Joseph Davenport was born at Leicester, Leicestershire, England in 1827. He married Mary Ann Challis in 1848. Joseph, Mary with their three daughters and two sons arrived at Sydney on 3 September 1863 on the Shackamaxon. Mary Ann Davenport died on 8 November 1884, aged 58 years. He died at Picton Lakes on 11 October 1916, aged 89 years.
Occupation & interests
Ebenezer Vickery sponsored the Davenport family as assistant immigrants in 1862. Joseph Davenport’s occupation was listed as shoemaker. By 1870, living at St Johns Road Forest Lodge, he called himself a boot and shoe manufacturer, though the objects of Wright, Davenport & Co were described as tanners, curriers and boot manufacturers. The firm operated at Short Street Forest Lodge from 1870 to 1875 with about 50 employees, many on piece rates. Davenport was living in Camperdown in 1880, and had established Davenport & Alcock’s boot factory at Victoria Road Marrickville which in 1878 employed 250 hands.
At a meeting of the City Extension League on 31 October 1888 Davenport spoke of the importance of extending the railway through the city, and urged construction of a railway line to Circular Quay. This was in his capacity as an alderman of Marrickville Council of which he was a member from 1885 to 1891. Davenport, as president of the Marrckville Protection Association, told a crowd at Marrickville Town Hall on 27 April 1888 that two things were necessary – a protective tariff, and excluson of Chinese labour.
Local government service
Joseph Davenport was an alderman on Marrickville Council from 1885 to 1891. He was an alderman of Glebe Council 1871 to 1874.
Davenport’s expertise as a factory proprietor was valuable to other members of Council’s finance committee George Wigram Allen, George Dibbs and James Simpson. He was active on Glebe Council referring to the Improvement Committee to report on the expediency and cost of forming and ballasting Glebe’s streets, and kerbing and guttering them.
Sydney Morning Herald 21 April 1870 p. 5; 10 February 1871 p. 1
Sydney Morning Herald 11 March 1871 p. 7
Sydney Morning Herald 15 January 1875 p. 5; 21 June 1877 p. 9
Australian Town and Country Journal 13 April 1878 p. 24; 6 April 1878 p. 24
Select Committee on Employment of Children, V & P NSWLA 1875-76, 6, pp. 871-931
Sydney Morning Herald 1 November 1888 p. 6
Sydney Morning Herald 12 October 1916 p. 6
Sydney Morning Herald 28 April 1888 p. 10