Joshua Bannister was a general and wholesale produce merchant and commission agent, trading as Joshua Bannister & Co. He took over the premises of John Warren in Gheringhap Street Geelong in 1882. By 1884 he was advertising that he could sell chaff cheaper than others in Geelong could sell hay.
He was a South Barwon councillor, serving from 1886 until 1888. He lived at "Holmwood" Highton. In a meeting to address ratepayers before the election he pointed out the necessity for street lighting, especially in the vicinity of Belmont. He was in favour of making the streets and asphalting the footpaths in order to induce the residents of Geelong to live in the district. He said he was also in favour of tree planting. In 1886 after resigning from his council position at South Barwon Shire he nominated to stand as a candidate for the Villamanta ward of the Geelong council. He served from 9 November 1893 until his death.
He was well known breeder of high class trotters. He was a vice president and captain of Corio Bay Rowing Club, vice president of the Geelong and District Coursing Club, president of the Geelong Recreation Club (previously the Yorick Club) and a member of the Mopokes (became part of the Yorick Club).
In March, 1891 his produce store on the south east corner of Gheringhap and Little Malop Streets was extensively damaged by fire. Although the value of the stock and buildings was estimated at £5,400, the insurance cover was only £2,600.
A clearing sale of trotting sires, brood mares and young stock took place at Kirk's Bazaar on 12 July 1907.
He died on 25 September 1907 at a Sydney Sanatorium. He was buried in the lawn section of the Geelong Western Cemetery. The funeral was attended by a large number, including the mayor and councillors of the town. He left an estate of £11,945 to his widow, Jessie Page, relatives and friends. Jessie died on 4 December 1938.
A sale of city properties was held in 1917. The produce business was taken over by Robert Lyall & Son.
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