First Mayor of Five Dock
Mr. Arthur William Sutton, the first Mayor of Five Dock, was born in Manchester in 1839 and arrived in New South Wales in 1842. He may, therefore, be considered as almost a native of the colony.
He was the son of the late John Sutton, builder and contractor, who for many years was an Alderman of the city of Sydney, and filled the civic chair in 1866. A tablet, which was erected during his term of office, is now to be seen in what was then known as the Argyle Cut.
A.W. Sutton succeeded to the well-known tobacco business of the late J.M. Leigh. For the last thirty years he has been engaged in the tobacco business.
He has always been a supporter of all kinds of sports, particularly cricket, and he was treasurer when the first team of English cricketers was brought out by Messrs. J.M. Leigh and Spiers and Pond.
Mr. Sutton was one of the first members of the Warwick Cricket Club, formed many years ago, and still in existence. He was, for some time, treasurer of the Albert Cricket Ground Company and, in conjunction with Messrs. J. Keep, F. Lassetter, Justice Stephen, T.B. Rollin and others, founded the popular non-players matches on the Albert Cricket Ground.
He was chairman of the local school board at Five Dock until those boards were dispensed with and has, for many years, been a magistrate of the colony and has given a considerable portion of his time to the duties of the office.
Mr. Sutton has always been a liberal supporter of the churches.
At the first municipal election, held in 1871, Mr. Sutton was returned at the head of the poll, there being thirteen candidates. He was elected the first Mayor.
He was instrumental in getting the municipality divided into two wards, and subsequently into three, known as East, West and North Wards. He has continued to fill the office of alderman almost without interruption during sixteen years and has many times been elected Mayor. In fact, he has never been rejected for the office whenever he offered himself, and he has always been foremost in any movement for the advancement of the municipality.
Some three years ago (1884) he paid a visit to the scene of his birth and, on his return after an absence of some twelve months, he was elected unopposed as an alderman for the East Ward. He was elected Mayor for 1886 and re-elected to that position unopposed for this year (1887).
Five Dock was incorporated on July 25, 1871. The rates for the first year amounted to a little over £200 and, for many years, did not exceed that amount very much. Within the last four or five years the municipality has begun to go ahead and the rates are now about £1,500 a year.
It is bounded on three sides by the waters of the Parramatta River, Hen and Chicken and Iron Cove Bays.
For many years land was valued at about £8 an acre, including frontage to the Parramatta River and has, during the last five years, realised up to £2,000 an acre. Buildings are going up daily, and some very fine ones have been erected during the last few years, the most conspicuous being those of Messrs. Russell Barton, D. Ramsay and A.W. Sutton.
There are also some very fine buildings at Drummoyne. Within the municipality there are two Anglican churches, two public schools, three post offices and a convent (a very fine building in which divine service is conducted every Sunday morning and largely attended).
At the last census, taken some eighteen months ago, the population numbered 1580 but has since largely increased.
Several lines of railway are now being surveyed, as also a line of tramway from Leichhardt, so that there is a grand future in store for this popular suburb which, with its small means, has some 22-1/2 miles of made streets to keep in repair and some 35 miles of unmade streets to put into a state of order for traffic.
(Trove Newspapers: Australian Town and Country Journal – Sat. 15 Oct 1887.)