William Pawley

Tanner, Currier

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1842 1846

Family background

William Pawley was born in Sydney about 1799 and christened on 21 December 1800. He was the son of John Pawley (d.1825), a tailor born in Middlesex about 1769, and Hannah V Murphy, née von Depthenberg. His mother was born in 1769, in Brussels, Belgium, and appears to have married John Pawley in Sydney on 9 July 1792. William Pawley married Sydney-born Elizabeth Rose (d.1885), daughter of Thomas Dunn and Rose Bean, at St Phillips, Sydney, on 8 January 1822. They had 11 children, not all of whom survived their early years. He died on 4 July 1863, aged 63, and was buried at Devonshire Street, and subsequently relocated to Bunnerong Church of England Cemetery.

Occupation & interests

William Pawley’s parents were both convicts transported for seven years in the Third Fleet in 1791. Hannah or Ann Murphy was tried in Surrey in 1791 and arrived on the Mary Anne on 9 July. John Pawley was tried at Middlesex in 1788 and arrived on the Admiral Barrington on 16 November. They spent time at Norfolk Island and both were emancipated in February 1811. William Pawley was listed in 1822 as a shoemaker and by 1823 was a tanner and leather dresser with convict mechanics assigned to him. In 1844 his business was at 166 Castlereagh Street. In 1851 his sons George and Henry had joined him as tanners and curriers at 80 York Street. They also had a tannery in the middle of residential Bourke Street where William Pawley lost his left hand feeding the bark mill. Pawley bought land in Surry Hills in 1842 and lived at Chesterville, 617 Bourke Street, where he remained till his death. In 1871 his estate between Bourke and Wilshire streets was sub-divided, some of it being bought by Edward Flood.

Local government service

Pawley was a Foundation Councillor for Cook Ward, 1 November 1842 to 8 June 1846.


City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files

Keating, Christopher 1991, Surry Hills: the city’s backyard, Hale & Iremonger

Society of Australian Genealogists: Cemetery transcripts

State Records Office: Col Se Index: convict indexes



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