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Local History

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Lane Cove Municipality was incorporated in February 1895 and has undergone a great deal of growth and development over the last 122 years. When the Municipality was incorporated the area looked more like a collection of country villages than the dense residential area we recognise today. There was very little street lighting and the lighting that did exist was by kerosene lamp. The few ‘constructed’ roads were made of dirt and gravel. One Council ganger of the day told his daughter Daisy that residents preferred to use the bush tracks rather than attempt to navigate the muddy tracks churned up by horses and car traffic.

According to the Sands Directory of 1897 there were 233 dwellings and a population of just 1,200. In 2016, the residential population was estimated to be 36,996.

In February 1885, 150 ratepayers of River Ward, North Willoughby (now the Municipality of Willoughby) signed a petition asking for separation from the Municipality of Willoughby. On this occasion they were unsuccessful, but a second petition signed by 306 ratepayers in 1893 met with more success. The first Lane Cove local government election was held on the 26 March 1895 and the first Mayor, Jeremiah Roberts, was formally elected by his fellow Councillors on the 4 April 1895. As with today, public infrastructure was vital and one of Council’s first projects was to call for tenders in May 1895, for the construction of St Leonards Wharf (now known as Bay Street Wharf).

Lane Cove’s Mayors and Aldermen have reflected the general make-up of the community. They have worked in all types of industries and have included influential business people, local environmental activists, farmers and scholars. Some could be classified as characters, including Mayor ‘Fred’ Graham who enlisted to drive trucks in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) during the First World War. Mayor Richard (Dick) Nossiter continued the tradition when he served on Allied convoy ships in the North
Atlantic during World War II. Lane Cove broke ground when Marjorie Propsting was elected the first female Mayor on the North Shore and Council continues to have
a high proportion of women serving the Municipality.

View an online copy of the Mayors of Lane Cove: A Retrospective