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1887, Balmain Courthouse - Unfit For Publication
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 15 Jun 1882 1


    Yesterday morning a deputation consisting of Mr J Garrard, MLA, the Mayor of Balmain (Mr Hutchinson), and some of the aldermen of the borough, waited upon the Hon Minister for Justice to urge the necessity for the establishment of a Police Court at Balmain. Among the grounds upon which they founded their claim were the following:—That it was unbecoming to bring over prisoners charged with small offences in the public ferry boats to the Water Police Court; that it was not right that the people of Balmain who had to attend the court should be brought into contact with the worst kind of characters; and that the inhabitants of Balmain now number about 16,000 people and that offenders frequently escape in consequence of the difficulty the people have in prosecuting.

    Mr FOSTER, in reply, in formed the deputation that he agreed with very much that they had brought before him, and that as soon as the circumstances would permit he would do his best to procure a Court for Balmain.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 13 Jul 1882 2


    Yesterday morning a deputation, consisting of the Mayor of Balmain (Mr Hutchinson), and Aldermen McDonald, Keniff, and Clubb were introduced to the Postmaster-General by Mr Jacob Garrard, MLA.

    Mr HUTCHINSON pointed out to the Minster that the population of Balmain was very large. At the April census there were over 15,000 persons in the borough, and as the rate of increase was more than maintained, the population now could not be far short of 17,000. The present postoffice was a small and incommodious building, and the locality in which it was situated was far from central. The deputation wished to urge the Government the necessity of purchasing a piece of ground in the Darling-road, a situation which was central for the whole of the borough, and which would also afford accommodation to the inhabtants [sic] of Leichhardt. The spot in question was close to the Town Hall, and was the most elevated piece of land in the borough. He reminded the Minister that the Minister for Justice had quite recently promised a deputation from Balmain that he would establish a Court of Petty Sessions at Balmain as soon as the rooms at the Town Hall were ready.

    Mr SC BROWN, in reply, said he could not give the deputation any positive promise now, as this was a matter that required consideration. He had looked at the papers, and he found that the revenue derived by the Post Office from Balmain was £462, out of which all the officials had to be paid. That was not a large revenue on which to go into an expenditure of £2500 to buy land. He found also that the people of Balmain had a post-office and five letter-carriers, and that there was a branch post-office on the road towards the abattoirs, so that as far as regarded the actual delivery of letters and the number of letter-receivers, the accommodation was ample. It became a question of whether or nit they were entitled to a good building in Balmain, and as to that he could not give any positive answer. His duty was first to see that they had accommodation, and that, from the reports of his offers, they seemed to have got. It was a matter he would have to consider very carefully. He would look at the papers, and he would consult his colleagues, and see what could be done.

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Evening News, Sat 21 Mar 1885 3


    Tenders have been called for the erection of the courthouse and telegraph office at the corner of Darling and Montagu streets, Balmain. When the building is erected it will be one of the most imposing of any either in or around Sydney. It will commend a splendid view of the harbor and the surrounding country. Buildings are being erected in various parts of Balmain at the present time.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 2 Apr 1885 4


TO CONTRACTORS.—Quantities: Balmain Courthouse and Rookwood Reformatory. Bonney, Wentworth.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 4 Jun 1885 5


    A public meeting was held last night in the Balmain Town Hall, to protect against the proposed alterations in the new local courthouse, and post and telegraphic offices, and against the delay on the part of the Government in accepting tenders for their construction. Plans of the building with and without the proposed alterations were laid before the meeting.

    The Mayor Mr J Garrard, MLA, occupied the chair, there being about 45 persons present. A letter was read from Mr A Brown forwarding a cheque for £5 as his share towards making up the difference between the cost of the building without alterations and the Colonial Architect’s estimate of its cost.

    The CHAIRMAN made the following statement, which gives a full history of the antecedents of the proposed building:—The first step taken in this matter was on the 20th of June, 1882, when, on the motion of Alderman McDonald, it was decided in the local council to sent a deputation to the Postmaster-General, asking for the erection of the building in a central site. That deputation waited on the Postmaster-General, who invited the council to suggest suitable sites. On July the 24th Mr WA Hutchinson, his colleague, submitted several sites, and in particular that just outside the Town Hall premises. The Postmaster-General, having reviewed the matter, sent him a letter to the effect that the sites were not suitable, and that the Government intended to take a portion of the Pigeon Ground for the building. He objected to that, as it was the only available recreation ground in the locality, and finally the Government bought the site at the corner of Montague and Darling streets. The sum of £2500 was placed on the Estimates in 1882 for the construction of a post-office, and after persistent interviews the matter was brought to a head. About the middle of last year, [1884], the Colonial Architect submitted the plan, and the Minister of Justice agreed to it as far as his department was concerned. The Postmaster-General, however, thought that the building was too good, and proposed to cut it down. He, however, decided at last to give his consent to the plan now laid before them. It was then sent to the Minister of Works to have proper plans made out and tenders called. The estimates of the Colonial architect was that the building would cost £15,000, and he was only allowed to go to the extent of £13,000. Towards defraying the cost the sum of £9000 was voted, but it was not an unusual course when a work was expected to extend over two or three years to vote only a portion of the money at the commencement. Tenders were received on the 21st April, the lowest being £14,000. Hearing that there was a disposition on the part of the Minister of Works to alter the plans of the building, he asked him to accept one tender, and the Minister replied that as the amount was so much over the amount voted, he would submit the whole matter to the Cabinet. He and his colleague waited on the Minister, who told them that they had nothing to fear, and that it would be virtually passed. What was their astonishment to hear that he intended to alter the whole plan by doing away with the tower, cupola, and corridor. With the exception of some schools and a lock-up, which had done duty for 30 years, no public buildings had been erected in Balmain; whereas it had not been thought too much to expend £16,000 in Newtown for a courthouse [see Newtown Courthouse, 1885] and lock-up alone. He would also point out that while their public offices were to be thus shorn of their appearance and usefulness, the Colonial Architect expected to save only £1100 thereby. They accordingly gave the Colonial Secretary to understand that rather than have a building which would be simply a disfigurement to a good site in an important centre like Balmain, they would allow the whole matter to drop, and trust to another Government with a better knowledge of what was due to the locality.

    Alderman CAMERON moved the first resolution as follows—“That this meeting, having under consideration the proposal of the Government to invite fresh tenders for the courthouse and post and telegraph offices under a new plan, in which the tower, cupola, and corridor is eliminated, beg most respectfully to protest against the proposed alteration, and to urge the immediate acceptance of one of the tenders now in for the original design—first, because any further delay in proceeding with the building seriously inconveniences the persons and officials using the rented building now used as a post-office, and that the Town Hall now used as a courthouse, is urgently needed by the borough councils; second, that the population and importance of Balmain warrants the erection of a court-house and post and telegraph offices of a character worthy of the district, and the Justice and Post Office Departments; third, that the proposed alterations would spoil the appearance of the building, and only effect a saving of a small sum.”

    The Rev R Caldwell seconded the motion, which was supported by Mr Hutchinson, and carried unanimously.

    Alderman BURNS moved, “That a deputation consisting of the members for the district Messrs Garrard and Hutchinson, the aldermen for the borough, and Messrs Gow and Burns, wait upon the Colonial Secretary, to lay before him the foregoing resolution.”

    Mr J Stedman seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.

    Mr CLYMER stated that on looking over the plans he was able to see where a saving of £2000 could be made in connection with the foundation, concrete, and Kean’s cement, without interfering with the appearance of the building.

    A vote of thanks to the chairman then closed the meeting.

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Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, Sat 6 Jun 1885 6


    Through the courtesy of the Colonial-Secretary, Mr Garrard, MLA, was able to place the original plan and the altered plan for the new Courthouse and Post and Telegraph Offices before the public meeting on Wednesday, and we are alike indebted to Mr Garrard for the opportunity of giving a short description of the buildings.

