Mrs Sarah English was the Lady Mayoress of the City of Adelaide (married to the Mayor) from 1862-1863.

Sarah English was born on 26 November 1820 in Workington, Cumberland, England to Margaret and John Brown. With her husband Thomas, Sarah arrived in Adelaide on 11 January 1850 aboard the barque Richardson. Thomas’s brother, James, was commander of the ship, and Sarah’s brother, Henry, also accompanied them. Sarah and Thomas had five children: Margaret Ann in 1851, Rachel Ann in 1853, Mary in 1855, Joseph Wallace in 1857, and Isabella Louise in 1859.

Thomas was a leading colonial architect in South Australia, Mayor of Adelaide from 1862 to 1863, and a member of the South Australian Legislative Council from 1865 to 1878 before the couple embarked on a holiday to England. He returned to hold the seat again from 1882 to 1884. Thomas died at their residence in Parkside on 17 December 1884. Sarah outlived her husband and two of her daughters. Mary died in 1886, and Isabella died a year later. Sarah died at her home in Parkside on 5 January 1891. She was 70. 

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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