Arthur John Spain was a two time Mayor of Northcote, serving in 1956/7 and again in 1965/66. Born to Leslie and Clara (nee McIntosh) Spain in 1916, Arthur lived most of his life in Northcote and Thornbury. He attended both Helen and Hutton Street Primary Schools before attending Collingwood Technical College.
After working for a time for the Northcote Leader Arthur found employment in one of the many shoe manufacturers around Northcote. For the next twenty five years he worked in a number of supervisory roles within the shoe industry before taking on the role of rate collector for the City of Collingwood.
From an early age he showed an interest in the Labor Party and joined it in 1932 at the tender age of 16. Arthur had a strong sense of community spirit and this was reflected in the large number of community organisations in which he played a part. As a member of the Hutton Street State School Committee Arthur served over ten years as President, this was as well as his role on the Committee of Batman Kindergarten, President of the Northcote Cricket and Baseball Club, Secretary of the Batman’s Old Mans Retreat and President of the Croxton Youth Club.
Despite failing to get elected in the 1951 Council elections Arthur did not give up his political aspirations and tried again the following year. This time he was successful, defeating former Mayor Alby Peters.
In 1956 Arthur was elected Mayor, just in time for the Melbourne Olympic Games. In his capacity as Mayor of Northcote he got to meet several of the Olympic Teams including the Pakistan and Jamaican Teams in company with Douglas Nicholls (later Sir Douglas Nicholls, Governor of South Australia).
For most of his time as Councillor, Arthur was elected unopposed and in 1965/66 he was again elected Mayor.
As the Council representative on the Board of Works Committee Arthur was instrumental in getting Northcote a new public baths in McDonnell Park. He later thought that was his greatest achievement as Councillor (the baths are still there today). Arthur died in 1970.
Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.
CR. SPAIN IS MAYOR AGAIN FOR SECOND TIME. (1965, unknown) Northcote Leader (Melbourne, Vic: 1888 - ), p. 1.
ARTHUR'S THERE TO DO THE PEOPLE'S BIDDING. (1969, Jan 22.) Northcote Leader (Melbourne, Vic: 1888 - ), p. 6.