Book, The Chairman and Speaker's Guide; Edward Howell; Thomas Smith; 1882; 21.99


Port Macquarie Museum


Book, The Chairman and Speaker's Guide

About this object

This revised and updated edition of the Chairman and Speaker’s Guide by accountant Thomas Smith [1817-1906] was printed by Edward Howell, Liverpool, UK in 1876. It was given to Port Macquarie’s first Mayor James McInherney [1842-1916] by James Henry Young [1834-1908], Member and Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly on 30 May 1887.

The book includes information such as rules on convening and conducting meetings, the manner of electing or appointing a chairman, the chairman’s power and duties of office, and the rights and duties of the speaker.

Port Macquarie Municipal Council was the first local government formed in the area. It was gazetted on 15 March 1887 with the first Council elections held on 23 May 1887. At the time, Port Macquarie had a population of 900 with 118 people voting at the elections. The first election of six aldermen attracted 13 nominations and was contested by two rival factions, one of which was headed by James McInherney. The McInherney team was triumphant and McInherney lead the poll.

James McInherney was elected Mayor by his peers at the first Council meeting held on 7 June 1887. He was a grazier for most of his life, farming his Port Macquarie property "Settlement Farm". McInherney was remembered for wisely guiding the new municipality. It is likely that he used this book as his guide to fulfilling his role and to building a strong and effective group of aldermen.

McInherney was also known to be a friend and staunch supporter of James Henry Young, MLA, Member for Hastings and Manning and Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly at the time of the elections. It is not surprising that Young presented his friend with this book to inform and guide him in his new civic duties however, the book was given to McInherney a week after the Council elections and a week before he was elected as Mayor. It seems that J H Young was confident his friend would be elected to the role of Mayor.

Smith originally wrote the book to guide his fellow countrymen in governing Clubs, Societies, Committees, Councils, and Public Meetings: “…May you continue to cherish and to cultivate this rational, this equitable, this peaceful and manly method of adjusting your differences, of maintaining your rights, and of maturing and accomplishing your various designs...’ It is likely that J H Young found Smith’s words and the book inspirational and wanted to share them with his friend James McInherney.

A very small number of editions of this book are held in major library collections in Australia, however the hand-written inscription from James Henry Young to James McInherney inside this book makes it unique. It is a reminder of the beginnings of local government in Port Macquarie and of two men who contributed to local and State civic duties.

Debbie Sommers
10 December 2016


Thomas Smith

Maker Role



Edward Howell

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made


Place Notes


Medium and Materials

Paper, cardboard, linen

Inscription and Marks

Handwritten in ink on inside page: ‘James McInherney from J H Young Esq. M.P. Speaker L.A. May 30th 1887’


126 pages
170mm L
110mm W
6mm Deep

Credit Line

Donor: F Bailey

Object Type

Reference books

Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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