Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Stephen Styles Goold (1817–1876)

by Mark Lyons

This article was published:

Stephen Styles Goold (1817-1876), painter, contractor and political organizer, was born in Wiltshire, England, son of Moses Goold and his wife, née Styles. He migrated to Australia in 1841 and settled in Sydney. On 7 March 1843 at St James's Church of England he married Margery Balfour, an Irish housemaid. He helped to found the Loyal Orange Institution in 1845 and as an active Primitive Methodist became a prominent lay preacher and a trustee of the Kent Street Chapel. He achieved modest success in his trade as a painter and glazier and probably did some building and contracting as well.

After the attempted assassination of the Duke of Edinburgh, Goold joined the Protestant Political Association formed in March 1868. It sought the 'self defence and maintenance of Protestant principles' by securing the return of Protestants to parliament and the city council. Goold was active in the association especially when his own branch at Waterloo emerged as the centre of opposition to John Davies's attempts to force it to take sides in politics. Goold unsuccessfully opposed Davies for the presidency in November but they remained closely linked in politics. Goold began to campaign actively for municipal and parliamentary candidates who had the association's support and late in 1869 he became its paid itinerant organizer. In January 1870 he was elected grand master of the Loyal Orange Institution and established it in country districts where he also established agencies for its weekly Protestant Standard. With publicity by its editor, Rev. John McGibbon, and his own organizing abilities Goold built up the institution from 30 lodges and fewer than 3000 members in early 1870 to 120 lodges and over 16,000 members by the end of 1875 when ill health forced him to resign. In 1870-76 he represented Phillip ward in the Sydney Municipal Council. In 1871 he had been appointed a magistrate and in 1874 became mayor of Sydney. In December he won the seat of Mudgee in the Legislative Assembly. He retained a strong Evangelical antipathy for Roman Catholicism as an organized religion but was genuine in his charitable concern for Catholics as individuals. Rather than use his positions to advance the Protestant cause, he seems to have regarded them as signs of the increased respectability that his activities had brought him.

Aged 59 Goold died of hypostatic disease and debility on 28 August 1876, survived by his wife, a son and three daughters. He was buried in Camperdown cemetery by his old Orange friend, Rev. Zachary Barry. For a social aspirant with religious commitments, Goold's funeral was a fitting reward. Over 1000 people attended the graveside and the pall-bearers included the premier, the Speaker and the mayor of Sydney.

Select Bibliography

  • Australian Protestant Banner, 10 Nov, 4 Dec 1868
  • Freeman's Journal (Sydney), 1 Dec 1870
  • Protestant Standard, 25 Feb 1871, 2 Sept 1876
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Sept 1876.

Citation details

Mark Lyons, 'Goold, Stephen Styles (1817–1876)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 22 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Wiltshire, England


28 August, 1876 (aged ~ 59)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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