Balmain courthouse cupola. Photo: Peter de Waal
Balmain courthouse cupola. Photo: Peter de Waal

    The original plan shows a very neat structure covering a frontage of 141 feet to Darling-street with an elevation of some 40 ft. at the Montague-street corner of the building is a tower, the height of which, from the roof to the pinnacle is over 70 feet, and from the ground about 107. It is provided with a four-faced clock, and above that there is a look-out, from which, no doubt, one of the most magnificent views in or around Sydney could be obtained. At the other corner of the building (near the Town Hall) is a cupola showing an elevation of some 65 feet from the ground. The cupola covers the vestibule entrance to the Courthouse, and is connected with the Post Office department (under the tower) by means of a corridor. In the amended plan all these features of the design—the tower, the cupola, and corridor—have been taken away. The front elevation has thus a very plain, monotonous appearance, which would remind one of a soldier’s barracks, and the alteration called forth condemnatory remarks from everyone who inspected the plans.

    The accommodation given in the first plan is not curtailed by the alteration, but the general appearance of the building is spoilt. By the ground plan before us it is shown that the structure runs back 67 feet on the Montague-street frontage and 130 feet on the Town Hall side. As stated preciously the Postal Department occupy that portion of the building at the Montague-street corner. The base of the tower is utilised for a telegraph lobby, and next that comes the public entrance to the Money Order Office, facing Darling-street. To the immediate left is the first of the corridor, where the recesses for posting letters and the private boxes will be placed. The rear of the three places mentioned is taken up by the Post and Telegraph Offices a room 39ft 1½in x 82ft, with a verandah, lobby, and battery room at the back of it. Between the post Office and Courthouse the Postmaster’s residence is situated, showing a dining room 13ft 3 in x 16ft 4½in, storeroom, kitchen, pantry, and scullery on the ground floor, and other very ample accommodation on the upper floor.

    The Magistrates’ entrance comes next, which leads into a passage, 7 feet wide, running the whole depth of the building, lighted by means of skylights. Looking into the corridor are the Magistrates’ and CPS’ rooms, which are separated from the Court Room by a five foot passage. The public entrance to the Courthouse is at the extreme west of the Darling-street frontage. The 7ft corridor running along the front of the building terminating in vestibule 16 x 20ft, at rear of which is a hall for the public 20 x 40ft. From this hall there are doors heading to the passage cutting off the CPS’ room from the Court, and also into the the [sic] Court room. At the end of the hall there is a lobby 20 x 16 with a staircase in it leading to the gallery in the Courthouse. The apartment where clients will be brought to have justice meted out to them and criminals will tremble in the dock is 33 x 45 feet the height being 27ft 6in from floor to ceiling and 10ft 4in under the gallery. It is provided with every necessary accommodation, even to a gallery for the public. At the read of the Court room is another passage, which completes the circuit, and on the opposite side of it are rooms for magistrates, police, lawyers, and witnesses. Still further back is the lock-up, which is connected with the main building by means of a covered way. It has four cells, each 9 x 8 feet, and a yard at rear. To the east of the lock-up are some seven closets and a urinal. On the extreme west of the building there are also closets and a urinal, but as this may encroach upon the hospital, no doubt influence will be brought to bear to have the western ones removed.

    Along the top of the front elevation some very neat balustrading is fixed, and likewise on the top of the corridor. This tends to give the building a finished appearance, and if the original design is carried out general satisfaction will be expressed, but if the pruned plan is made use of the memory of the Stuart Ministry will always cause a sneer from Balmainites.


    A public meeting was convened by the Mayor at the Town Hall on Wednesday last in consequence of a requisition presented to him, to protest against the action of the Government in regard to the proposed new Public Offices for Balmain. The meeting was attended by a large number of influential gentlemen.

    The Mayor, who presided, read letters of apology from Alderman Clubb and Buchanan, and also from Mr Alex Bowen, who cordially supported the proposed indignation meeting and suggested that if the Government would not grant sufficient funds for the building required that the inhabitants of Balmain should make up the amount by contributions, at the same time enclosing his cheque for £5.

    The Mayor, (Mr Jacob Garrard, MLA) said that in spite of the many counter-attractions which were going on that evening, he was glad to see the meeting so largely attended. He would not take up their time any longer than was necessary to explain the present situation. He explained the origin of the proposal to have a Post Office built in Balmain and said they might not all be aware of the immense difficulties with which he and Mr Hutchinson had had to cope during the past four years. They all knew how difficult it was to deal with Government Departments, but here they had three to deal with—the Postmaster-General, the Minister of Justice, and the Colonial Secretary. After infinite trouble they succeeded in getting their joint approval to the plan now on the table. The Colonial Architect’s estimate for the work was £15,000, and the lowest tender put in was £14,000. They were then told that as the lowest tender was so much in excess of the last grant (£9000) the matter would have to be brought before a Cabinet Meeting. Both he and Mr Hutchinson had waited on the Colonial Secretary to urge upon him the acceptance of one of the tenders, but they were told that another plan was in course of preparation, in which several important features included included [sic] in the first plan would be omitted notably the tower and the cupola. They again called on the Colonial Secretary and gave him to understand that rather than put up with a public building which would be a disgrace to such a noble site, they would drop the matter altogether and wait until some other Government with more liberal views was in power.

Balmain courthouse–post office corridor. Photo: Peter de Waal
Balmain courthouse–post office corridor.
Photo: Peter de Waal

    Alderman Cameron proposed the first resolution which was to the following effect: “That this meeting having under consideration the proposal of the Government to invite fresh tenders for the Court House and Post and Telegraph Offices under a new plan, in which the tower, cupola and corridor is eliminated, beg most respectfully to protest against the proposed alteration and to urge the immediate acceptance of one of the tenders now in for the original design. 1st Because any further delay in proceeding with the building seriously inconveniences the public and officials using the rented building now used as a Post Office, and that the Town Hall now used as a Court House is urgently needed by the Borough Council 2nd That the population and importance of Balmain warrants the erection of a Court House and Post and Telegraph Offices of a character worthy of the district and the Justice and Post Office Departments. 3rd That the proposed alterations would spoil the appearance of the building and only effect the saving of a small sum.” No one felt more keenly than he the continued insults to which they had been subjected in this matter, and he protested in the strongest way against the treatment they had received. The Borough Council had most generously lent the Town Hall for Government purposes. As a return for this, it had been disfigured with a felon’s dock and other obstructions; the Mayor’s room had been monopolised for the use of the Clerk of Petty Sessions and now they wanted to palm off on Balmain a Public Building in every sense unworthy of it.

    The Rev R Caldwell seconded the resolution. He took a deep interest in everything which concerned the welfare of the Borough, and was more than surprised at the treatment they had received at the hands of the Government. At any rate hr felt sure that all men could do, their representatives had done for them. He fancied they were too straightforward and honest to get on with the men in power. If they were contented with sneaking down a back alley instead of going straight through the front door they might manage to get what they wanted. At any-rate it was clear to him that sums quite as large as the amount about which so much fuss was being made, were continually being recklessly squandered in various parts of the colony.

    Mr WA Hutchinson, MLA, supported the resolution. He thought a few months ago that their difficulties were at an end, but now it seemed they were going to commence again. With great trouble they succeeded in getting a splendid site for the proposed new Public Buildings, and should they allow it to be disfigured by an edifice which would be an absolute discredit to the Borough? No, rather let them do without it altogether. He suggested that the matter should be represented in the strongest terms to the Colonial Secretary.

    Alderman Burns proposed the second resolution “That Messrs Jacob Garrard and WA Hutchinson MLAs, the Aldermen of the Borough and Messrs Gow and Bowen wait upon the Colonial Secretary with the foregoing resolution.” He considered that the people of Balmain had been very meanly treated by the Government and now it was time they asserted themselves.

