Noel Reidy was elected as Mayor of Willoughby for a record 15 times between 1975 and 1991. A telecommunications engineer with the Post Master General’s Department, his transfer to the Lower North Shore in 1964 resulted in the Reidy family settling in Castle Cove.
Noel joined the Castle Cove Progress Association and through his involvement there, he was pressured to stand for council and was elected as an alderman in 1971.1 He was elected as mayor in 1975 and re-elected each year until 1980, when he stood down to devote more time to his young family.2 Fellow alderman Richard Gartrell (who served on council from 1975 to 1978) recalls:
Noel Reidy was an outstanding mayor and the best chairman I have ever seen. He would listen to a debate going backwards and forwards for what seemed like ages, then brilliantly sum up the key issues in a few sentences. It was under his leadership that council really started to work properly.3
Dissatisfaction with the drift in council affairs after 1980 brought pressure on Reidy to stand again for the position of mayor and he was elected from 1983 and in each subsequent year until 1990. He presided over a period of rapid change in Willoughby as the Chatswood commercial centre developed into the largest retail centre outside the Sydney CBD, the Chatswood Mall and Transport Interchange were developed, the Bicentennial Reserve project was opened in 1988 and the City of Willoughby was proclaimed by the Governor of NSW in 1989. In 1990, Reidy was awarded the prestigious Bluett Award for Local Government in recognition of his services.4
1 North Shore Times, 10 October 1990, ‘Noel’s 15th term as mayor.
2 North Shore Times, 8 September 1982, ‘Reidy mayor again’.
3‘McKillop, RF, Managing Waste: an environmental history of Flat Rock Creek and the Willoughby Incinerator, 1900-2011. Castlecrag, MWA International for the WDHS, 2012, p. 59.
4 North Shore Times, 10 October 1990, ‘Noel’s 15th term as mayor.