William Moffitt was born about 1802 in Liverpool, England. On 24 December 1827 in Sydney, he married Mary Anne Galliott (d.1873) a free immigrant aged 16, and had six children. He died at Sydney on 31 July 1874, aged 72.
Occupation & interests
William Moffitt was apprenticed as a bookbinder in Liverpool. In 1823 he was sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing tea and arrived in Sydney on the Guildford on 25 July 1827. At the end of his sentence, he set himself up at 8 King Street as a stationer, bookseller, engraver and copperplate printer. His beautiful detailed engravings were in demand by Sydney’s businessmen including the publican of the Talbot Inn. In 1833 he moved to 2 Pitt Street and became the publisher of the Australian Sheet Almanack, 1834–35 and 1838, the Australian Diary and Almanack, 1837–46, and the NSW Calendar and General Post Office Directory 1837–46. He became very wealthy, invested in city property, and in 1842 made a return visit to England. The convict turned millionaire bookseller introduced plate glass to his shopfront business which eventually became WC Penfold & Company.
Moffitt was Director of the Australian Joint Stock Bank. He was Co-founder in 1836 of the Australian Lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows.
Local government service
William Moffitt stood unsuccessfully for Council in 1844 but was elected Councillor for Bourke Ward from 2 November 1849 until 31 October 1853 when the Council was replaced by Commissioners.
L. F. Fitzhardinge, ‘Moffitt, William (1802–1874)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/moffitt-william-2464/text3299, accessed 17 December 2012.
City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files
Leichhardt Historical Journal Volume 2
State Records Office: Probate records