    Mr Steadman seconded the resolution which was carried unanimously.

    Mr Clymer made some remarks on the large amount to be expended in foundations which might be saved in place of disfiguring the building.

    Mr Gow proposed a vote of thanks to the Mayor, which was received with applause. The meeting then terminated.

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Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, Sat 13 Jun 1885 7


    A deputation consisting of the representatives of Balmain, several aldermen of the borough and gentlemen interested in the movement waited on the Colonial Secretary, Sir Alexander Stuart, yesterday morning, to protest against the proposed alterations in the plans of the new public buildings for Balmain. There were present, the Mayor, Mr Jacob Garrard, MLA, Mr WH Hutchinson, MLA, Aldermen Cameron, Clubb, Briggs, Burns, and McDonald and Mr Bowen.

    The Mayor having introduced the deputation and congratulated the Colonial Secretary on his recent honour, read the resolutions passed at a previous meeting of the ratepayers of Balmain. He then called on Alderman Cameron to speak on the question.

    Alderman Cameron regretted that the natter had not been placed in abler hands. The deputation had little to say; they merely wished to ask that the original plans for the new public buildings might be carried out in their entirety. Balmain was the most important place outside of Sydney. The population was a large and rapidly increasing one, and he considered that they had claims on the Government which other municipalities, whose requirements had already been complied with, did not possess. He would instance Goulbourn, [sic] (hear, hear), where he understood, public buildings were in course of erection which would cost something like £24,000. He asked the Colonial Secretary to give the matter his immediate and favourable attention.

    Alderman Macdonald said that should the amended plans be adopted, he felt sure that universal dissatisfaction would be felt throughout the municipality. The public buildings which had been erected in Balmain were altogether unworthy of such an important Borough. He would instance more particularly the public schools, the last of which, erected in the Borough, was a mere weatherboard structure.

    Mr WA Hutchinson, MLA, said he would take up little of the Colonial Secretary’s valuable time. He desired to pint out that the expenditure to be incurred by the adoption of the original plan was not an excessive one. He might compare similar public buildings elsewhere, and he felt sure that if Sir Alexander Stuart would only take the trouble to examine the new plan he would see that it was more suited for a barn or a barracks than a public building for a large and important municipality. Very little Government money had ever been spent in Balmain, and he thought that this time their request as a reasonable one.

    Sir Alexander Stuart sais that he was certainly desirous of meeting the wishes of the people of Balmain by having the original plan adopted. The carrying out of that plan, involving as it did a greater outlay than the amount granted, would necessarily entail further delay, probably a petition to Parliament, &c; and the Government, being desirous of going on with the matter with as little delay as possible, had authorised the preparation of an amended plan. In his opinion the second plan was far preferable to the first, which had too much pretension about it. Moreover, he could scarcely credit the fact that there would only be a difference of £1,200 in the outlay. Other tenders had been called for, and he thought that if that difference only, was still found to exist and the matter would be satisfactorily arranged.

    The Mayor, on behalf of the deputation, thanked the Colonial Secretary for the reception accorded them. They relied entirely upon his courtesy and sense of fairness, and with confidence left the matter in his hands.

    The deputation then withdrew.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 13 Jun 1885 8


    A deputation, consisting of the Mayor (Mr J Garrard, MLA). Aldermen, and other residents of Balmain, waited upon the Colonial Secretary yesterday to urge that there should be no further delay in proceeding with the erection of a courthouse, post and telegraph offices at Balmain, but that they should be erected in accordance with the design first chosen by the Government. The deputation was accompanied by Mr Hutchinson, MLA. The objects of the deputation were set forth in a petition which was presented to the Premier. It was stated that since adopting the original design the Government had caused to be prepared fresh plans and specifications, the feature of which was that the tower, cupola, and corridor provided for originally had been omitted. It was pointed out that the acceptance of a tender in accordance with the new plan could not result in a saving of more than about £1100, and that the abandonment of that portion of the plans providing for tower, &c, would cause what was a good design to be spoilt. It was also urged that any further delay in proceeding with the building would seriously inconvenience the public and officials using the rented building now occupied as a port-office, and that the town-hall now completed as a courthouse was urgently needed by the borough council.

Balmain post office clock tower. Photo: Peter de Waal
Balmain post office clock tower.
Photo: Peter de Waal

    SIR ALEXANDER STUART said he had been very desirous of seeing that building carried out, and when the Government found that the cost of the building, as originally planned, greatly exceeded the sum of money sanctioned for its erection by Parliament, they, in order to prevent any further delay, determined to call for another plan that would bring the cost of the building nearer the amount that had been appropriated for its erection. A new plan had accordingly been prepared. The two plans, he understood, provided for giving precisely the same accommodation, the only difference being merely one regarding the external aspect of the proposed structure. Well, that involved merely a matter of taste. Of the two plans he certainly much preferred the second. The first gave the building an air of pretension, without being sufficiently grand to be imposing. The tower was small, and would be, he thought, look puny when completed. Therefore, if he were one of themselves, his vote would be with the second design, more especially as it could be proceeded with at once, and would not necessitate delay whilst the sanction of Parliament to increased expenditure was being obtained. However, the new plan would apparently only cost £1100 less than the other. Well, he did not know that the Government would be against sanctioning the expenditure of £1100 more if the carrying out of the first plan really would give more pleasure to the people of Balmain. (Hear, hear). He could not understand how the difference was only £1100; it looked to him as if it would be very much greater. Therefore, before finally deciding upon either the one or the other plan, the Minister for Works intended to call for fresh tenders for the new design, and they would then be able to see what actual difference was. If it proved to be only £1100, he thought that difficulty would in all probability be got over. The matter would have all the consideration they could give it, and as soon as they knew precisely what the difference was they would decide. He thought that then the residents of Balmain would give the Government credit for doing their best to meet their wishes. He would not put his poor artistic taste against the united voice of the people of that suburb.

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Evening News, Sat 12 Dec 1885 9


    The ceremony of laying the foundation-stone of the Balmain courthouse and post and telegraph offices, was performed by Mr J Garrard, MLA, the Mayor of the borough, on Friday afternoon. The new building will cost £15,000, and will be of brick and stone. The building, the front of which faces Darling-street, will have a tower 110ft high. Mr George Langley is the contractor. Mr Garrard said that the site was purchased for the purpose of five years ago, and he had since that time urged upon the Government the necessity for better accommodation, which they were now to have. Speeches were made by other gentlemen who were present.

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Evening News, Sat 23 Jul 1887 10


    Balmain, in a very short time, will be able to boast of some of the most magnificent public buildings yet erected in the suburbs of Sydney. The buildings consist of the post and telegraph offices, courthouse, and police station combined. The courthouse has been opened for business for several weeks, and without doubt it is furnished as well as any in the colony. Somebody has bungled, however, with regard to the arrangement of the furniture. The box provided for the use of reporters, besides being too small, has been placed on one side of the room, and immediately behind the witness-box. By this the reporters have great difficulty in hearing what is said, especially on “field” days, when the court is well filled. This defect could easily be remedied by transferring the reporters’ box to the opposite side to that in which it is at present located. With regard to the police station, the inconvenience is still more marked. The charge-room and office are at rear of the main building; and there is no public entrance to it except by a dirty, unformed lane off Montague-street. The accommodation for prisoners is very meagre, the four cells being only 8ft square each, and the airing or exercise yard only average a width of about 6fy, with a length of 24ft.

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Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, Sat 20 Aug 1887 11

His Excellency the Governor
To-Day, Saturday, August 20, 1887
Programme of Demonstration.

