Phillip Black

Geologist, Teacher, Tourism Businessman

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 2003 2012

Family background

Phillip Black was born in Sydney. His father was a first generation Australian from Scotland who served with the RAAF during World War 2. His mother descends from a Scottish and Irish family in Victoria.

Occupation & interests

Phillip Black has a Bachelor of Science and a Diploma of Education from the University of NSW, as well as a Diploma in Gemmology from the Gemmological Association of Australia, and a Decorative Arts Diploma from Australian Academy of Decorative Arts. He worked as a geologist, museum curator and secondary school teacher. He was also a Surry Hills tourism businessman, owning and managing the Governors on Fitzroy Bed & Breakfast Guest House.

Phillip worked as a geologist at the Geological and Mining Museum in Sydney, between 1979 and 1991, and became a curator there in 1982. He also worked as a heritage and arts consultant, and was a secondary school teacher in Wollongong.

As a youth, he joined the Boy Scout Association and was a member of the local scout marching band and was cast in ‘Gang Show’ productions. He continued into a scouting leadership role in the 1970s and was a regular contributing editor to the journal ‘Scouting in NSW’. Phillip was a member of the Mineralogical Society of NSW from 1985 and was the editor of the society’s journal until 1992. Phillip has a strong interest in Australian history, Australian theatre and Australian decorative arts, particularly ceramics, glass and heraldry.

Community activity

Phillip Black has had a lifetime of involvement with various boards in advisory capacities. In 1987 he joined the Friends of the First Government House Site as Committee Secretary, a role which he continued until 2003. The Friends successfully lobbied to save the site from development; it’s now the Museum of Sydney. In 1993, Phillip helped establish the South Sydney Heritage Society Inc, and later became the society’s President. As his interest grew from built heritage protection advocacy to open space protection, he served on the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust Community Consultative Committee (1997-2001), the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust (2000-01) and the Centennial Parklands Foundation (mid 2000s). He continues as a Cultural Liaison Volunteer at the City of Sydney, with the Friends of the Sydney Town Hall and with the City of Sydney Sister City Program: Nagoya, Portsmouth and San Francisco.

Phillip has been a member of the UNSW College of Fine Arts Advisory Council, the Willoughby Council and the Concourse Entertainment Centre Advisory Board. He’s also been a Councillor of the Royal Australian Historical Society; a Committee member of the Australian Society Inc.; and a GLBT advocate, particularly for same sex immigration with the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force. He was a member of the Aids Council of NSW (1987-89) and Sydney Water Southern Regional Customer Council (2000-01).

Honours & awards

Phillip Black was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for his long service to the preservation of South Sydney’s heritage, and the South Sydney Council Community Achievement Award in 2002. Earlier awards related to scouting include the Queen’s Scout Award in 1966, and the Baden Powel Award in 1971.

Local government service

Phillip Black was a City of Sydney councillor from March 2004 until September 2012, as part of the Clover Moore Independent Team. He was Deputy Lord Mayor in 2009-10. He served on all of the council’s operational committees, including the Central Sydney Planning Committee. He chaired the Environment and Heritage Committee; the Sydney Town Hall Advisory Group during the building upgrade (2006-09); the Sydney Town Hall Curatorial Committee; and the Harold Park Trams Working Party. He was the Council representative on the Dictionary of Sydney Trust Board and the Sydney Community Foundation Board. He represented the Lord Mayor on the Anzac Memorial Trust; the NSW Centenary of Anzac Commemoratory Committee; the Sydney Festival Board; MV Baragoola Ferry Inter-Council Working Group; and the Australia Day Regatta Advisory Council.

As a City of Sydney Councillor, Phillip was committed to independent politics with the aim of assisting people who live and work in the City of Sydney to achieve their aspirations via the City’s strategic plan Sustainable Sydney 2030. He was an advocate for the City culture, history, veterans’ affairs, arts, GLBT issues and tourism.


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