Lambton Council

Lambton Council was incorporated on 26th June 1871.The ballot to elect the first aldermen took place on 7th August 1871, in the Mechanics’ Institute building on Howe St.

Mechanics' Institute building. Howe St, Lambton.

The long six windowed building in the foreground is the first Mechanics’ Institute building, in Howe St, Lambton. circa 1884. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

The official declaration of the poll took place in the Mechanics’ Institute building on 8th August 1871, and was immediately followed by the first council meeting, whose sole business was electing Uriah Broom as Mayor.

The second council meeting took place on 15th August 1871 in Mr Stoker’s long room, a large hall on the upper floor of John Stoker’s “Gold Miners’ Arms” hotel, on the north east corner of Elder and Grainger Streets.

Stoker's Hotel. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

Stoker’s Hotel. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

Soon afterwards the council “succeeded in renting a room in Dixon-street, Lambton, from Mr. Joseph Piper, 34 x 12½ feet, at a rental of 5s. per week.” and council meetings were held in that location from 25th August 1871.  The exact location in Dixon-street is unknown.

In the ensuing years, council meetings were held in a variety of locations

… in Mr. Joseph Phippen’s dwelling-house, and subsequently in two other dwelling houses, and for years in a room over the dwelling of the late Mr. W. Maddock, in Elder-street.

The shift to Mr. Maddock’s premises occurred on 28/6/1876.

In 1887 a weatherboard building for the council chambers was constructed on Morehead and Elder Streets, in the corner of Lambton Park. The building cost £270 and was formally opened on 21st July 1887.

Lambton Council Chambers

Lambton Council Chambers. 9th September 1890. Photo by Ralph Snowball, University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

In 1892 the government gazetted a parcel of land as a site for a town hall. The site gazetted was a block of land on the north side of Elder St, which was split – the western half reserved for a town hall, and the new Mechanics’ Institute was built on the eastern half in 1894. The map below from 1906 shows the “Town Hall” site on the left on block 856, and the Mechanics’ Institute on the right on block 330. Note how the non-consecutive numbering gives a clue that the block was subdivided.

Unsurprisingly, given the bankruptcy of the council over the electric lighting scheme and its continuing financial indebtedness, there was never any possibility of building a new town hall. In 1910 there was some discussion in council about using the Elder St block of land for a public pound. In 1926 the town hall site was re-gazetted as a council depot and storage area.


With the creation of the Greater Newcastle Council in 1938, the final meeting of Lambton Council took place on 29th March 1938.


Lambton Council Chambers. Newcastle Morning Herald, 21 May 1938.

Subsequently the council depot on the north side of Elder Street was sold off in 1940, and the council chambers building on the corner of Morehead and Elder Streets became the Lambton branch library in February 1950, and continues to be used for this purpose to the present day.

Library. Lambton Park

Lambton Branch Library, in the former council chambers. December 2014.

Timeline of events

Article Date Event DateNotes
1 Jul 1871
26 Jun 1871
Incorporation of Lambton Municipality.
A supplement to the Gazette, issued on the 26th June, notifies the constitution of a municipality under the name and style of the "Municipal District of Lambton," and defines the area included therein.
29 Jul 1871Nomination of candidates for the first Lambton council election. Thomas Croudace at the top of the list.
3 Aug 1871
2 Aug 1871
Nominees for the first election of alderman in Lambton address a public meeting. Thomas Croudace appears to have withdrawn as a candidate by this date.
8 Aug 1871
7 Aug 1871
First election of aldermen for Lambton Council, held in the Mechanics' Institute building on Howe St.
10 Aug 1871
8 Aug 1871
Official declaration of the poll of the first election.
10 Aug 1871
8 Aug 1871
First meeting of Lambton Council, immediately following the declaration of the poll, where Uriah Broom is elected by the alderman as Mayor.
22 Aug 1871
15 Aug 1871
Second meeting of Lambton Council, held in Mr. Stoker's long room.
29 Aug 1871
25 Aug 1871
Lambton Council, second meeting, now in "the new Council chambers, Dixon-street, Lambton."
26 Aug 1871"The aldermen have succeeded in renting a room in Dixon-street, Lambton, from Mr. Joseph Piper, 34 x 12½ feet, at a rental of 5s. per week."
30 Jan 1872
26 Jan 1872
Lambton Council sends a Letter to the Minister for Lands, "applying for land near the proposed extension of Dixon street, for Municipal Council Chambers."
26 Mar 1872Council estimates £200 for cost of constructing council chambers.
8 Nov 1873After 20th November 1873, "the Municipal Council Chambers will be REMOVED from Dixon-street to Mr. R. Jones's premises, in Elder-street."
29 Jun 1876Lambton Council have shifted their quarters to Mr Maddock's new building above the Telegraph Office.
23 Jul 1887
21 Jul 1887
New council chambers on the corner of Morehead and Elder streets formally opened.
9 Jun 1892Reference to the "allotment granted as a site for council chambars, but afterwards resumed for police barracks." (Is this the site in Dickson St?)
7 Jul 1892Council offers half the block of land set aside for a town hall on Elder St, for the Mechanics' Institute to erect a new building.
7 Jul 1926Council to ask Lands Department to "re-gazette the the land vested in the council in Elder-street, so that same could be used as a depot for metal, and to erect a building for storage purposes. "
30 Mar 1938
29 Mar 1938
Final council meeting.
21 Nov 1940Regarding the council depot in Elder St adjacent to the Mechanics' Institute, "permission is being given by the department for the removal of an iron garage and a weatherboard storeroom. The land will then be made available to the department for disposal in two blocks."
2 Feb 1950
1 Feb 1950
Former Lambton council chambers opened as a branch of Newcastle library.

Still to do

  • Research and document the locations that Lambton Council met in during the years 1871 to 1887.

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