Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Thurlow, William

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Thurlow, William

William Thurlow was born about 1807, and arrived in Sydney from London with his three sons on the William Shand on 4 August 1825. As a free settler, he was granted land and, in 1829, was appointed a Justice of the Peace. By 1836 John William Thurlow, solicitor of Wentworth Place, had a farm for sale.

On 3 May 1837 William Thurlow married his second wife Anne Jane James at St Mary's Roman Catholic church, Sydney. They had several daughters.

Solicitor and property owner

By 1837 Thurlow was working with Charles Henry Chambers, who was later the first Town Clerk. This partnership was dissolved in July 1842 and Thurlow joined James McPherson Grant in Pitt Street north.

By October 1844 Thurlow had accumulated property in Thurlow's Terrace, Bourke Street, Surry Hills and was advertising two offices in Pitt Street for rent. He had been an early purchaser of East Balmain land, acquiring two lots in Paul Street.

In the 1850s, Grant left for California and later Victoria where he acted as solicitor for the Eureka stockade rioters. Thurlow went into partnership with Stephen Campbell Brown and Alexander Dick with offices at 308 Pitt Street. In 1863, he also had an office in Elizabeth Street. Thurlow lived in Bligh Street before moving to 203 Bourke Street, Redfern.


William Thurlow was elected councillor for Bourke Ward on 7 October 1843. He was mayor in 1851 and 1852, and instigated an investigation into the corporation which led to its abolition due to incompetence and corruption in October 1853. Thurlow lost his seat and the council was replaced by city commissioners. He was re-elected for Gipps Ward from 1 December 1857 to 30 November 1859.

Thurlow was elected as a member of the Legislative Council for the City of Sydney, defeating Henry Parkes at a by-election in March 1853. He retained the seat until it was vacated in December 1854.

William Thurlow died at the Manning River on 16 April 1865, aged 58.


City of Sydney Archives, Aldermen's Files

Shirley Fitzgerald, Sydney 18421992, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, 1992

Hilary Golder, Sacked: removing and remaking the Sydney City Council 1853–1988, City of Sydney in association with Books & Writers, Sydney, 2004

Hilary Golder, A Short Electoral History of Sydney City Council 1842–1992, City of Sydney website, http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/aboutsydney/documents/history/hs_chos_electoral_history.pdf, viewed 30 September 2010

Leichhardt Historical Journal, Annandale Association; Balmain Association; Glebe Society, Annandale, vol 11