His EXCELLENCY, with Lady CARRINGTON, to land at the Darling-street Wharf at 3 pm, and to be received by the Mayor (Alderman WM Burns, JP) Messrs Garrard, Hawthorne, and FJ Smith, members of the borough; with the Hon Treasurer (Mr SN Hogg) and Mr T Simpson, the Hon Secretary, as representatives of the Citizens’ Demonstration Committee.

    It is expected that the PREMIER (Sir Henry Parkes) with several other members of the Ministry, will also be present, and assist in the demonstration.

    The following will be the Order of procession, &c., which will proceed direct from near the wharf, along Darling-street, to the Public Buildings:—

Volunteer Artillery Band, under Bandmaster HutchisonElder Boys from Public Schools (about 300), under command of Captain Mulholland
Carriage with Members of Reception Committee
Scottish Volunteers, preceded by Band.
His Excellency the Governor, Lady Carrington and suite, with Household Escort
The Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, KCMG, and other Ministers
Members of Parliament and Representatives From other Municipalities
Fire Brigade with Fire Engine to be named by Lady Carrington.
Fire Brigade with second Engine.
Fire Brigade with Hose Reel.
    THE CARRINGTON BAND, who have tendered their services.
Amalgamated Society of Engineers.
Stonemason’s [sic] Society.
Independent Order of Oddfellows.
Sons of Temperance
Shipwrights’ Union with Band.
Protestant Alliance.
Ancient Order of Forresters.
Royal Forresters.
Free Gardeners.


    The Societies will fall in and form a line two deep from the Darling-street wharf, facing northerly, not later than 2.30 pm. The Rechabites being nearest the wharf, the other societies forming on their left in their respective order. Each Society as soon as the Governor passes will form fours left ready to move off when so ordered. Mr WB Simpson will act as marshall, and have full control of the processional arrangements by resolution of committee.

    All carriages, excepting his Excellency’s and the reception committee’s will take up in Nicholson-street, and on arrival at Rowntree-street, all carriages with the excepting of his Excellency’s will turn into that street and set down. The fire-engines to draw into Montague-street, except the one to be named by Lady Carrington being unhorsed and drawn into position by the members of the Fire Brigade as directed.

    His Excellency on arrival at the buildings will be received by a guard of honor, provided by the local batteries of Reserve Artillery, under the command of Captain Phillips.

    The children of the five local Public Schools and school held at St Thomas’s (excepting the infants)—about 3000—will sing the National Anthem, under the baton of Mr Alexander Bowen. The Band of the NT Ship, Vernon, will accompany the singing.

    His Excellency will then pass through the buildings, and upon ascending the dais erected in front, will be presented by the Mayor with an address from the citizens, prepared by the demonstration committee. The ceremony of declaring the buildings open will be followed by Lady Carrington, at the request of the local fire brigade, naming their new engine. After refreshments the Cottage Hospital will be visited, and his Excellency will return from thence to Sydney, via Darling-street and Weston-road.

    The school children will be regaled with buns (which are being supplied by Mr WE Dance, baker, Darling-street, at his own cost); oranges and sweetmeats from the funds. Subscribers to the demonstration fund will receive tickets of admission to the reserved space set apart for them at the buildings from the hon treasurer, Mr SN Hogg, at the Bank of NSW, Darling-street East, who will also receive any further subscription, of large or small amounts, to assist in defraying the expense. Any balance remaining will be paid over to the funds of the Cottage Hospital.

    By order of the Demonstration Committee.

Thomas Simpson,
Hon Sec

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 22 Aug 1887 12


    The new post and telegraph offices and law courts at Balmain were opened on Saturday afternoon by his Excellency the Governor amid great rejoicing by the inhabitants. A citizen’s demonstration committee had the matter in hand, and carried out all the arrangements in a right worthy manner. His Excellency and Lady Carrington proceeded to Balmain by water in the Governor’s launch, which arrived at the Darling-street wharf punctually at the appointed time, 3 o’clock. The Mayor of Balmain, (Mr WM Burns, JP) and a number of representative gentlemen were on the staging. Amongst others there were Sir Henry Parkes, Mr Inglis (Minister for Education), Mr Abigail (Minister for Mines), Mr Clarke (Minister for Justice), Mr Roberts (Postmaster-General), the three members of the district (Messrs Garrard, Hawthorne, and Smith). Mr Frank Farnell, MLA, and most of the members of the committee. This committee included, other than many of the gentlemen already mentioned, Aldermen Burns, Buchanan, Punch, Clymer, McGuire, Milne, Easton, McDonald and Clubb, Dr Carruthers, and Messrs Melville (postmaster), Ostermeyer, Whatham, WA Hutchinson, SN Hogg (treasurer), and T Simpson (secretary). The gentlemen taking a prominent part in the proceedings were mostly decorated by a ruby-coloured rosette, worn on the coat. Over the wharf was a arch, covered with evergreens, and on a scroll were the words “Welcome” in blue and white letters. The vice-regal party, on arrival, were formally received by the Mayor and welcomed by the Ministers and members of Parliament present. The Mayoress (Mrs Burns) and the Misses Parkes were also present. Loud cheers were given for the Governor and Lady Carrington as they were conducted to their carriage.

Balmain post office, left, and courthouse. Opened 20 Aug 1887. Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000122.jpg
Balmain post office, left, and courthouse. Opened 20 Aug 1887.
Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000122.jpg

    Arriving in Darling-street, it was to be observed that not only was the route to the new buildings profusely decorated, but that a monster procession had been formed with a view of doing honour to the occasion. Banners, flags, and bunting were to be seen in all directions, and scrolls bearing the words “Welcome,” with artistic devices, were met with at intervals. Thousands of people assembled. There was waving of hats and handkerchiefs, a general bustle and getting into order, and, as the bands present struck up lively airs, all moved steadily forward. It was a work of time for the uninitiated to grasp the full details of the procession. Most prominent were the elder boys from the Public schools—all particularly neat and tidy and all proud of their best clothes, which had been donned for the occasion. There were about 300 of them—all told; they were under the command of Captain Mulholland, and were preceded by the Volunteer Artillery Band, under Bandmaster Hutchinson. There were numerous carriages containing the members of the reception committee, the Scottish Volunteers were preceded by their band; but all eyes were centred upon the carriage of his Excellency the Governor and Lady Carrington; and an escort of the Sydney Lancers added the necessary “pomp and circumstance” to the occasion. Vehicles carrying the Premier and the other Ministers, members of Parliament and representatives from other municipalities, were in close attendance. The local Fire Brigade, in full costume, were accompanied by their engines, hose, and reels, and band. Representatives of various societies decorated with regalia and bringing with them their banners, badges, and insignia of office, had quite an imposing appearance. The representatives of the Druids, in their carriage, were the admiration of the old and the wonder of the young; and, with their long flowing beards and white garments, looked centuries older than is the colony itself. Amongst others were the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, the Stonemason’s [sic] Society, the Independent Order of Oddfellows, the Sons of Temperance, the Shipwrights’ Union, with the band of the Protestant Alliance, the Ancient Order of Foresters, the Royal Foresters, the Free Gardeners, and the Rechabites. There was a couple of miles at least to be traversed, and the animation increased as the procession moved onwards. As the rising ground was come to those in front could witness a magnificent sight. Not only were strings of flags stretched in triumph from house to house across the street, but all windows and every available space was taken advantage of by eager sightseers. The shop verandahs in almost every instance were utilised. This seemed a specially favoured place with the ladies; and whilst eager eyes were directed downwards, longing glances were also sent upwards, and hats were raised, and hands waved in token of recognition to friends or acquaintances. When the junction of Montague and Rountree streets was reached, the Balmain Volunteers Artillery, under the command of Captain Phillips, formed a guard of honour, and presented arms, whilst the band played the National Anthem. All the carriages, with the exception of his Excellency’s, turned into Rountree-street. The school children of the five local Public schools and St Thomas’s, to the number of about 3000, were collected in a large open space here, and under the leadership of Mr Bowen, sang the National Anthem. The singing was accompanied by the band from the Vernon. The vice-regal and Ministerial party were accommodated upon a raised platform, prettily decorated, whilst a “carpeted pathway” had been thoughtfully laid down to the public buildings which were just opposite. The scene here was a grand and imposing one; and, at the conclusion of the singing, loud and enthusiastic cheers were given, being repeated again and again. The school children were afterwards regaled with buns (kindly given by Mr WE Dance), and also with oranges and sweetmeats. The marshals of the ceremony were Messrs Young and Simpson, who carried out their work enthusiastically and well.

    The new buildings presented a good appearance. Outside there was a large arch covered with evergreens. A dais was erected under the main verandah for the accommodation of the Governor and Lady Carrington, and the Ministers and members of the reception committee. This faced the crowd outside, which must have numbered 6000 or 7000 persons. The Governor and party made a rather hurried inspection of the premises, and expressed satisfaction with what they saw.

    The building was erected from plans prepared by Mr Barnet (Colonial Architect), at a cost of about £17,000. It was commenced in June 1885, the contractor being Mr G Langley, of Balmain, who has completed the work four months before the contract time. The frontage to Darling-street is about 220ft with a depth of 100ft. The work is of brick, the front being of stucco, and the place is plastered throughout. In the first instance, a post and telegraph office is provided for, with postmaster’s living quarters; then there is a courthouse, with magistrates’ rooms; and lastly, there is certain prison accommodation. The post and telegraph office consists of post, telegraph, money order, and savings bank rooms, with an arrangement for private letter boxes. The post and telegraph office is a very spacious room (being 39ft by 32ft). It has a large circular counter for the public accommodation, and is fitted with operating tables, batteries, and telegraph lobbies. There is also a battery store at the back. The postmaster’s dwelling-house contains 10 rooms and the usual offices. The courthouse consists of a large summons court and a smaller court. The first one is 45ft by 33ft, and has a spacious gallery for the convenience of attendants, and has all necessary fittings. The smaller court is 30ft by 20ft, and there are three rooms, either for office or retiring rooms, for the convenience of the magistrates. The prison accommodation consists of four cells and a prison yard, the cells being built to accommodate five prisoners each. But the glory of the building is the clock tower by which it is surmounted. This stands 112ft high from the ground; it has a lookout from the top—from which a fine view of the neighbouring country can be obtained—and is ornamented with cement enrichments. In the tower is a clock, having a dial 7ft in diameter, supplied by Mr [Angelo] Tornaghi, 13 of Sydney, and the face is illuminated by night.

    Returning to the dais, which was speedily rather inconveniently crowded, the Mayor presented Lord and Lady Carrington with an address from the citizens, and ran as follows:—“To his Excellency the Right Hon Charles Baron Carrington and Lady Carrington,—On this occasion of rejoicing the residents of Balmain, in according your Excellency and Lady Carrington a hearty welcome, desire also to take the opportunity of expressing their grateful acknowledgements of the deep interest taken by yourself and Lady Carrington in all that appertains to the progress and welfare of the colony generally, and trust that the public buildings which you are respectfully asked to declare open to-day will serve to mark in your memory another step in the material development of our national greatness.” The address was signed on behalf of the residents of Balmain by the Mayor, the three local members of Parliament, and by the secretary and the treasurer of the demonstration committee.

    HIS EXCELLENCY replied: Mr Mayor, Aldermen, and residents of Balmain,—I desire to convey to you, on behalf of Lady Carrington and myself, our most grateful thanks for the kind and cordial manner in which you have received us, and for the address of welcome you have been pleased to afford us. In accepting your cordial invitation to be present here to-day, I need not assure you of the pleasure and interest it gives Lady Carrington and myself to take part in a ceremony that is calculated to prove of such benefit to this borough (which forms so important a part of the metropolitan district), as well as the community at large. (Cheers.) Mr Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, in Lady Carrington’s name, as well as my own, I return you our most respectful and most grateful thanks. And it is now my duty to declare this fine building to have been duly opened.

    The announcement was followed by loud and prolonged applause. During the enthusiasm preparations were made for a smaller, but pleasing ceremony. This was the christening of a new fire-engine, recently purchased by the Balmain Volunteer Brigade, which consists of 36 working and an unlimited number of honorary members, the body having been established since 1875. The new engine was imported from Messrs Shand, Mason, and Co, of London. It contains all the latest improvements and will deliver 150 gallons of water a minute. It cost £250. Captain A Aldersley, of the brigade, having been introduced, Lady Carrington broke a bottle of champagne over one of the wheels of the engine, at the same time declaring its name to be “Fire King.” Loud applause followed. At the termination there were cries for the Premier.

    SIR HENRY PARKES, stepping forward, said that it afforded him very great pleasure to be present that day. He was glad that the building had been declared open by the Governor. It was always pleasant to see the people of Sydney assembled to discharge a public duty. They always acted up to a proper sense of the occasion, and as a rule they did the right thing, and no more. To-day they had been favoured with fair weather. This was a happy augury. He hoped it was a promise that with the opening of these noble buildings Balmain would take a new lease of prosperity. All knew the valuable character of the labours of the mechanics and working people of that great borough, and no one could wish them more steady progress or more solid happiness than he did. He rejoiced that they were assembled that day under such favourable circumstances, and trusted that when they met again the circumstances would not be less favourable. He must say a word about the fire-engine, which had been so admirably christened by Lady Carrington. (Cheers.) There was no mechanic amongst them who could have performed that ceremony in a more natural manner than her Ladyship. (Applause, and a voice, “God bless her.”) So said all of them. (Hear, hear.) And he had no doubt that the “Fire King” would give a good account of itself whenever any occasion unhappily arose for its services. They should recognise the exertions of those men who were enrolled as a brigade to protect the lives and property of their fellow-citizens. He could only add, in conclusion, that he congratulated the citizens generally upon the ceremonies of the day. (Applause.)

Balmain post office (foreground) and court- house, opened 1887. Photo ID: SRNSW 4481_a026_000515.jpg
Balmain post office (foreground) and court-house,
opened 1887.
Photo ID: SRNSW 4481_a026_000515.jpg

    MR ROBERTS (Postmaster-General) said that having in view the rapid improvements that had taken place in Balmain during the last few years, it was not surprising that the inhabitants should be called upon that day to celebrate the opening of the handsome premises which had been erected by the Government for the purpose of supplying them with more convenient and more extended postal and telegraph facilities. Upon such a day as this, he was sure they would bear with him whilst he quoted a few figures, which would show the growth of Balmain so far as the statistics of his department enabled him to illustrate it. The Balmain Post Office was established on the 1st July, 1853; money order office, 1st July, 1866; savings bank, 1st October, 1871; telegraph office, 1st September, 1873. A post office was opened at West Balmain on 11th October, 1880. The following was a contrast of the years 1876 and 1886. The number of letters posted in the former year was 40,700; last year the numbers was 394,800. The number of telegrams transmitted was 1,495, contrasted with 6,540. The money orders issued in 1876 numbered 346, amount £1,105; last year they numbered 1805, amount £5,894. The money orders paid in former year 584, amount £2,305; last year 2018, amount £6,459. The savings bank deposits in 1876 were 848, amount £3,777; last year 3295, amount £11,583. Saving bank withdrawals in former year 261, amount £3,010; in 1886 there were 1417, amount £12,993. The number of persons employed in 1876 was 8; the number last year was 15. The revenue for 1876 was—Postal £306; telegraph, £89; money order, £18, being a total of £413. Last year—Postal, £899; telegraph, £289; money order, £111, being a total of £1,299. Whilst dealing with statistics, he might also be permitted to quote some more figures, showing the progress of the departments under his control from 1876 to 1886:—

    First, the Post Office Department.—The number of post-offices in the former year was 782; in the latter, 1157. The mail contracts in 1876 were 436; last year they were 755. The extent of postal lines in miles (including railways) in 1876 was 18,418; in 1886 it was 27,094. The letters posted in 1876 were 13,521,200; in 1886 they were 39,891,800. The packets posted in 1876 were 336,600; in 1886 they were 4,531,200. The newspapers posted in 1876 were 6,322,200; in 1886 there were 27,517,900. The revenue in 1876 was £126,640; in 1886 it was £330,591. The expenditure in 1876 was £206,901; in 1886 it was £396,197.

    Money Order and Savings Bank Department.—Number of money order offices: 260 in 1876; 451 in 1886. Orders issued: 112,684 for £465,771 in 1876; 345,825 for £1,134,954, in 1886. Orders paid: 191,492 for £421,162 in 1876; 309,576 for £982,335 in 1886. Number of savings banks: 149 in 1876; 299 in 1886. Total deposits, including interest: 38,592 for £298,404 in 1876; 167,161 for £1,123,966 in 1886. Total withdrawals: 14,729 for £251,535 in 1876; 87,169 for £1,172,555 in 1886.

    Electric Telegraph Department.—Number of stations: In 1876 there were 154; in 1886, 425. Number of messages transmitted: In 1876 there were 854,204; in 1886, 2,661,126. Extent of telegraph wire: In 1876, 8,472 miles; in 1886, 20,797 miles. Revenue: In 1876 £59,349; in 1886 £158,128. Expenditure, exclusive of interest, on cost of construction of lines: in 1876 £69,229; in 1886 £188,352. It has been frequently remarked that the progress of a country could be fairly gauged by the development of its postal and telegraphic service. Further comment from him, therefore, upon the statistics just given was unnecessary, as they spoke for themselves. But if anything more were wanting to prove the vast progress which had been made in respect of postal matters, he would point to the wonderful improvements that had taken place in the steam postal communication between the colony and the mother country. It was only a few days since he had the pleasure of inspecting one of the most magnificent vessels that ever entered our harbour—the Ormuz, one of the contract mail packets of the Orient Steam Navigation Company, and when we contrast this vessel with the first P and O Company’s steamer Chusan, which many years ago used to anchor in the bay beneath us, we could not but be struck with the great development that had taken place. In 1841, steam communications between Sydney and Melbourne was first established, the postage being 1s 3d, and the time occupied some four or five days. In 1844 the first monthly contract packet, which was a sailing vessel, arrived from England. It was not until 1852 that the steamer Chusan, to which he had just alluded, brought mails from England in connection with the overland European route—the time occupied being 79 days to Sydney; and, as may be supposed, the arrival of this pioneer mail steamer, which was bout 700 tons register, was looked upon as a very notable event. It was, as would no doubt be in the recollection of many persons present, many years before a satisfactory steam service was established between this colony and the mother country, several attempts having failed, owing mainly to the difficulties then experienced of vessels carrying coal for the whole distance, and to the want of appliances in the colony for docking and repairing vessels. Now, he was proud to say, the appliances at hand in this colony not only enabled repairs to be executed as quickly and thoroughly as in any other part of the world, but the industry of ship and steamer building itself was rapidly on the increase, and the district of Balmain had, he was gratified to remind them, played a prominent part in supplying these facilities. For some time after the unsuccessful attempts to introduce a satisfactory mail service by steamers, the mails were conveyed by sailing vessels of the Black Ball, White Star, and other lines, and, if he remembered rightly, 65 or 70 days was considered to be a very fast performance. It was to the P and O Company that the credit belonged of being the first to establish regular and efficient steam communication between Australia and Great Britain. Time would not permit of his detailing the progress made by the P and O Company in the service; but he might observe that the steamers at first employed registered about 1200 tons, and the average time occupied on the voyage was about 55 days in 1859; while at present the average time by the Suez route outward and homewards was under 38 days. To the Orient Company, and to the magnificent vessels of that company’s fleet which were constantly seen in our harbour, belonged the credit of achieving the quickest performance between the colony and Great Britain—the mails by the Ormuz having been delivered in London in 31 days from Sydney. In conclusion, he could only say that he trusted the prosperity and progress which had characterised their district, and the colony generally, might continue to increase, as evidence of the growth of a nation which was destined to play an important part in the future history of the world. (Cheers.)

    THE HON W CLARKE, the Hon F Abigail, and the Hon James Inglis also spoke, but contented themselves with congratulating the people upon the ceremonies of the day in formal words.

    Subsequently refreshments were partaken of in the post and telegraph room, when several toasts were drunk.

    THE MAYOR proposed “The Queen,” and afterwards “His Excellency the Governor and Lady Carrington.”

    HIS EXCELLENCY, in responding, said that this was his second official visit to Balmain, his former visit being on the opening of the Balmain Working Men’s Rowing Club. On both occasions he had received a most cordial welcome. He had that day been much interested with the eloquent and statistical speech of the Postmaster-General, although of course they could not expect him to carry away all the figures in his mind. Still they showed the marvellous development of that municipality during the last 10 years. They now had a large and prosperous community in their midst; and had various centres of industry, including Mort’s Dock, which afforded employment to so many people. He had received an invitation to ascend the clock tower and view the surrounding country. But if one wanted to see Balmain—or if one wanted to see Sydney—it was not necessary to go up a clock tower to make the inspection. That day, in the streets, he had seen thousands of orderly citizens and thousands of well-dressed school children, and this was sure indication of prosperity. In conclusion, his Excellency proposed a toast which he hoped would be drunk with enthusiasm. It was that of “Progress and Prosperity to Balmain,” and with this toast he coupled the name of the Mayor, and the names also of the three members for the borough.

    The toast was acknowledged by MR HAWTHORNE, MLA, and the proceedings then terminated.

    From the public buildings the vice-regal party were driven to the Balmain Cottage Hospital. On arrival, they were received by the President, Mr Garrard, MLA, and several members of the committee; the medical staff, consisting of Dr Evans, senior consulting surgeon, Dr Bott, and Dr Graham; and the matron, Mrs Swinson. They were shown over the establishment, with which they were highly pleased, and a return was then made to Sydney.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, Sat 27 Aug 1887 14


    It was about as big a day as they make them, anyhow. Friday looked uncommonly dirty. The steady persistency of the rain and the apparent certainty of its continuance, induced a serious consideration as to a postponement. Members of the Demonstration Committee flew around like wild things, comparing notes as to the weather, turning pale with apprehension or in a fever of excitement as a gust of “Dunbar weather” whistled up Darling-street, or a Niagara-like downpour rendered umbrellas a delusion and a snare. The weak-hearted advised giving it up while those of more sanguine temperament insisted on putting it through, so, after it had been ascertained that his Excellency had no other Saturday disengaged for two months, and the Government astronomer had committed himself to a promise of fine weather after noon on Saturday, it was decided to put it through accordingly, although no progress to speak of had been made on the decorations, and the committee sank to repose with the depressing sound of tremendous showers on the roofs and almost a certainty of being the best abused men in Balmain on Saturday. But Saturday, by a marvel, broke clear and bright, and every effort was put forward to make up for lost time. The decorations were hurried on and long lines of bunting began to wave at various points on Darling-street. Towards half-past two matters began to look lively and attention was naturally turned towards Darling-street wharf where the


was to occur. Here all was bustle and excitement as the various trades and friendly societies proceeded to get into position and the various arrangements for the procession were completed under the active superintendence of the marshall, Mr WB Simpson, whose irreproachable get up gave a decided finishing touch to the completeness of the other arrangements and who was assisted for a time by Mr George E Young, who tore himself away from his duties of Commissary-General to assist in this matter.

    On the wharf were the reception committee, consisting of his Worship, the Mayor of Balmain (with whom was the Mayoress, Mrs Burns) the members for the district, Messrs Garrard, Hawthorne, and Smith, and Mr SN Hogg, Hon Treas, and Mr T Simpson, Hon Sec of the committee. There also were Alds McDonald, Punch, Buchanan, Clymer, Briggs, Carruthers, Easton and McGuire. At 2.45 the launch the “Carrington” arrived with Messrs Inglis, Abigail, Clarke and Roberts of the Ministry, Mr Frank Farnell, MLA, and other gentlemen, who were received by the Mayor and Mayoress. Then came a detachment of 60 of the Sydney Scottish Rifles, under command of Lieut Pearce, with their own band of pipers. At three promptly the Government launch arrived with his Excellency and Lady Carrington, and Mr Wallingford, PS, the Mayor and Mayoress again doing the honors. Mr Burns formally welcoming them to the borough in a few words and introducing them to the aldermen and other gentlemen. Here a pretty little girl named Daisy Halliday presented her Ladyship, with a handsome bouquet which she received with pleasure. The party then proceeded to walk up the hill, Lord Carrington escorting the Mayoress and the Mayor doing the honors for Lady Carrington. The various trade and Friendly Societies were drawn up on the north side of the street, facing the footpath and His Excellency manifested much interest in the various regalia, stopping several times to inquire “What are you?” Arrived at the top of the hill he with Lady Carrington got into his carriage, which with four horses with outriders and postillions was waiting, and the other gentlemen having found their carriages, and the aldermanic party having been stowed away in a drag, the procession was got into line, and moved off with a smoothness and rapidity which did credit to the Marshall, whose white hat, like Henry IV’s white plume, was always to be seen in the thickest of the fray.


took up its lines of march in the following order:—
    The Marshall, Mr Wm B Simpson,
    Platoon of police under Sergeant Boyd,
    Volunteer Artillery Band.
    Three hundred schoolboys under Captain Mulholland. They marched exceedingly well
    Carriages containing,
    The Mayor and Mayoress
    Dr and Mrs Carruthers.
    Ald Clubb and family.
    The Sydney Scottish Rifles with pipers.
    Lord Carrington’s carriage.
    Two carriages containing Messrs Abigail, Inglis, Frank Smith, Roberts, Clarke, Hawthorne, and Frank Farnell, M’sLA. Mr Paul (Mayor of Orange.)
    Balmain Volunteer Fir Brigade, two engines and reel.
    The Carrington Band.
    The Amalgamated Engineers.
    Sons of Temperance.
    Shipwright’s Union (with Alliance Band)
    Harmon Lodge, IOOF.
    Ancient order of Forresters with whom marched the Royal Forresters
    UAO Druids with trolly
    Free Gardeners

    The general effect of the procession was excellent. The engines of the Fire Brigade were handsomely festooned and decorated and the Brigade looked finely. The Engineers and the Shipwrights, Druids and Free Gardeners turned out in the greatest force, the implements of the latter and the Gardeners making a good show, and the weird attire of the Druids and their trolly, emblematical of a Druidical temple, attracted a large amount of interest, the aldermanic drag acting as a flying squadron on the flanks of the procession. The view of the procession as it marched through the hollow, extending as it did from St Mary’s to the Pigeon Ground was a credit to the borough of Balmain. Beginning with the compact scarlet mass of the Scotch Rifles marching in perfect form, the handsome equipage of the Governor, the regalia of the societies, and the banners of the Engineers and Oddfellows, the brilliant display of the Fire Brigade, the street decorated from one end to the other in unsurpassed style, the Governor, bareheaded, responding cordially to the enthusiasm of the crowd along the line of march, the whole lighted up by a bright afternoon sun and enlivened by the strains of music from the various bands showed what our so-called sleepy old borough can do when it flies around and puts its business boots on.


    The people generally entered into the spirit of the thing, and did their best to give the affair credit. The display of bunting was profuse; flags of all nations, sorts and sizes fluttered in the breeze. The fact that Balmain people are thoroughly maritime was abundantly evident from the number of ensigns, blue pennons, &c, displayed on all sides. The Town Hall itself, thanks to Mr Bowen was tastefully, if not profusely, decorated, the crown being particularly effective. Leaving the Town Hall, the Balmain Coffee Palace showed its colour, and from Dr Ewington’s and still lower down again, at Mr W Henderson’s, the grocer, flags were flying across the street. The Workingmen’s Institute was not behind hand, and from the Unity Hall to the ES&AC Bank the colours were flying. Mr Nurcombe’s display was very full, and showed good taste. From Mr Hunter’s to Mr Finlayson’s the road was again spanned with bunting, and near this Mr Simpson’s shop looked very nice. Again across from Booth-street, there was another line of all colours, and even the Messrs Wood’s establishment tried for the time to forget its serious occupation and blossomed into gaiety. Of course the Bank of NS Wales did its duty well; and Mr Spencer’s and Mr Verey’s each held the end of a bright line of colours. The Post Office (poor old Post-office) for the last time in its official capacity tried to smile. From the Volunteer Hotel at the corner of Ann-street, across to Mr Cant’s was another display of flags, and Mr Conlon must not think that we overlooked his green pennant flying amongst the rest. Across again from Mr McNiven’s the display was excellent, and we must not forget to mention Mr Moynan and Mr WE Dance, who both did their duty well. We have not space to give all the decorations in detail, but the brilliant display made by Capt Broomfield at the East end deserves special notice, as well as the tasteful arch of Welcome at the Darling-street wharf, erected by Ald Easton and his arsistants. [sic]


    As the procession arrived at Rowntree-street, except that of His Excellency which drove into the square, where the Balmain Artillery under Captain Phillips, were drawn up as a guard of honor. The square was densely crowded and the same cheers greeted his Excellency that had followed him along the route. As his Excellency alighted he was received at the steps of the courthouse by the Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, and Miss Parkes, while the Vernon Band played “God Save the Queen,” and when the municipal and parliamentary party had rejoined them the whole party walked across to the vacant land opposite the Town Hall, where the school-children, two thousand in number, were massed under their teachers by Capt Mulholland around a staging on which the party took their places. A handsome bouquet, presented by three girl scholars on behalf of the public school children, was received by Lady Carrington with the same simple kindness which characterises all her ladyship’s actions. The singing of


was next proceeded with, the Vernon Band accompanying and Mr Alex Bowen, standing on a pedestal and looking like a classic statue in a frock coat, leading. Although the singing was not so strong as could have been wished, perhaps the youngsters were not to blame for opening their eyes wider than their mouths, considering the attraction of having a royal Governor to look at. At any rate the subsequent cheers for the Queen called for by his Excellency were given with a will that showed the loss of voice to be only temporary.


    After the distinguished party had left the platform on the green the children were marched over to the Town Hall grounds, where the distribution of Mr Dance’s generous donation, accompanied by oranges and lollies for each child was accomplished by the Commissary-General, Mr George E Young, assisted by a detachment of Scottish Rifles with admirable deftness and success, the children being served as they passed through the gate with entire smoothness, the whole affair occupying barely a quarter of an hour, and by the combined efforts of Mr Young and the masters and teachers being carried out to entire satisfaction, highly commendable considering that nearly 2500 buns were distributed besides the lollies and oranges.


    The Governor and Mrs Burns, the Mayor and Lady Carrington, Sir Henry Parkes and Miss Parkes, and the Ministers and members then made a tour of the building which was crowded with people the verandah and balcony being especially full. A digression was made to the Post Office, where under the guidance of the postmaster, Mr Melville, Lady Carrington sealed the first bag of letters sent from the new Post-office, enclosing therein a congratulatory note to the Postmaster-General from the committee of the Demonstration, and his Excellency sent the first despatch, addressed to the Postmaster-General as follows:—“The Post-office is just opened, and I have to let you know how touched I am with and how grateful I feel for the warm and generous welcome afforded to the Queen’s representative by the people of Balmain.—Carrington.” The party then proceeded to the dais erected in front of the building which was somewhat uncomfortably crowded. The whole space in front of the building, was packed, some ten thousand persons being present.

    His Worship, MAYOR BURNS opened proceedings by reading an


which was as follows:—

    “To his Excellency, the Right Hon Baron Carrington and Lady Carrington.—On this occasion of rejoicing the residents of Balmain, in bidding your Excellency and Lady Carrington a hearty welcome, desire also to take opportunity to express their grateful acknowledgements of the deep interest taken by yourself and Lady Carrington in all that appertains to the progress and welfare of the colony generally, and trust that the public buildings which you are respectfully asked to declare open today, will serve to mark in your memories another stage in the material development of our national greatness.—Signed on behalf of the residents of Balmain, WM BURNS (Mayor), JACOB GARRARD, W HAWTHORNE, FJ SMITH, T SIMPSON, SN HOGG.” The address is beautifully illuminated, being one of Mr John Sands artistic pieces of work, the border being decorated with scrolls of native flowers with a picture of building from a photograph by Mr [August] Tronier at the bottom. His Excellency replied in the following words:—

    Mr Mayor, Aldermen and residents of Balmain,—I desire to convey to you, on behalf of Lady Carrington and myself, out most grateful thanks for the kind and cordial manner in which you have received us, and for the address of welcome you have been pleased to afford us. In accepting your courteous invitation to be present here to-day, I need not assure you of the pleasure and interest it gives Lady Carrington and myself to take part in a ceremony that is calculated to prove of such benefit to this borough (which forms so important a part of the Metropolitan district), as well as to the community at large, (Cheers.) “Mr Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, in Lady Carrington’s name, as well as my own, I return you our most respectful and grateful thanks. And it is now my business to declare this fine building to have been duly opened.” The announcement was followed by prolonged and hearty cheers for the Queen, Lord Carrington, the Premier and the Mayor.


    During these ceremonies the Balmain Volunteer Fire Brigade had remained with their new engine drawn up just in front of the dais, and after the noise had subsided Capt Aldersley stood up on the dais and was introduced to Lady Carrington, who thereon broke a bottle of champagne on the wheel of the engine with accuracy and success and christened it “The Fire King.” More cheering followed, and the Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, in reply to loud calls made a pleasant speech appropriate to the occasion, with pleasant references to Lady Carrington, the Brigade, and wished the borough every prosperity, with congratulations on the day. MCJ Roberts, Postmaster General, followed with a long speech full of details relating to his department. The matter particularly relating to Balmain was the following: “The Balmain Post Office was established on the 1st July, 1853; money order office, 1st July, 1866; savings bank, 1st October, 1871; telegraph office, 1st September, 1873. A post office was opened at West Balmain on 11th October, 1880. The following was a contrast of the years 1876 and 1886. The number of letters posted in the former year was 40,700; last year the number was 394,800. The number of telegrams transmitted was 1,495, contrasted with 6,540. The money orders issued in 1876 numbered 346, amount £1,105; last year they numbered 1,805, amount £5,894. The money orders paid in former year 584, amount £2,305; last year 2,018, amount £6,459. The savings bank deposits in 1876 were 848, amount £3,777; last year 3,295, amount £11,583. Savings bank withdrawals in former year 261, amount £3,010; in 1886 there were 1,417, amount £12,993. The number of persons employed in 1876 was 8; the number last year was 15. The revenue for 1886 was—Postal, £306; telegraph, £89; money order, £18, being a total of £4l3. Last year—Postal £899; telegraph, £289; money order, £111, being a total of £1,299. Messrs Abigail, Clarke and Inglis followed with a few brief remarks each and after a final and general round of cheers the formal opening was concluded.


    A light spread had been laid out to which the official party were now invited, and after the toast of the Queen had been drunk, the MAYOR proposed the health of His Excellency and Lady Carrington which was cordially received.

    LORD CARRINGTON in responding again expressed his appreciation of the hearty and cordial welcome which he and Lady Carrington had received in Balmain. It was a great pleasure to take part in a ceremony so calculated to benefit their borough, which was an important part of the metropolitan district. He had visited Balmain before—at the opening of their boatshed—and he recollected the occasion, because of Captain Broomfield reminding him that the floor on which they were at that time sitting, to the number of 500, had been built to carry only 200. (Laughter.) Their borough had shown a marvellous development. There were now 24,000 persons in the municipality; they had 4,200 dwelling houses, 400 shops, 43 miles of streets, five public schools, one school of act [sic–art], 12 churches, besides several great centres of industry. (Cheers.) He had the greatest pleasure in visiting such a community made up, as it was, of a self-reliant and industrious population. (Cheers.) He proposed “Prosperity to Balmain,” coupled with his Worship the Mayor and the members for the district, to which Mayor Burns and Messrs Hawthorne and Smith, M’sLA briefly responded, Mr Garrard having gone to the


to which place his Excellency shortly after rode, escorted by the aldermanic drag and Mayor. There Mr Garrard, President of the Hospital Committee, was in waiting with Dr Evans, senr, Drs Graham and Bott and several members of the committee, and after being welcomed by Mr Garrard, his Excellency and Lady Carrington were shown over building by the above gentlemen and the matron, Mrs Swinson, which ended the day’s proceedings. Shortly after they took their departure by way of Darling and Weston streets, duly escorted by the Marshall and the aldermanic drag, who saw them safely over the line at White Bay, the last glimpse of them on the Darling Road being a vision of his Excellency’s handsome turnout, a final prance by the aldermanic steeds and a gleam of the omnipresent white hat of the Marshall.

    To the credit of Balmain or its luck it must be said that the threatening shower late in the afternoon did not begin until after the Governor’s party were over the line. Not a sprinkle of rain tarnished the brilliancy of the days proceedings so far as Balmain was concerned and whatever meteorological atrocities occurred in the forsaken country of Glebe Island and Pyrmont cannot be laid to the charge of this respectable borough.

    A pleasant little episode of the day was the visit made by Sir Henry Parkes, Miss Parkes and Mr Frank Farnell, MLA to the clock-tower under the conduct of Mr Tornaghi, jun.

    A word of praise, several in fact, are due to the Carrington Band, a new organisation at the West End, who besides being the only band that performed gratuitously, played exceedingly well and presented a very neat and creditable appearance. Although only a short time organised they show excellent progress and give promise of being a decided addition to our musical talent. They are led by Mr Jos Smith, who proves himself an efficient and capable bandmaster.


1     The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 15 Jun 1882, p. 3.

2     The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 13 Jul 1882, p. 3.

3     Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Sat 21 Mar 1885, p. 4.

4     The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 2 Apr 1885, p. 3.

5     The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 4 Jun 1885, p. 8.

6     Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, Sat 6 Jun 1885, p. 2.

7     Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, Sat 13 Jun 1885, p. 2.

8     The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 13 Jun 1885, p. 8.

9     Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Sat 12 Dec 1885, p. 5.

10   Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Sat 23 Jul 1887, p. 4.

11   Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, Sat 20 Aug 1887, p. 5.

12   The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 22 Aug 1887, p. 4.

13   Angelo Tornaghi born in Milan in 1824. He came to Australia to supervise the installation of instruments supplied by the firm of Negretti & Zamba to Sydney Observatory. He soon became established as a maker and importer of scientific instruments. He later became better known as a clock maker and supplier. He installed “Little Brother”, the small external clock at the George St end of the GPO Sydney.

14   Balmain Observer and Western Suburbs Advertiser, Sat 27 Aug 1887, p. 3.