TOP SPOT: Bundaberg council's Mayoral Honour Roll lists Mr Lamb as one-time mayor.
TOP SPOT: Bundaberg council's Mayoral Honour Roll lists Mr Lamb as one-time mayor.

The man who was Bundaberg's mayor for three months

YOU might not have heard much about former Bundaberg mayor John Lamb.

In fact, even a Wikipedia entry on the city's mayors leaves his off the list of our esteemed leaders.

But for three months in the 1880s, John Lamb served as our second mayor.

Born in Kent, England in 1925, Mr Lamb came to Bundaberg at the age of 51.

According to newspaper records, he opened a shop on Bourbong St which was destroyed by fire.

In 1887, he built a bigger store at the corner of Targo and Burnett Sts.

Mr Lamb was well connected both in Australia and the UK and had served as alderman for many years.

A vice-president and trustee of the School of Arts, Mr Lamb was also twice elected president and was a member of the committee.

He was also a vice president at the hospital and a committee member there as well.


A walking stick presented to mysterious Bundaberg mayor John Lamb.
SPECIAL GIFT: A walking stick presented to former Bundaberg mayor John Lamb sits in a Bundaberg museum. Crystal Jones

If that wasn't enough, Mr Lamb was also a director of the Bundaberg Permanent Building Society and a trustee of the cemetery and other public services.

He is believed to have stood for various elected offices around 300 times and despite two election defeats, didn't give up.

It was in 1881 that Mr Lamb earned the title of mayor of Bundaberg.

Serving his time between first Bundaberg mayor Richard Ruddell and third mayor Walter Adams, Mr Lamb spent three months in the top job.

He was elected with just 42 votes on November 29, 1881, in an election featuring 11 candidates and 60 voters.

Mr Lamb was out of the role by February 1882.

He was replaced by Mr Adams, a fellow Englishman whose donation of land led to the building of Bundaberg's Shalom College.

When Mr Lamb left Bundaberg in 1899, The Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser wrote that many members of the community had expressed their regret at the loss of the one-time Chamber of Commerce member.

The town clark read an address from the people of the town, stating "we... take this formal means of bidding you adieu and are pleased to record our appreciation of your services to this town and district for a period extending over nearly a quarter of a century".

Mr Lamb responded by saying that leaving Bundaberg behind was a difficult decision as he had hoped to live the rest of his life in the city.

He assured his loyal community members that he may be gone in body, but would remain in spirit.

Mr Lamb was thanked for his kindness and good manner in both public and private life and presented with a number of souvenirs including an engraved, silver-mounted Malacca walking stick, a pair of spectacles and a first class ticket to Sydney - along with wishes that he'd find every happiness in his move interstate.

The walking cane can still be found in Bundaberg, at the Bundaberg and District Historical Museum.

It is on display at the museum at 6 Mt Perry Rd, in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens.

Mr Lamb died in 1906, and according to a copy of Brisbane newspaper The Telegraph, passed away on July 17 at the age of 82.

The paper listed Mr Lamb as an early settler of the region.

"News was received yesterday of death of Mr John Lamb, at Manly, Sydney, in his 82nd year," his death notice reads on July 18, 1906.

"He was one of the earliest residents of Bundaberg and carried on business as a general store keeper.

"He was for many years an active figure in public life, having been alderman for a long period and also mayor."