Wednesday, 11 December 2019 Sydney

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Wingecarribee Shire History

A short history of Wingecarribee Shire Council from 1981 to 2006


History Prior to 1981 (PDF, 60Kb)


The current Wingecarribee Shire Council came into being on 1 January 1981 following the amalgamation of Mittagong Shire Council, Bowral Municipal Council and the former Wingecarribee Shire Council.


Moss Vale was chosen as headquarters, mainly because it had the most appropriate Civic building to house the larger council.


The name of Wingecarribee was retained principally because the Wingecarribee River was the one significant geographical feature common to all three local Government areas.


Wingecarribee is said to mean “a flight of birds”, or “waters to rest beside”. The Oxley family spelt it Wingecarribbee and Macquarie recorded it in 1816 as Winge Karribee. The current spelling was adopted by Surveyor Mitchell in 1838.


The first Shire President was David Wood and the Shire Clerk in 1981 was Harold Jopling.



The 12 Councillors elected to serve until 24 September 1983 on the amalgamated Council in 1981, following elections held on 6 December 1980 were:

David Wood from Bowral [President], Jim Gasson from Mittagong was Deputy President, Brian Elliott [Mittagong], Ray Jeffery [Moss Vale], Geoff Larsen [Werai], Gordon Lewis [Bowral], Tim McKinnon [Moss Vale], Horace Quigg [Canyonleigh], Harry Springett [Bowral], Jim Tuddenham [Robertson], Roger Worner [Mittagong] and Phillip Yeo [Bowral]




Brian Elliott, Harry Springett, Ray Jeffery, Cherie Jeffries [Bundanoon], David Wood, Garry Barnsley [Mittagong], Geoff Larsen, Phillip Yeo, Jim Tuddenham, Bob Schofield [Wingello], Gordon Lewis and Peter Reynolds [Bowral].




Peter Reynolds, Geoff Larsen, Phillip Yeo, Cherie Jeffries, Ray Jeffery, James Kemsley [Welby], *Pam Gill [Moss Vale], Gordon Lewis, Roger Worner, David Wood, Ken McInnes, Jim Tuddenham.


* Councillor Gill resigned on 6 December 1990 and was replaced, following a byelection on 23 February 1991 by Joanna Gash.




David Wood, Joanna Gash, James Kemsley, Geoff Larsen, David Lemerle, Gordon Lewis, Ken McInnes, Peter Reynolds, John Sherborne, Mea Thompson, Jim Tuddenham and Phillip Yeo.


* Sara Murray joined Council in 1992, after winning a by-election following the resignation of Geoff Larsen.



The 1993 Local Government Act Amendments introduced the uniform term of Mayor to replace the Presidents, Mayors and Lord Mayors in New South Wales and also provided for General Managers to replace the former Town Clerks and Shire Clerks.


This took effect on 1 July 1993, so the first person to be known as Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire Council was David Wood. Michael Muston was appointed as the Council’s first General Manager in 1993, replacing former retiring Shire Clerk, Col Collins.




David Wood, Greg Butler, Heather Carter, Helen Chadwick, Duncan Gair, Ken Halstead, David Lemerle, Gordon Lewis, Sara Murray, Peter Reynolds, John Sherborne, Jim Tuddenham.




The Mayor of the outgoing Council was Phil Yeo. The Deputy Mayor was Heather Carter. The other Councillors were David Fairall, Duncan Gair, Gordon Lewis, Dr. Sara Murray, Peter Reynolds, John Sherborne, Paul Tuddenham, Larry Whipper and David Wood.


Rick Mandelson, who was elected in 1999 resigned from Council on 28 February 2002 and was replaced by Nick Campbell-Jones in May 2002.


David Wood retired in January 2004, after having served almost 40 years in Local Government on the Southern Highlands. David wasn’t replaced because the March elections were imminent.




Changes in legislation moved the Council elections from the traditional September [they were due in September 2003] to March 2004.


The Councillors elected were Nick Campbell-Jones, Gordon Lewis, Penny George, Duncan Gair, Phil Yeo May King, Dr. Sara Murray, Jim Mauger, Jim Clark, Paul Tuddenham, Larry Whipper and Malcolm Murray.


Because elections will return to a September cycle, the Mayor [in this case Gordon Lewis] was elected to serve until September 2005.The Deputy Mayor [Nick Campbell-Jones] was also elected for a term that extended beyond twelve months to bring it in line with the September cycle. The Council served until September 2008.




The foundation stone for the Civic Centre building in Elizabeth Street, Moss Vale was laid on 7 April 1970 by Roger Street, who was President of the old Wingecarribee Shire in 1964 to 1968.


The building was officially opened on 26 February 1971 by P.H.Morton MLA, Minister for Local Government and Highways.


The Civic Centre is built on community land originally donated by the Donkin family.


Prior to moving to the new building in Elizabeth Street, the former Wingecarribee Council Chambers was in Throsby Street, Moss Vale.




We believe the first woman to be elected on Council in this area was Mrs S. Boardman, who we know served on the Bowral Council in 1936.


The next appears to be Dorothy Large, who served on the Mittagong Council from 1962 to 1965.


The first female Mayor was Sara Murray, who was elected in September 1997.


Women to serve on Council prior to 1981 were:


Rachel Roxburgh [1977/80]


Dorothy Large [1962/65], Edith Forrest [1971/74], Joan Clarke [1977/1980], Myrtle May [1977/1980].


Bonnie Pierce and Ethel Willis [1971/80].


Since 1981 the lot of women has improved a little, with seven ladies, Cherie Jeffries, Pam Gill, Joanna Gash, Mea Thompson, Sara Murray, Heather Carter and Helen Chadwick taking their place in the Chamber.


In 2004 Penny George and May King joined the female ranks. At just 18 when elected we believe Penny George is the youngest Councillor we have ever had and is possibly the youngest female Councillor elected in New South Wales.


In 2002, former Wingecarribee Mayor Dr Sara Murray was elected President of the New South Wales Local Government Association, serving a two year term in the top job until late 2004.



About the Wingecarribee Shire


Shire Map showing localities within Wingecarribee Shire Council




















Wingecarribee Shire covers an area of 2700 square kilometres.


This area is know to tourists as the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.


This Shire is an important catchment area for water supply to Sydney, Wollongong and the Northern Shoalhaven.


Much of the Shire is located at or above 640 metres above sea level. The main towns are Bowral, Moss Vale, Mittagong and Bundanoon. As well, there are smaller villages like Hill Top, Yerrinbool, Colo Vale, Robertson, Berrima, New Berrima, Exeter, Burrawang, Penrose, Willow Vale, Alpine, Balaclava, Renwick, Wingello, Sutton Forest, Avoca, Fitzroy Falls and Balmoral Village.


The pattern of development is one of small towns and villages, separated by a semi rural landscape and from a planning perspective, Council intends to retain this character of the Shire.


The Eastern parts of the Shire are bounded by the Illawarra escarpment and Morton National Park, with some remnant rainforest and heathland.


The North of the Shire is characterised by rugged Eucalypt bushland, with gullies, gorges and sandy soils. This area forms part of the catchment for Sydney's water supply and three major storage dams (Avon, Nepean and Cordeaux).


The Wollondilly and Wingecarribee Rivers flow through the West of the Shire, through deep sandstone valleys and much of this area forms part of the catchment for Warragamba Dam.


The South of the Shire is bounded by Uringalla Creek and includes the villages of Bundanoon, Wingello and Penrose. This area is a sandstone plateau dissected by deep gorges.


Wingecarribee Shire Council Map - Showing Surrounding Local Government Areas (PDF, 323Kb)