after a long illness, survived by his wife Caroline and eight children. Caroline died in 1887, aged 56, at the Duke of Edinburgh.

Occupation & interests

John Henry Smith was a publican and appears to have held the license of a hotel on King Street, near White Horse Road, by 1866. He ran the ‘Somerset Hotel’ at the intersection of Crescent and Station Streets by 1874. From around 1879, he ran the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel on Enmore Road until his death in 1884. His sons Fred and Frank continued to run the hotel until the late 1890s.

Community activity

John Henry Smith joined the Masonic Lodge of Newtown Kilwinning, which met at the Newtown Town Hall, in October 1872. In August 1878 he was suspended because he believed the Lodge should affiliate with the new Australian Lodge rather than remain with the Scottish original. He was also a member of Lodge Wentworth No. 25.

Local government service

John Henry Smith was an alderman on Newtown Council in 1880-82. He and James Francis Smith were together on the Lighting Committee and the Bylaws and Library Committee. Both Smiths voted together frequently and also attended one inter-council conference. James nominated John as Mayor in place of Charles Whately in early 1881. John Henry Smith also served on the Water and House Numbering Committees.


Biographical information for this alderman was originally researched by Mark Matheson for the Newtown Project Website. Additional research was carried out by Dr Martina Muller in 2022.

‘Advertising’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 1880, 11,

‘The Coming Elections’, Australian Town and Country Journal, 30 October 1880, p. 11,

‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 January 1884, 20,

‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 1884, 1,


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