"The clippings were found during a clean out of the 130-year-old building, which now houses the City of Sydney council chamber and administrative officers.
For decades the tuft had been stored in the Town Hall vault along with a letter that identified them as belonging to Napoleon and countless other gifts and relics accumulated over the years.
Margaret Betteridge, the curator of an exhibition of the curios uncovered in the building, said it was a mystery how the tiny swatch of light-brown hairs ended up in Australia, more than 8,000 miles from where Napoleon died in St. Helena in 1821, and how it made its way to the Town Hall.
"We don't know how it got here," she said. "But it doesn't look like it is the sort of thing that someone would fake."
While the hair has not yet been DNA tested to prove that it belonged to the deposed French emperor, the accompanying letter made a good case for its authenticity, she said.
In the letter, a Scotsman named Ned Todd explains that he was given the hair by a woman whose brother, a Major William Crockat, had been present at Napoleon's death.
"If I mistake not she said that her brother (Major Crockat) had himself cut the lock from the head of the illustrious dead," he wrote.
Miss Betteridge said it was known that Napoleon's hair was cut after his death and that Crockat appeared in a painting depicting the death scene.
Two years of renovations to improve the Town Hall have uncovered scores of strange objects stored in underground vaults.
The most valuable piece is likely to be a large Sevres vase, a gift from France following Sydney's hosting of an international exhibition in 1879."
"Tant que les Français constitueront une Nation, ils se souviendront de mon nom."