Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
30 August 1844
The District Council met on Wednesday, pursuant to adjournment. The members present were, the Warden, GILBERT ELLIOTT, Esq., P. M., and Councillors Dr. HILL, Dr. ANDERSON, Dr. FORSTER, JAMES PYE, JAMES HOWISON,* G. R. NICHOLS, and NELSON S. LAWSON, J.P., Esquires.
Mr. NICHOLS brought forward his motion for a Petition from this Council to the Legislative Council, praying that body not to place any sum on the Estimates for the ensuing year for the payment of the salary of the Police Magistrate of this town and district. Mr. NICHOLS said that, looking at the census for 1841, he found the population of Sydney to be upwards of 31,000 souls, whilst that of Parramatta was only 10,000. He apprehended that while the former place was now 40,000, that of the latter did not exceed 11,000. The Police management of the first was consigned to one paid Magistrate (Mr. WINDEYER) with a salary of £300, whilst, for the sub-duties devolving from the comparative small number of the second, £300 a-year was paid to a Police Magistrate who, he beleived [sic], also drew £100 a-year from the Military Chest as Visiting Justice of the Female Factory. There were eleven Magistrates at Parramatta—
Dr. ANDERSON and several members—Only nine.
Mr NICHOLS continued—Supposing it only six, they could perform the duty, if not, there were many Councillors round the table not in the Magistracy, and many persons in the town and district who now held the Commission of the Peace, and who could be appointed by the proper quarter. He (Mr. N.) had brought forward this motion in the redemption of a pledge, made by him to his constituents, and, as there was a saving made in these disastrous times by all persons reducing their establishments, he considered the Government ought also to be gainers by the times, £400 being now equal to what £600 was some years ago. He would be happy to meet any member halfway on this motion, by agreeing to an amendment to the Petition, praying for a reduction in the salary.
On the motion being put, not a Councillor present was found to second it, and it was consequently lost.
A long desultory conversation then ensued on the subject of this motion; Dr. FORSTER, and some other Magistrates, stated, that they would not do the onerous duty performed by the Police Magistrate, for £300 a-year. With reference to the nine Magistrates said to be in the district, it appeared that only six were regular attendants. It was true one of the three usual absentees had once within the last twelve months found his way into a meeting of the Bench, but he candidly admitted his presence at the Police Office was the result of chance and accident. (A laugh).
Dr. HILL made some observations respecting the late trial (see Monday’s AUSTRALIAN) of SOLOMON against the Police Magistrate, and stated that Mr. Justice STEPHEN had observed, “that it was a barefaced extortion to obtain money.”
Dr. FORSTER observed, that although the duties of the Police Magistrate for the Bench appeared light, there was a considerable deal of duty and employment that did not meet the eye; the paucity of cases before the Parramatta Bench, proved the admirable management and direction of the Police force in Parramatta.
Mr. PYE said that it ought to be recollected, that during the last three months Mr. ELIOTT [sic] had to do duty at the Liverpool Bench once if not twice a-week.
The Warden observed, that his duties on the Bench were the easiest portion of his employment.
The Council then went into a Committee of Finance, and having directed the payment of the contractor’s account for rations, and sundry small sums due for tools, clothing, &c., resumed, and then adjourned to the next Quarterly Meeting, which, by the charter, is directed to beheld on Tuesday next.
* JAMES HOUISON
See Original: “COUNTRY NEWS. PARRAMATTA,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Friday 30 August 1844, p.3