Elizabeth Bundey was Mayoress of Adelaide between 1883-1886.

Early Life

Elizabeth Bundey was born on 27 February 1822 in Wiltshire, England, to Jane née Ingram and Christopher Brandis. On 12 June 1848, Elizabeth – known to all as Betsy – married William Bundey at St James Church in Paddington, London. William was a carpenter who had just completed his apprenticeship. Soon after their wedding the couple migrated to South Australia.

In 1851 Betsy gave birth to her first child, a daughter whom the couple named Fanny, but the baby died the following year. Another daughter was born in 1851, and again named Fanny. In 1853 Lucy was born, but she died in 1855. Their first son, George was born in 1857, and two years later another child was born, also named Lucy. Sadly, this Lucy also died, in 1861. In 1862 Betsy gave birth to one more child, a daughter whom they called Annie.

But more tragedy was to follow in later years. In December 1873 Fanny died, aged 22, after giving birth to a son. Just one year earlier she had wed William Binks, the son of a Wesleyan minister. The marriage was celebrated at Fanny’s parents’ house in McKinnon Parade, North Adelaide, after which the young couple went to live in Victoria. After the death of his wife, Binks moved to New Zealand where he remarried in October 1875. He died just four months later.


Betsy and William were Wesleyans, attending a small church in Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, and they were strong supporters of the temperance movement.

William was elected to the City Council in December 1861 and was Mayor of Adelaide from 1883 to 1886.

In 1867, William was one of the City Councillors who formally presented a silver cradle to the then Mayor Henry Fuller, on the birth of Henry and his wife Amelia’s seventh child. Amelia had also lost a child one year before, and one can’t help wondering if Betsy had some influence in the gift.

Personal Note

Betsy was at home on the evening of 2 April 1889, when she received the shocking news of her husband’s sudden death. William had been attending a wedding celebration of the daughter of an associate at the North Adelaide Institute. William had just finished delivering a speech when he suffered a fatal heart attack.

Betsy died at home on 11 July 1896, survived by her children Annie and George. Betsy and William are both buried in the Walkerville Wesleyan Cemetery.

By Cheryl Williss, HerStory Project

The HerStory project came about to recognise and celebrate the lives and the achievements of Women’s work in South Australia and was initiated in 2015 on the 175th anniversary of the City of Adelaide, by Genevieve Theseira-Haese, Lady Mayoress of Adelaide. The stories collected offer a unique perspective of Adelaide and South Australia that form a different history to what is often heard. This community built initiative is supported by the City of Adelaide and the History Trust of South Australia.

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