William Powell was born in July 1823 in Banbury in Oxfordshire, England. His mother, Esther Powell née Hughes and gardener father, Thomas Powell, were both from Banbury. Powell apprenticed as a carpenter and moved to London where he married Martha Tilbrook on 2 February 1850 at the Church of St John the Baptist in Hoxton.
Powell, Martha and their son, Edward lived at 19 Eagle Street, London before they set sail for Sydney as bounty immigrants. They arrived aboard the vessel, Kate, on 21 November 1854. Another son, Albert was born while they were in quarantine, however, he died two years later. The couple had another five children: Esther, William, Ralph, George (who died in infancy) and Clara. Their son, William Albert Powell, went on to become an alderman and mayor of Waterloo Council in the 1900s.
The family lived on Botany Road on the Mount Lachlan Estate in Waterloo. Powell died at his home on 31 October 1877, and was buried at Rookwood Cemetery on 2 November.
Occupation & interests
William Powell was a carpenter and joiner in England before moving to Sydney. He was the licensee of the London Joiners’ Arms on Botany Road from 23 September 1857 until 14 September 1858 before becoming an alderman. Powell leased a shop from the merchant and philanthropist, Sir Daniel Cooper, on Botany Road in the early 1860s.
Local government service
William Powell was elected an alderman of the Waterloo Ward, Redfern Council on 14 September 1859. He formed part of the council’s first finance committee. Powell did not stand for election the following year on 14 February 1860. He stood for elections for Waterloo Council in February 1862, however, he did not receive enough votes. He stood for nomination for Waterloo Council again in February 1862 but was not elected an alderman until 3 March 1863. He served until 1876.
A February 1862 notice in The Sydney Morning Herald called him: ‘The man who says he will upset all the work done by the Council if you put him in. Vote for him, and confusion in the Council, profusion in working expenses, and shame to yourselves, after what he did at Redfern’. A ratepayers’ petition was presented during a Council meeting on 6 June 1863. The petition objected to his election as alderman, and prayed ‘that his seat may be declared vacant’.
‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November 1877, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13402458
‘Redfern Municipallty’, Empire, 15 September 1859, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60404677
‘Souvenir of Redfern Muncipal Jubilee 1859-1909’, Redfern Municipal Council, 1909, p. 25
‘Story Of A Council’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 1910, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15116051