Australia’s earliest Local Government

Australia’s earliest Local Government

Australia currently has 564 local councils, although with amalgamation on the agenda that number is likely to change.

But where was the first council, and when was it established?

extra August pic

Australia’s first council had 19 members, of which 4 were Aldermen. The Mayor was chosen from one of these.

It was established in 1840 in Adelaide, created under the name of the Adelaide Corporation. It only lasted 3 years before it was disbanded, and government of the area reverted back to the colonial government.

The first Mayor of Adelaide (and hence the first Mayor in Australia) was James Hurtle Fisher, who was also the first SA resident to be knighted. Hurtle Square in Adelaide is named after him.

At the time of the Council’s establishment, the population of Adelaide was just 8,480, and 1,615 buildings existed in the city.

While Adelaide is known as the “City of Churches” it was perhaps better known as the “City of Pubs” because of the 1615 buildings, about 60 of them were hotels, all within a square mile. (by 1842 over 75 hotel licenses had been granted, and by 1844 there was, on average, one hotel for every 152 people)

It is thought that Adelaide’s grid layout of streets made it especially attractive to develop “corner hotels.”

Subscribe to our blog (on your right) or follow us on Twitter @dotid for more fun facts about Australia’s local government areas and councils.

Access population statistics for Australia, States, Capital Cities, Local Government Areas and suburbs at .id’s demographic resource centre.
.id the population experts


Tags: Fun stuff
Jim - ideas, observations and handy shortcuts

Jim has been a member of the .id team since early 2010, following 10 years as a Director in local government and prior to that, many years at IBM. Jim is also a former .id client and recognised the value of .id’s tools in council decision making. He decided to join .id to help spread the word! He manages .id’s local government clients in Queensland and South Australia, helping them to use .id’s tools for informed strategy and policy decisions. Outside work, Jim enjoys learning Spanish, travel (especially to Spanish speaking locales) and collects the odd car or two…

Leave a Reply