The Municipal District of Strathfield was proclaimed on 2 June 1885 with the name derived from the house ‘Strathfield’ built for the Mayor of Sydney, Walter Renny c.1868. This house was originally called ‘Stratfieldsaye’, the name inspired by the Duke of Wellington’s home in England. This house was later known as ‘Strathfield House’ and then ‘Strathfield’.
Strathfield Council originally included the areas of Redmyre [now Strathfield], Homebush and Druitt Town [now Strathfield South]. Of these areas, only Homebush retains it’s original name. Flemington [now Homebush West] remained unincorporated and was added in 1892.
The first meeting of Strathfield Council was held on 19th August 1885 at ‘Llanelly’ [now ‘Steephurst’] in Albyn Rd, to elect the first Aldermen. James Inglis MP of ‘Billy Tea’ fame was appointed the returning officer. ‘Llanelly’ was the home of stockbroker George Thompson, grandson of retailer David Jones. The Alderman elected to the first Council included Thompson; George Hardie, a mining agent, of Torrington Rd; Albert Allen, storekeeper of Druitt Town, William Von Der Heyde, a tobacco merchant of Albert Rd; Henry Australia Perkins, a wealthy gentleman of Meredith St and horse breeder James Thompson [of ‘Widden Stud’ fame] of Albert Road.
The first Mayor of Strathfield, George Hardie, was elected on 30th August 1885. Incidentally, there is a persistent but untrue story that Strathfield was named after the first Mayor’s home. Hardie’s home was actually called ‘Torrington’. In 1885, ‘Strathfield’ was the home of John Hardy, of Hardy Bros & Co, a City based jeweller. In any case, this story is obviously incorrect as the name ‘Strathfield’ was selected as the new name of the District prior to Hardie’s election as an Alderman and Mayor.
Hardie’s Mayoralty was short-lived as the State law required that two Aldermen retire at the end of the first year on Council. Hardie’s name was picked from the hat, thus ending his service on Council. Hardie was appointed as the returning officer for the next Council election and later returned to England where he died. His brother, Robert Hardie, founder of real estate agents Hardie & Gorman, was Mayor of Burwood in 1887.
‘Llanelly’ [now ‘Steephurst’] operated as the Strathfield Council Chambers for a short time, later moving to ‘Franklin Cottage’ [corner Albyn and Homebush Rd Strathfield]. The Strathfield Council Chambers were opened in 1887 at 65 Homebush Rd Strathfield and have operated from the same location since this time.
Strathfield Council Amalgamations
The original Strathfield Council area expanded in size with the amalgamations of Enfield and Homebush Councils in the 1940’s. The Municipality of Enfield was proclaimed on 22 January 1889 [additional area west of Enfield added in 1893] and Municipality of Homebush on 6 June 1906. The area of Flemington was incorporated into the Municipality of Strathfield on 16 February 1892. Homebush Municipality was incorporated into Strathfield Municipality in 1947 and in 1949, the west ward of Enfield Municipality was incorporated into Strathfield Municipality. The central and east wards of Enfield Council were incorporated into Burwood Council.
Strathfield Council abolished wards in 1916. After the 1940’s amalgamations, wards were formed but were later abolished. Strathfield Council does not currently have wards.
Strathfield Council has been threatened by Council amalgamation on many occasions, most particularly in 1947, 1973 and 1983. In 1999, the Council considered amalgamation with Burwood Council, which did not proceed after community consultation. The issue of Council amalgamations was reopened by the State Labor Government in 2003. To date, Strathfield Council has refused to amalgamate with other Councils.
Strathfield Council has seven Councillors who are elected at general elections. The Mayor is elected by the Councillors each September. The Mayor of Strathfield is not popularly elected and is elected by the majority of Councillors on an annual basis.