William Cox

Contractor, Produce Merchant

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Newtown 1889 1901
Alderman Newtown 1905 1910
Mayor Newtown 1897 1897
Alderman Erskineville 1900 1902
  • William Cox, Mayor of Newtown 1897 (Jubilee Souvenir of the Municipality of Newtown, 1862-1912)

Family background

William Cox was born at Camden in c1853, as the son of ex-convict John Cox and Christiana Seckold. Later living and working in the Goulburn area, he moved to Newtown where he married Alice Lipscomb on 28 April 1876. They had at least five children and lived on Maria Street (now Darley Street) in 1883, and later at ‘West Lynne’, on Wells Street, Newtown. Alice died on 14 September 1925. William Cox died in 1929 and was buried at St Thomas’ Church of England Cemetery, Enfield.

Occupation & interests

In his late teens, William Cox moved with his family from Camden to Breadalbane Plains in the Goulburn District, where they engaged in pastoral pursuits. During the construction of the Goulburn to Cootamundra railway line, Cox contracted on the forming and ballasting of the line. After its completion, he moved to Newtown, where he worked as a general contractor for the municipality of Macdonaldtown, while also being a brick merchant.

He and his brother Frederick (Fred) took over the City Produce Company in 1895, by which time they already had businesses in Newtown and Rockdale. Later joined by brother Ken, their ‘Illawarra Produce Store’ also had branches in Sydney, Burwood and Hurstville. The Newtown store was located at King Street. In early 1911, Cox had to declare bankruptcy.

Community activity

On 17 May 1897, William Cox of ‘West Lynne’, Wells Street, Newtown was appointed as a Justice of the Peace (JP).

Local government service

William Cox was an alderman on Newtown Council from 1889 to 1901 and from 1905 to 1910, representing Camden Ward. He was Mayor of Newtown in 1897. He was also an alderman on Erskineville Council in 1900 to 1902, representing South Ward.

There were equal votes for William Cox and Jim Smith in the 1897 mayoral election. Lots were drawn, and William Cox was Newtown Mayor that year. Noteworthy events during his year in office included shop-owner C G Hatte paying for an ornamental fountain at Newtown Bridge, and the suicide of Percy Deacon, who had been charged with embezzlement after six years of service with Newtown Council.


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

‘City Produce Company’, Evening News, 12 July 1895, 7, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109886242

‘Suburbs of Sydney. III. – Newtown’, Australian Town and Country Journal, 30 October 1897, 29, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71279570

‘In Bankruptcy’, Government Gazette of NSW, 22 February 1911, Issue No. 24, 1239, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article227588230

‘Death of Mr. B. K. Cox’, The Propeller (Hurstville), 10 January 1913, 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article234753323

‘Probate Jurisdiction’, Government Gazette of NSW, 25 June 1926, Issue No. 86, 2796, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page13894555

‘Mr. W. Cox’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October 1929, 19, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16595462



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