John Fowler Out Gay Former Mayor Of South Sydney Dies Aged 69

John Fowler Out Gay Former Mayor Of South Sydney Dies Aged 69
Image: John Fowler and Former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally. Image: Wikicommons Johanssenfs

John Fowler, the former mayor of the City of South Sydney, passed away on September 29, at age 69.

Fowler, the first out gay mayor in Sydney, served as mayor from 2000 until 2002. South Sydney Council was merged with the City of Sydney Council in 2004.

First Council To Formally Recognise Gay And Lesbian Relationships

The South Sydney City Council was the first local government body in Australia to formally recognise gay and lesbian relationships. They created a partnerships register which allowed same-sex couples to formally register their relationships. 

During his mayorship, the Sydney Park AIDS Memorial Groves, a grove of Australian Native trees in Sydney Park, was unveiled.

Prior to being mayor, Fowler served as an independent councillor for the South Sydney Council from 1989.

Merged Into City Of Sydney

The former City of South Sydney consisted of the suburbs of Newtown, Darlington, Erskineville, Alexandria, Waterloo, Redfern, Woolloomooloo, Kings Cross, Potts Point Elizabeth Bay, and parts of Surry Hills.

Starting in 2002, piece by piece the suburbs in the City of South Sydney were transferred to the City of Sydney by New South Wales State Government.

In an article published by ABC at the time, Fowler called the merger a “poor decision.”

“It’s a poor decision because it does mean that a State Government, through a boundaries commission, could single-handedly alter the boundaries beyond the will or wish of the local community,” he said.

According to an Obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald, “John will be greatly missed by his family and his close friends who were an integral part of his life for many decades.

A memorial service will be held at St Thomas’ Anglican Church in Mulgoa on Monday, October 9 starting at 11am.

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One response to “John Fowler Out Gay Former Mayor Of South Sydney Dies Aged 69”

  1. John Fowler was a total gem: so far ahead of his times in so may ways.