Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Forgotten Mayor

The Forgotten Mayor

 The only South Australian Mayor not to have his portrait displayed in the Adelaide Town Hall, Joseph Clay Hall was Mayor of Adelaide in 1854 to 1855. He married Jane Youd and the couple had one daughter, Elizabeth.
Mr. Hall emigrated to South Australia from England around 1941 and worked as a share broker from the end of Rundle Street at Waterhouse Chambers. He lived in North Adelaide on Pennington Terrace in a home overlooking the park lands.

 Not much is known about Mr. Hall, his name doesn’t appear in a lot of the early literature about the politics of South Australia.
 There is a short blurb about him in P. Hosking’s “The Official Civic Record of South Australia: Centenary year, 1936” in which Mr. Hosking states the following about Mr. Hall’s political aspirations:

“There are, unfortunately, very few particulars available regarding Mr. Joseph Hall, who was the third person to fill the Chief Magistracy. He was first returned to the City Council on 12th October, 1852, as Alderman for Robe Ward, and in 1854 was elected Mayor.
 He occupied the Chair for a year, and afterwards, continued in February, 1857, when his death occurred.
 It is known that at the time of his demise he conducted the business of a broker in an office situated in what is now known as Waterhouse Chambers at the corner of King William and Rundle Streets, and that his private residence was on Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide.
 He was buried at West Terrace Cemetery.
 Mr. Hall’s age appears in the cemetery records as 54 years, while on the tombstone it is given at 51 years.” 

Mr. Hall’s name can also be found on the 1845 “Petition Against South Australia Becoming A Penal Settlement” which was a protest against the South Australian Colony who wanted to bring transported convicts into the settlement to help with labour shortages. South Australia is the only colony in Australia not settled by convicts. 

 Mr. Hall was known for his outrageous and unpredictable behavior. One recorded incident of his unpredictable behavior involved Mr. Hall running through the northern parklands in only his night shirt.
 His wacky behavior would eventually lead to his death.
In 1857 Mr. Hall was going through marriage difficulties and had separated from his wife, leaving their Pennington Terrace home to stay with his friend, Mr. Staines on Kermode Street.
 On the hot summer night of February 10th 1857, Mr. Hall had gathered a large crowd of onlookers to his antics. He was stationed on the balcony of his friends Kermode Street house.
 Dressed in his night shirt, trousers, boots and hat, he was running backwards and forwards along the balcony accusing the crowd below of conspiring to kill him.
 A man brought a ladder to the balcony and tried to bring Hall down, but to avail. Hal ran along the balcony and jumped off, landing on his feet, he began to frantically run around in circles all the while shouting for someone to take him home.
 He was eventually escorted by a Police Sergeant and a local Draper to the North Adelaide Police Station. After a few hours in the local cells, Hall became violently and uncontrollably ill.
 Doctors were called, but it was too late for Hall, who passed away in “a state of madness”..
 At the inquest, held at the nearby Scotch Thistle Hotel, George Thompson, one of the two men that had led Mr. Hall to the Police Station stated that he heard a cry of “police” at about 11pm on the evening of the ruckus.
 He saw a man take a ladder from the Police Station, and followed the man to Kermode Street where he saw Mr. Hall acting erratic on the balcony.

From Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), Saturday 14 February 1857, page 5 regarding evidence given by George Thompson:
 “The man who had the ladder went up and tried to persuade the deceased to come off the verandah. He could not succeed, and came down. Witness went up the ladder and said "Mr. Hall, you know me?" He replied, "Oh yes, Simon Fairlie, I know you very well." Endeavoured to persuade him to come down, but he would not do so. He then grasped witness by the hand very firmly, and witness caught hold of his leg. Was anxious to keep him if possible till someone assisted in taking him. He said "You won't let anyone kill me, will you?" Told him he would not, and tried to persuade him to come down. He said there was a man below who wanted to kill him, and if witness would make them all go away he would come down. Called for those below to go away, and almost at the same moment deceased pushed witness so sharply as nearly to throw him from the ladder. Saved himself by catching at the verandah. Witness ran along the verandah and jumped off. That must have been soon after 11 o'clock. Had known the deceased very well. He appeared more mad than intoxicated—really mad. Had not been aware of his habits—always thought him a particularly quiet sober man.
 The two Doctors that attended Mr. Hall in the weeks before his death, and his regular doctor gave evidence that Mr. Hall suffered from, and died from the effects of Delirium Tremens.
 Mr. Hall consumed large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, which would account for his often erratic behavior, and could possibly be the cause for his split from his wife and daughter.
 He consumed monumental amounts of alcohol in the seven weeks he had been separated from his family, and after the drinking ended, his body and mind began the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that equate to Delirium Tremens, and led to his insanity and death.

© 2016, Written and Researched by Allen Tiller – www.AllenTiller.com.au
1841 'Advertising', Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 - 1844), 23 March, p. 2. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71614315
1845 'MEMORIAL BY THE COLONISTS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA AGAINST THE INTRODUCTION OF CONVICTS.', South Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1844 - 1851), 14 February, p. 2. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71600655
1856 'Advertising', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 24 June, p. 4. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49746001
1857 'CORONER'S INQUESTS.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 14 February, p. 5. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158117739
 Hosking, P, 1936. The Official civic record of South Australia : centenary year, 1936 . 1st ed. Adelaide: Universal Publicity Company,.
Wikipedia. 2016. Delirium tremens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delirium_tremens. [Accessed 13 September 2016].