Sunday, May 13, 2018

William Thomas – Kapunda Mayor 1893 - 1895

William Thomas – Kapunda Mayor 1893 - 1895

 William Thomas became Mayor of Kapunda in 1893, retaining the privileged position until 1895.

Thomas was born in Glamorganshire, Wales in 1854, and at 8 years of age moved to Kapunda, South Australia with his parents, brothers John and Even and sister Anne.

 In 1876 he married Emma Harvey at her parent’s house in Kapunda. Together they had one child, a daughter, Hilda Beatrice Thomas.
 Upon leaving school, William found work as an apprentice with My H.B, Hawkes iron foundry, working as an apprentice moulder and iron founder. In the evenings he worked the Main Street of Kapunda, selling newspapers.

 After Mr Hawke sold his business to a local man, Mr Rees, William left the foundry. His previous work selling newspapers had been very lucrative, and he was able to become an agent, getting younger lads to sell the newspapers on his behalf. Meanwhile, he set up a stationary and bookselling shop in the main street – perhaps Mr Thomas was Kapunda’s first newsagent!

In 1879, Thomas gained a position on Council, after being elected to the West Ward. He also took positions on the boards of the Kapunda Institute Committee, The Kapunda hospital and the Dutton Park Management Committee.
Thomas was also a trustee board member of the local Druids lodge
 In 1893 he became the elected Mayor of Kapunda, a position he held from 1893 until 1895. In 1896 he was involved in a local scandal when Mr H.B. Barker accused him of stating that the Corporation of Kapunda has misappropriated several Government grants. 

 Thomas went on record denying he ever said anything of the sort, even going so far as to publish a statement in the Kapunda Herald on May 7th, 1896 that Mr Barker was incorrect, and unfounded.

In September 1900, Emma passed away, and only a few weeks later, after 5 weeks of being bed ridden, William joined her. They are both buried in the Clare Road Cemetery.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2018

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