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Former Toowoomba Mayor John Atkinson at one time held the title of Queensland wrestling champion.

He was elected Mayor in 1913 and a Toowoomba City Council alderman in 1907 and from 1910 to 1912.

A native of England, John Atkinson was born at Cumberland in England and came to Australia as a young manin 1878.

Soon after he arrived he made a name for himself by winning the wrestling championship of Queensland. He was first employed as a schoolteacher, but in the early 1880’s established a general business in Toowoomba.

His first shop was near the Imperial Hotel, Ruthven Street (demolished in 1971), and he later moved to premises where “Best and Less” is now located. [since relocated]

He carried on the business there until about 1905 when he handed it over to his two sons, Leslie and Percy, the former also being a member of the Toowoomba City Council.

John Atkinson took a keen interest in public affairs and stood for Parliament on two occasions, but without success. For many years he was a warden of St James’ Church of England and was also a member of the Masonic Lodge.

Throughout his life, he maintained a keen interest in wrestling and boxing and he was also a good debater and mathematician.

He died on May 19, 1943, aged 94. His sons, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren survived him.


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