City of Adelaide, South Australia


The First Council

The first local government in Australia was formed on 31 October 1840 with the election of a Mayor, three Aldermen and fifteen Councillors to the new Adelaide Corporation.

This followed a petition from the residents (totalling around 2000) for the "rights and privileges" of their own Council.

Quoting from the "History of the City of Adelaide" (Thomas Worsnop, Town Clerk 1869-1898)

"We may presume that the organisation of the new Civic powers was a subject of considerable satisfaction to the inhabitants , for almost all the prominent unofficial men in the colony were members of the first Council, and a very great expectations were formed as a result of their joint exertions."

The first Mayor was James Hurtle Fisher and the first Council meeting was held on 4 November 1840.

As settlers moved into more remote parts of the State, they were less motivated to form Councils, provided that the central government continued building railways and major roads to serve them.

As a result, the Government passed the 1887 District Councils Act which empowered it to form Councils without waiting for residents to take the initiative.