John Mountford

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Ald. John Graham Mountford was born in 1933 at Punchbowl. His father was a Scottish migrant and his mother an Australian with Irish parents. He was an Alderman for West Ward on Canterbury City Council from 1974 to 1980, being elected at a by-election that year. He was the first popularly elected Mayor in 1977-80, Mayors previously being elected by the Aldermen.1993.

He had his primary education at the local convent school of St. Jerome and for his secondary school he attended De La Salle College Marrickville, gaining the Intermediate Certificate in 1949. He is a qualified accountant with experience in private enterprise and government and is has been employed by the N.S.W. Department of Tourism as development officer.

Ald. Mountford had been greatly interested in the Labor Party from his childhood and in 1960 he joined the Punchbowl Branch to which his father had belonged in the 1940’s and of which he was secretary. He served as president of Lang Federal Electorate Council and Campaign Director for the Hon. F. E. Stewart, M.P. from 1969 until the abolition of the electorate in 1977. He was senior vice-president of the Banks Federal Electorate Council.

Ald. Mountford became interested in local government in his teens and when he joined the local progress association at aged 18, he immediately saw the need for a strong representation to enable local suburban dwellers to enjoy a high standard of living. Local government being closest to the people, provides those services with which they come into daily contact.

Ald. Mountford was elected unopposed to the Canterbury Council for West Ward at a by-election in April, 1974 and similarly at the 1974 September elections. In 1977 the Council adopted the separate election of the Mayor by the people which was won by Ald. Mountford by an absolute majority. He was also returned for West Ward.

In 1980 he was elected Member of the House of Representatives for Banks from 1980 to 1990, representing the ALP. He was employed as Canterbury Council's Development and Promotions Officer from 9 May 1990 until his retirement on 31 December.

Ald. Mountford believes that politics is an important element in local government as a political team can plan development on a long term basis and carry out essential works on a priority basis for the benefit of the whole Municipality. The need for long term planning is most necessary if people are to have their way of life positively improved.

The mayoress, Valerie Mary Mountford (nee Johnstone) lived at Canterbury prior to her marriage. She was born at Annandale and lived at Stanmore for most of her childhood. She was educated at St. Michael’s Convent School Stanmore and worked as a stenographer with the Sydney County Council and Bankstown Council. Mrs. Mountford was interested in welfare work and was the secretary of the Ladies Conference of the Punchbowl St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Sources

Larcombe FA "Change and challenge: a history of the municipality of Canterbury, NSW", Canterbury Municipal Council: Campsie, 1979.