William Hobbs

Doctor, Baptist Minister & Missionary

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Newtown 1869 1872
  • Jubilee souvenir of the municipality of Newtown, 1862-1912 (City of Sydney Archives LIB-00017635)

Family background

William Hobbs was born on 4 August 1812. He arrived in Sydney in April 1860 with his wife Anna (m. 1859). Both were born in Nova Scotia, although they were described as American in contemporary descriptions. They lived at Wellington Street, Kingston until 1870 when he sold the property to A Hinchcliffe in preparation for a trip to America. William and Anna Hobbs had three children while in Sydney.

Hobbs travelled and published accounts of his missionary trips through the goldfields of Araluen in 1872. In December 1873 the family were on board the steamer MacGregor bound for San Francisco. In September 1874 they were in Los Angeles where he established the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles.  Hobbs died on 9 January 1880 in Los Angeles. His wife died in Los Angeles also.

Occupation & interests

Hobbs arrived in Australia as a Baptist missionary in 1860. He was the first pastor of the Newtown Baptist church which he formed on June 3 1860. He was trained as a medical doctor at the Hygienic Therapeutic College, New York, America, and although not a legally qualified medical practitioner of the Board of NSW, practiced first on Australia Street, Newtown, and then had consulting rooms on Liverpool Street in the city.

Community activity

Hobbs was involved in the formation of the Newtown Free Library, the first public library in NSW formed under the municipal act, in 1869. He introduced the Order of the Sons of Temperance & the associated OST Friendly Society to Australia in 1864.

Local government service

William Hobbs was an alderman on Newtown Council in 1869-72, representing Kingston Ward. The only candidate to fill the vacancy left by Martin Gibbens’ resignation, he was appointed uncontested in March 1869.


Biographical information for this alderman was originally researched by Mark Matheson for the Newtown Project Website.

‘Family Notices’, Empire, 6 October 1860, p. 1 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60499474

‘The Empire’, Empire, 27 May 1864, p. 4 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60580927

‘Borough Councils’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 March 1869, p. 5 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13183567

‘Newtown Free Library’, Empire, 22 June 1869, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60835745

‘Borough Elections’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 February 1870, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13199914

‘Advertising’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July 1870, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13217521

‘Advertising’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 1870, p. 6 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13209794

‘New Temperance Hall at Newtown’, Evening News, 29 June 1871, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129971231

‘A Trip to Hill End and Tambaroora’, Evening News, 10 October 1872, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114734477

‘Royal Mail Notice’, Empire, 20 December 1873, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60982293

The Sons of Temperance: A Cheltenham Friendly Society

Ancestry Message Board, ‘William Hobbs’ 

Genealogy Trails History Group, ‘Our heritage and our hope : the history of First Baptist Church of Los Angeles, California, 1874-1974’


Printer friendly version Persistent URL:


Share this entry on: