"The Beacon"Print Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams / John Huth

"The Beacon" sculpture was given to the people of Sydney by James Fairfax, in 1992, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of the Sydney City Council and the city's incorporation.

In 1840, Governor Gipps introduced a bill to the Legislative Council to establish municipal institutions in New South Wales. On 20 July 1842, an Act (6 Vic.No 3) was passed ‘to declare the town of Sydney to be a city and to incorporate the inhabitants thereof’. On 12 August 1842, Melbourne was incorporated as a ‘town.'

At the first municipal election, some 3,000 adult males were eligible to vote. There were to be six wards with four Councillors per ward and each had to hold property worth £1000. When the results were declared on 3 November 1842, it was clear that the electors had chosen local businessmen to run local affairs. Prior to the elections, the governor nominated magistrate Charles Windeyer as interim Mayor. At the first Sydney Council meeting on 9 November, a merchant and contractor, John Hosking, became the first elected Mayor of Sydney. But, in an inauspicious beginning for the Council, he had to resign less than a year later when he went bankrupt in the financial depression of the early 1840s. At the second Council meeting on 15 November 1842, solicitor Charles Henry Chambers was appointed Town Clerk. He too resigned by 19 July 1843 because of conflict with the councillors and was replaced by the John Rae, a writer and artist, who held the post until the dissolution of Council in 1853. Other matters determined at early Council meetings were the design of Seals for both the Council and the city, official dress for the Mayor and aldermen, and the appointment of a City Treasurer, Surveyor, Mayor’s secretary and other staff. Eventually the Council would become a major employer in Sydney. 


Address:Circular Quay, First Fleet Park, The Rocks, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.860711
Long: 151.209305
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Landscape
Approx. Event Start Date:1842
Approx. Event End Date:1992
Artist:Robert Klippel


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1994
Front Inscription

            The Beacon
               Robert Klippel.

The gift of James Fairfax to the people 
of Sydney to commemorate
the Sesquicentenary of Sydney in 1992.

Councillor Frank Sartor    Sydney City Council
Lord Mayor                       1994


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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