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Benjamin Palmer, Hotelier, Liverpool Arms, Sydney, New South Wales (circa 1830s-?)

B. Palmer Token Penny

Image: B. Palmer Token Penny

Source: Museum Victoria

In the Museum Victoria Catalogue, Sharples estimates that Palmer's tokens were issued circa 1857. The token bears the symbol of the city of Liverpool, a bird holding an olive branch in its mouth, standing on a piece of rope.

Benjamin Palmer is listed as the publican of the Liverpool Arms Hotel between 1855 and 1867. Sydney directories were surveyed between 1851 and 1870 for Museum Victoria's Trade Tokens Project. B. Palmer was first listed as a publican in Ford's 1851 Directory at 'The Swan with Two Necks Tavern' on the corner of Park and George Streets South. In 1855 he was listed as the publican of the Liverpool Arms, then located at 78 Pitt Street. He first appears at the address given on his tokens, the corner of Pitt and King Streets, in Sands' Sydney Directory for 1858.

Samson's National Directory of New South Wales for 1867-1868 included a listing for 'Palmer, B., Liverpool Arms 225 Pitt St, p.r. 30 Upper William St. North'. Palmer's private residence was in William Street between 1863 and 1867: 1863-21 William St.; 1864-189 William St.; 1865-1867: William Street Upper.

In 1868 John Benjamin Moore was listed as the publican at the Liverpool Arms. Benjamin Palmer was not listed in Sands' directory for that year, or the years up to 1870. No advertising material for Palmer or the Liverpool Arms has been located as part of this survey.

Records located in the City of Sydney Archives website suggest that this Benjamin Palmer may have been a long serving alderman of Sydney (1870 to 1893), and Mayor of Sydney 1875-1876. It appears that as part of his duties, Palmer was the man who opened Sydney's famous town hall. The City archives include a photograph of the inscription commemorating the opening of Sydney Town Hall in 1876, which reads 'Opened July 1st 1876 / Benjm. Palmer/ Mayor'. Further research would be required to confirm his identity. The City of Sydney provides the following summary of Palmer's service to his community:

"Benjamin Palmer (born 1828, died 1893) Alderman for Brisbane Ward, 1 December 1870 to 5 October 1893. He was a publican. Palmer was Mayor in 1875-1876. He was the City member on the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage, 1888-1893 and a Justice of the Peace. He was born on 19 April 1828 and died on 5 October 1893. Photos: Council Record Series 54/3; 54/399; 54/412; 54/468; 54/475; 54/523; 54/532; Town Hall Collection 88/942; and Alderman Folder (Council Archives)."

It seems very likely that the alderman and Mayor was the same man, as his occupation was given as publican, and Benjamin Palmer of the Liverpool Arms was the only man of that name listed in Sydney directories between 1851 and 1870.

References:
Sampson's National Directory of New South Wales for 1867-1868.
Sydney Directories in the collection of the State Library of Victoria, 1851-1870.
Portrait and Biography of Benjamin Palmer, undated, City of Sydney Archives, Citation NSCA CRS 54/4, web page http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/ArchivesWeb/scripts/ExtSearch.asp?SearchTerm=000440/
Unknown photographer. "Inscription commemorating Opening of the Town Hall, 1 July 1876, by Mayor Benjamin Palmer", Collection of the City of Sydney Archives, Citation NSCA CRS 46/1/39. http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/ArchivesWeb/scripts/ExtSearch.asp?SearchTerm=005923

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