Philip Coleman Williams was born on 23 June 1830 at Bodmin, Cornwall, England, son of John P.Williams and Grace. He married Mary Louise Gill on 24 October 1852 at Bodmin, Cornwall, and arrived in Sydney on the Meteor on 3 July 1853.There were nine children of the marriage. He died at Penbeagle, Forest Lodge on 26 March 1911, aged 80 years. Mary Williams died 28 March 1914, aged 86 years.
Occupation & interests
Williams moved to Glebe Street on Bishopgate Estate, became a parishioner of Thomas Smith’s St Barnabas Church from 1858, and later its representative at Synod. Variously described as a joiner, carpenter and builder from 1863, by the 1870s he was trading as an ironmonger and oil and colourman on Parramatta Road, Glebe. A son, Phillip, later joined the ironmongery as a partner.
During early local building activities he clashed with William Jarrett and was convicted of assaulting him in 1856. Ironically he defeated Jarrett for a seat on Council in February 1875. The names of Williams’ Hereford Street residence, Penharwood from 1885, and Penbeagle on corner of Derwent Street and Old Parramatta Road from the 1890s reflected the Cornish roots of Phillip and Mary Williams.
Local government service
Philip Coleman Williams, as an alderman in 1875 was involved in discussions about the continuing ‘nuisance’ that Blackwattle Swamp represented to heavily populated neighbourhoods nearby, and highlighted by the detailed published reports of the Sydney Sewage and Health Board. Their vivid reports changed official perceptions and popular attitudes about Sydney’s sanitation.
P C Williams, ‘Reminiscences of Old Sydney’, Descent Vol. 16 No. 4 (1986) pp. 170-74
Empire 14 January 1856 p. 3
Sydney Morning Herald 1 February 1875 p. 8
V & P NSWLA 1875, Vol. 4
Sydney Morning Herald 12 June 1889 p. 3
Sydney Morning Herald 3 April 1908 p. 10
The Star 24 July 1909
Australian Town and Country Journal 28 July 1909 p. 37