Harriet Bullock was Mayoress from 1891-1892. 

Early Life

Harriet Bowen, known to all as Hetty, was born in South Australia in 1853. She was the first child of Robert George Bowen and his second wife, also Harriet.

Hetty married Frederick Bullock in 1873. Like his father, Frederick became a successful real estate agent.

Hetty gave birth to eight children: Elma in1874, Harold in 1876, Winifred in 1878, Oliver in 1880, Royden in 1882, Leonard in 1886, Doris in 1888, and Hugh in 1889.For a time the family lived in Childers Street, North Adelaide, before moving to a property in Prospect which they named St. Helen’s.


Frederick was first elected to the City Council in 1884 and was Mayor of Adelaide from 1891 to 1892. 

One of Hetty’s first official engagements was a Christmas visit to the Magill Boys’ Reformatory and Industrial School, where according to The Advertiser ‘children from mere babies to those of ten years of age were seen’. The Mayoress gave books and lollies to the children. In early January 1892, she hosted her first reception, at St. Helen’s. This was to become a regular Friday event, but it appears that she became ill only a week later. The Advertiser reported:

Upon enquiry on Friday we learned that the Mayoress (Mrs F.W. Bullock), who has been indisposed for the past few days, is slightly better but still in great pain.

Hetty spent some time recovering in the country, but by the last weekend in April she was well enough to attend the Mayor’s Picnic, held at Belair National Park.  The presence of women at the picnic was considered a historic event. Most of the male guests were Freemasons and they considered the occasion to be a Lodge meeting.

Personal Note

Hetty died in 1910, just two months after the marriage of her eldest son Harold.  Her death notice published in The Register simply noted, ‘On the 9th September, at St. Helen’s, Prospect, Harriet, wife of FW Bullock’.

Frederick outlived his wife by 21 years. Hetty and Frederick were buried in North Road Cemetery; this plot is also the resting place of seven other family members.

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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