Michael Joseph Conlon was born on 24 September 1841 at Fairy Meadow, Wollongong, son of Patrick Conlon and Catherine nee Lowry. On 29 June 1865 he married Ellen Therese Alleyn at St Marys Cathedral Sydney. There were nine daughters and four sons of the marriage. He died at ‘Carrara’, Alexandra Road Glebe on 26 November 1913, aged 72 years. Ellen Conlon died 5 March 1902, aged 54 years. He left an estate of 3,063 pounds valued for probate purposes.
Occupation & interests
Educated at St Benedict’s School, he worked with Fowler’s pottery for two years from 1854, and for eight years with Field’s pottery. In 1864 he established a pottery at Redfern with Frederick Baldock, and in 1866 left to begin Conlon & Co, pottery at Broughton Street, Glebe. Between 1878 and 1882 he worked in partnership with John Cotter producing pipes, chimney pots, paving and common bricks. From the 1890s bricks and pipes were the main line of production, but they also made ginger beer bottles and chutney jars. In 1919 Marshmans took over the business.
A champion bowler with Glebe Bowling Club, Conlon was three times NSW lawn bowling champion, and an inter-colonial representative. He was also a prominent amateur actor and singer. He told a banquet held in his honour at Glebe Town Hall in 1891 that he had risen from an employee to an employer, and ‘had never discharged a man in his life’. Conlon was president of Glebe Football Club in 1886.
Local government service
Conlon stood as a Protectionist candidate for the Glebe electorate in 1889, 1891, 1894 and 1895 when he achieved 38.8% of the vote. Addressing electors from the balcony of the Australian Youth Hotel in 1894 he supported ‘extension of tariff on true protectionist principles, encouraging native industries in order to give employment to our own people’. He told electors he wasn’t in favour of payment of members of the legislature,but supported federation of the colonies and a local option bill with compensation to publcans.
Cyclopedia of NSW 1907, McCarron Stewart & Co, Sydney pp. 477-78
Ford, Geoff & National Museum of Australian Pottery 1995, Australian pottery : the first 100 years, Salt Glaze Press, Wodonga, Vic, pp. 69-70
Sydney Morning Herald 26 August 1891 p. 8
Daily Telegraph 29 June 1891 p. 6
Sydney Morning Herald 4 July 1894 p. 5; 8 March 1902 p. 9
Sydney Morning Herald 27 November 1913 p. 10
Freeman’s Journal 4 December 1913 p. 19