William Munro was born in 1812 at Ardisier, Invernesshire, Scotland, son of Finlay Munro and Alexandrina. Carpenter Munro arrived at Sydney on the James Moran in 1839. On 10 July 1852 he married Caroline Marsh at Christ Church St Laurence Sydney. He died at Forest Lodge on 7 March 1881, aged 67 years. There was a son, William John, of the marriage. Caroline Munro died on 5 November 1880, aged 58 years.
Occupation & interests
Munro first worked as a builder in Liverpool, and then on the Holy Trinity church at Singleton. Described as an architect from 1856, the construction of Roman Catholic churches was the basis of his practice between 1858 and 1868. From 1866 Munro began designing warehouses and residences and is especially remembered for his Presbyterian commissions: St Peters church and manse, North Sydney and St Andrews College, University of Sydney (1873-76). He left an estate valued at 25,000 pounds.
Munro lived on the corner of Glebe Road and St Johns Road, and at Forest House, Pyrmont Bridge Road from 1871 till his death. Forest House, generally known as Forest Lodge, built in 1836, remained in the Munro family until it was demolished about 1912. Munro bequeathed 175 issues of The Builder (London) to Glebe Free Library.
Local government service
William Munro moved Glebe Council in May 1870 to take steps to have Forest Lodge ward proclaimed within Glebe municipality. The ward, he considered would include the old Forest Lodge estate, and a small part of Grose Farm bounded by old and new Parramatta Road. Seven men nominated for the new Forest Lodge ward, in February 1871 with J H Seamer, Joseph Davenport and George Williams elected its first representatives. Munro with G W Allen and George Dibbs petitioned the government in 1871 regarding ‘the intolerable nuisance’ arising from the discharge of sewage matter into Blackwattle Bay.
Mark Edward Twynam Horn 1973, William Munro a report, B.Arch Thesis, Department of Architecture, University of NSW
Sydney Morning Herald 8 February 1865 p. 10; 6 February 1867 p. 3
Sydney Morning Herald 20 March 1870; 21 November 1870 p. 2
Sydney Morning Herald 8 March 1881 p. 1