Wingecarribee Shire History

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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,as it was home to the largest Civic building to house the larger council.

The name Wingecarribee was retained as the Wingecarribee River was the one significant geographical feature common to all three former council 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 Civic Centre Building

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 from 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.

The 1981 Council

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

David Wood from Bowral (President), Jim Gasson from Mittagong  (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).

The 1983 Council

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).

The 1987 Council

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 by-election on 23 February 1991 by Joanna Gash.

The 1991* Council

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

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.

The 1995 Council

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 1999 Council

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 in the Southern Highlands. David wasn’t replaced because the March elections were imminent.

The 2004 Council

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 2008 Council

The Councillors elected in September 2008 were Juliet Arkwright, Jim Clark, Larry Whipper, Ken Halstead, Graham McLaughlin, Jim Mauger, Duncan Gair, David Stranger and Paul Tuddenham.

For the first two years of the Council term, the Mayor was Duncan Gair. For the first of these years the Deputy Mayor was Ken Halstead while for the second of these years the Deputy Mayor was Graham McLaughlin.

The Mayor for the remaining two years of the term was Ken Halstead and the Deputy Mayor was Larry Whipper.

The 2012 Council

The Councillors elected in September 2012 were Juliet Arkwright, Duncan Gair, Graham McLaughlin, Garry Turland, Ian Scandrett, Jim Clark, John Uliana, Holly Campbell and Larry Whipper.

For the first two years of the Council term, the Mayor was Juliet Arkwright and the Deputy Mayor was Larry Whipper.

For the third year of the Council term, the Mayor was Duncan Gair and the Deputy Mayor was Graham McLaughlin, while for the final year of the term the Mayor was Larry Whipper and the Deputy Mayor was Ian Scandrett.

The 2016 Council

The Councillors elected in September 2016 were Duncan Gair, Graham McLaughlin, Grahame Andrews, Gordon Markwart, Larry Whipper, Garry Turland, Ken Halstead, Ian Scandrett and Peter Nelson. Gordon Markwart resigned from his position in August 2020 and was not replaced.

For the first two years of the Council term, the Mayor was Ken Halstead and the Deputy Mayor was Ian Scandrett.

For the following two years of the term, the Mayor was Duncan Gair and the Deputy Mayor was Garry Turland.

The NSW council elections originally scheduled for September 2020 were subsequently postponed by the NSW Government until September 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the final year of the extended Council term, the Mayor was Duncan Gair and the Deputy Mayor was Grahame Andrews. 

Women in Local Government

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.

The most recent female Mayor was Juliet Arkwright, who was elected for her second term as Mayor in September 2013. 

Women to serve on Council prior to 1981 were:


Rachel Roxburgh (1977/1980)


Dorothy Large (1962/1965), Edith Forrest (1971/1974), Joan Clarke (1977/1980), Myrtle May (1977/1980).


Bonnie Pierce and Ethel Willis (1971/1980).

Women to serve on Council since 1981 are: Cherie Jeffries, Pam Gill, Joanna Gash, Mea Thompson, Sara Murray, Heather Carter, Helen Chadwick, May King, Juliet Arkwright and Holly Campbell.

In 2004 Penny George was elected to Council. 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 job until late 2004.