William Herbert Northam

Company Director

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1956 1959
Alderman City of Sydney 1959 1965

Family background

William Herbert Northam was born in England, son of Kathleen and William Northam. He migrated with his family to Australia in c1910. In 1929 at Chatswood he married Esther B, daughter of Edgar and Annie Herford. Bill Norton died in September 1988.

Occupation & interests

William Northam was a director of several companies and was highly respected in the business community. In 1964 Northam became the first Australian to win an Olympic Gold Medal in Sailing when he sailed Barrenjoey to victory in the 5.5 meter class at the Tokyo Olympics. Lake Northam in Victoria Park near Sydney University is named in his honour.

Community activity

In 1961 Northam was appointed Life Governor of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He was a member of the National Fitness Council of NSW. Northam was declared Father of the Year in August 1965.

Honours & awards

Sir William Northam was made CBE in 1966 and knighted (KB) in 1977 for distinguished services to the community.

Local government service

William Northam was Alderman for City Ward, 1 December 1956 to 4 December 1959 and for Fitzroy Ward, 5 December 1959 to 3 December 1965. He was a member of the Works Committee, 1957-59, and 1962-65, the Health and Recreations Committee, 1957-59 and 1962-65, the Finance Committee, 1960-61 and the City Planning and Improvements Committee, 1960-61.6


R. I. Cashman, ‘Northam, Sir William Herbert (1905–1988)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/northam-sir-william-herbert-14999/text26188, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 6 July 2021.

Sport Hall of Fame website, https://sahof.org.au/hall-of-fame-member/william-northam, 2021, viewed 06 Jul 2021

Australian Sailing Team, https://www.australiansailingteam.com.au/barranjoey-pin/bill-northam-and-barranjoey, 2021, viewed 06 Jul 2021

City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files


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