Joshua Farr

Builder, Contractor

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Alexandria 1868 1869
Alderman Redfern 1868 1873
Alderman Redfern 1878 1881
  • Alexandria Town Hall in 1943 (Alexandria, 'the Birmingham of Australia': 75 years of progress, 1868-1943, published by Alexandria Municipal Council, 1943).
  • Redfern Council seal (Civic Collection 2006.032.7)

Family background

Joshua Jeremiah Farr was born on 10 June 1832 at Elstree, Hertfordshire, England, the son of William Farr and Mary Coster. He married Jane Stanley (1825-1905) on 25 February 1853 at Hampstead, Camden, England and they had a daughter before they immigrated to Australia. Farr, with his wife and one child, immigrated as Bounty Immigrants to Australia on board the ship ‘Asiatic’ which arrived at Sydney on 26 May 1855. Joshua and Mary had two more daughters in Australia (although other research indicates that they had three sons and five daughters in total). Farr died at Marrickville NSW on 5 June 1902, aged 69 years; he was buried in the Old Church of England section at Rookwood Cemetery. He did not leave a Will. Joshua Farr lived at Short Street, Redfern and George Street, Redfern.

Occupation & interests

Shortly after Farr arrived in Sydney, he found employment with Tooth’s Brewery as a carpenter. He did not stay there long, instead becoming a successful builder and contractor in the city. As a builder, he was familiar with the advent of new building techniques and materials from the 1870s, ushering in the single and two storey terrace, offering an economy of outlay on land and materials. After he retired, Farr undertook the work of valuing buildings for several leading firms of solicitors in Sydney. Joshua Farr was a Freemason and a member of Loyal Excelsior Oddfellows, Marrickville. He also at one time held the position of Secretary of the Redfern Mutual Improvement Association.

Community activity

Farr was a Justice of the Peace (JP). He was a lay representative of the Church of England Synod and Sexton and Clerk of St Paul’s, Redfern. He was also the Honorary Secretary for ‘The Redfern Mutual Improvement Association’ for a number of years.

Local government service

Joshua Farr was an alderman on Alexandria Council 1868-69. He was also elected an alderman on Redfern Council for two terms: 1868-73 and 1878-81; he was first elected alderman for Surry Hills Ward of Redfern council in 1868 and in 1872 he was the Returning Officer for Redfern Council. In 1878 he was elected as an alderman for Belmore Ward of Redfern Council. In 1881 he was elected an alderman on Marrickville Council, and was Mayor of Marrickville Council in 1894.


‘Borough of Redfern – Notices’, New South Wales Government Gazette, 21 February 1868, p. 510,

‘Borough of Alexandria’, Sydney Mail, 10 October 1868, p. 5,

‘Death of Mr J J Farr, JP’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 1902, p. 9,


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