WISEMAN, William John (1842-1922)

William John Wiseman was a very influential and significant man in the development of the public life of Wollongong in the late 19th Century. 

During his life, he played integral roles in helping to introduce and enhance various institutions and facilities including the railway, Court House and Port Kembla breakwater. He was an alderman for the town for 60 years and served as Mayor for one or two terms. For a period of time he served as Vice President and then President of the A. H & I. Association. He was a trustee of the District Hospital and Stuart Park and a member of the Harbour Board that at one time controlled Wollongong Habour. He had strong connections with Wollongong Methodist Church and through this filled many public offices.

In his later years, he stepped back from public works and in recognition of his efforts throughout the years, a drinking fountain was erected in his name at the entrance of Stuart Park with the inscription;

'Erected by his fellow citizens as a mark of appreciation of the valuable public service given to the town and district during a period of 50 years by Mr William J. Wiseman JP, 20 February 1918.'

Later, Wiseman himself commissioned another plaque at the declaration of peace and this was placed on the fountain in commemoration.

He died in his residence on Monday, 16th January 1922 at the age of 80.


On Monday the death occurred at his residence 'Hillside,' Wollongong, ol Mr. W. J. Wiseman, aged 80. For many years he played an active part in the public lite of Wollongong, and was an alderman of the town, for about 60 years, and Mayor on many occasions. Practically every institution in the town has had the help of his services at one time or another.

Up to the day ol his death he was a trustee of the District Hospital, and for a long term he was a trustee of Stuart Park. He played a prominent part in securing many of the facilities which the town of Wollongong to-day, including the railway, Court House, etc., and was also one of the active workers towards securing the Port Kembla breakwater. He was a member of the Harbour Board which at one time controlled Wollongong Harbour. His connection with the Wollongong Methodist Church dates back over a lengthy period, and in connection therewith he filled many public offices.

Advancing years compelled him to relinquish public duties some years ago, and money was publicly subscribed lor the purpose of fittingly recognising his public services. To carry out this objective a drinking fountain was erected at the entrance to Stuart Park which, contains an appropriate inscription. Subsequently, when peace was declared, at his own expense the late Mr. Wiseman had a suitable inscription placed on the fountain to commemorate the event. During the past few years he lived in retirement, advancing years weighing heavily upon him.

The late Mr. Wiseman was twice married, and he leaves a grown up family by the first marriage, and a widow to mourn their loss Alderman F. O. Wiseman, and Mr. W. J. Wiseman, of Wollongong, are sons of the deceased.

The funeral on Wednesday was largely attended, representatives of all the public bodies of Wollongong being present. The coffin was taken from the late residence of the deceased to the Methodist Church where a short service was conducted by the Rev. R. J. Williams, assisted by the Rev. W. W. Danks, of -Bulli.  The Rev. R. J. Williams referred to part played by the late Mr. Wiseman in the civic and religious life of the town. The deceased, he said, was a strong man, who did not take his opinions ready made from other men, but formed his own judgments, and held to them undismayed by opposition. It was a very fine testimony after all his years of public life, to hear of his unblemished character his fine business reputation, and civic integrity.

The service at the graveside was also conducted by the Rev. R. J. Williams.

At a meeting of the Wollongong A.H. and I. Association on Tuesday night, the President, Mr. M. A. O'Donnell, moved the adjournment of the meeting out of respect to the memory of the late Mr. Wiseman, who was connected with the Society for a lengthy period.

Illawarra Mercury. 20 January 1922, p5



The death occurred on Monday of Mr. W. J. Wiseman, at his residence, 'Hillside,' Wollongong. For some years he had been compelled, on account of his health, to give up all part in affairs. In business (wheelwright) he early achieved a success which gave him many years of leisure, which he devoted very largely to public and church work.

He was many years a member of Wollongong Council, and had one or two terms as Mayor, most notable service to. the district was perhaps saving the frontages of Lake Illawarra from being gifted to the Illawarra Land and Harbor Corporation, now very much liquidated. Mr. Wiseman, on learning that the bill conferred property in harbor making at the Lake which included frontages on the proposed company, organised a petition against, which was successful. Mr. Wiseman is represented in the community by descendants who are worthy successors. Mr. Wiseman was a native of the Maitland district, but came to Wollongong in boyhood.

At a meeting of the committee of the A. H. and I. Association on Tuesday evening, the president, Mr. M. A. O'Donnell moved a vote of condolence; and also the adjournment of the meeting. Mr. Wiseman, he said, had been president and vice-president of, the Association, and had done great service. The meeting adjourned.

The funeral to the Methodist Cemetery took place on Wednesday afternoon.

South Coast Times. 20 January 1922, p9.


Wiseman Recognition, Fountain
Wedding Announcement
William John Wiseman (1842-1922)
"Hillside", home of W J Wiseman c1903 at 12 Edward St, Wollongong. Rear elevation
"Hillside", home of W J Wiseman c1903 at 12 Edward St, Wollongong. Front elevation

Wiseman Recognition - Fountain
Illawarra Mercury, Fri 22 Feb 1918 

Image sourced:

J. Moore. August 2017