Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Political Brothers in Arms

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Political Brothers in Arms

Article excerpt

Byline: LOCAL HISTORY margaret henderson

OUR early civic leaders came from many different backgrounds and callings, much as they do today. However, few families could claim, as can the Simpson family, to have had three brothers elected to Casino council, each also having held the office of mayor.

Alexander James, Alfred Clarke and William George Simpson were three brothers who established themselves in Casino in the 1860s. Possibly Alfred was the first to arrive but his brothers followed soon afterwards. They had all been born in or near Sydney in the mid-1800s, the sons of Alexander and Rebecca Jane Simpson (nee McCammon).

Their father was a storekeeper. All brothers appear to have been saddlers as well as storekeepers and landowners. Alfred established a newspaper in Casino, which he later sold, and was also very interested in breeding race horses and draught horses. At one time he had a stud farm. Alexander was an exceptionally good horseman and won several prizes at local agricultural shows.

All brothers were interested in civic and community affairs. Alexander was elected to the first Casino council and became its mayor in 1882. Alfred and William later were also elected to Casino council and both spent several years as mayor. While Alfred and William remained in Casino, Alexander decided to try his luck in Lismore about 1884. This was perhaps brought about by the breakdown of his marriage in the early 1880s. He and his wife Margaret were divorced in 1887 (though the Record Office has recorded the final date as 1899). They had at least three children, born in the 1870s at Casino.

Alexander opened an ironmonger's store in Lismore, where he was also granted a licence to sell explosives and firearms. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace and became an auctioneer. …

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