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Randwick: 150 years of local government

Early council meetings were held in the Borough Chambers

Early council meetings were held in the Borough Chambers


  • Premier of NSW and Colonial Secretary, Henry Parkes, introduces the Municipalities Bill.


  • Municipalities Act 1858 passed through Parliament on 27 October. On 28 October, Randwick lodges a petition containing 70 signatures seeking incorporation as a local government area. On 12 November the petition, one of the first lodged under the Act, is officially gazetted in NSW Government Gazette.


  • 22 February: a proclamation signed by the Governor, Sir William Denison and the Premier, Charles Cowper, proclaims Randwick a Municipality.
  • 29 March: the first Council elections are held.
  • 1 April: the first Council meeting held and the following are declared elected to the Borough Council:
    o S.H. Pearce (Chairman)
    o John Thompson
    o S. Hebblewhite
    o C. Kidman
    o W. Hanson
    o W. Ellis


  • Borough Chambers erected at the cost of 700 pounds.


  • Petition presented to the Governor proposing that Coogee secede from Randwick. The petition included many prominent names in colonial history: Charles Moore; Anthony Hordern; John Thompson and Charles Kidman. The petitioners felt that "they had been labouring under a great disadvantage from being connected with Randwick Municipality". The secession was unsuccessful because of the introduction of the Municipalities Act of 1867, which proposed certain conditions under which Coogee could not qualify.
  • System of plurality voting is introduced allowing voters from one to four votes according to assessed annual value of property.


  • Municipality divided into two wards, Randwick and Coogee.


  • Three wards proclaimed within the Municipality: West, Middle and Coogee.


  • Council committees first organised with Finance, By-law and General Purposes Committees being formed.


  • Town Hall erected at cost of 2,080 pounds.


  • Council labourers "were graciously allowed to terminate their toil on Saturday at 1:00 PM and were also paid for Christmas Day".
  • Council regulated bathing hours at the beach:
    o Ladies - up to 9 am and after 5 pm
    o Gentlemen - up to 8 am and after 5 pm.


  • Council now employs three salaried officials:
    o Council Clerk
    o Overseer
    o Inspector of Nuisances


  • Assistant Clerk appointed for the first time. Council campaigns for reduced tram fares and eventually secures a penny reduction.


  • Period in Council's history until 1909 when meetings are known as the Randwick Rumpus. Meetings are described as having "the character of variety entertainments".


  • The Council Clerk, Bedford, is dismissed for misappropriation of funds.


  • Council granted the request of motorist, A. Shadler, to run his electric motor through the borough.


  • Reunion of past and present aldermen held at the Council Chambers. Those in attendance included 11 former mayors and 25 others, including the sitting aldermen and Members of Parliament.


  • Plurality system of voting abolished and franchise extended to occupier as well as owner of properties. Annual elections abolished and all aldermen retire at the end of the three year term.


  • Population of municipality reaches 19,098.


  • Population of municipality reaches 66,000.


  • The Coogee Shark Proof Enclosure is opened. Admission is 1d (one penny) per person.


  • Randwick Council undertook the first post-war enquiry on housing by an Australian local authority.


  • Government introduced system of proportional representation and insisted upon compulsory voting at local elections.


  • Council proposes to pay a wage of five pounds to Aldermen.


  • Council introduces a garbage collection service for residents.


  • Population of Randwick municipality reaches 101,000. Mayor of Randwick is chosen by popular election rather than by fellow aldermen.


  • Voluntary system of voting restored in Local Government elections. Resulted in large drop in number of voters in Randwick:
  • 1965: 75.3 per cent
  • 1968: 26.8 per cent


  • Local Government Act amended to reintroduce election of mayor by fellow aldermen.


  • Council receives permission from the Minister for Local Government to adjust boundaries of three wards.


  • Randwick Council dismissed and an administrator is appointed.


  • 208 hectares of land reclaimed from Botany Bay are added to the Municipality of Randwick.


  • Compulsory voting is reintroduced in Local Government elections.


  • New Randwick Municipal Council elected by the people and a mayor appointed. Administrative Centre in Frances Street opened.


  • Population of Randwick Municipality reaches 113,871 (1986 Census).


  • Extension to Administrative Centre is opened by the Mayor, Ald. John Scullion, on 21 September.


  • 1 July, Randwick Municipality is proclaimed a City.


  • Population of the City reaches 115,231 (1991 Census).


  • First woman mayor, Margaret Martin, is elected.


  • From 1 July, under the new Local Government Act, elected members of the council are referred to as Councillors, instead of Aldermen. The Town Clerk is renamed the General Manager.