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24 December 1838 Councils

24 December 1838     Councils

On 24 December 1838 James Hurtle Fisher wrote to John Rundle, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, requesting that elective municipal institutions should be given to towns as they reached a population of 2000. Following this the first common council of Adelaide was elected on 31 October 1840 and was the first Local Government body in Australia. There were nineteen members who chose four Aldermen with one of these to be Mayor. Fisher was elected to this position. Revenue was limited and rates difficult to collect as the colony was entering a depression period. Governor Grey considered the creation of a council premature and wound it up with the council becoming legally defunct in September 1843. Its most significant contribution to Adelaide was the purchase, for 12 shillings, of Town Acre 203, on the corner of King William and Pirie Streets, although it was many years before the Town Hall was built. The government ran the city affairs until 1849 when Governor Sir Henry Fox Young set up a City Commission to administer the city government. With improvements in the economy the City Corporation was revived and began its administration on 1 June 1852. The office of Mayor was raised to the stature of Lord Mayor in 1919.

South Australia: The Civic Record 1836-1986, Wakefield Press, 1986, p.32.

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