The 1850s saw the introduction of responsible government in Tasmania and the establishment of municipal administration, in the form of a general purpose locally-elected Council.

A court of fifteen commissioners was created by the Hobart Town Commissioners Act 1846, with the commissioners responsible for such things as paving and lighting throughout the city.

The first meeting of the Commissioners was held on 29 September 1846, but disputes soon began to arise between the colonial and civic authorities on the apportioning of revenues. Within a year the body of Commissioners was dissolved.

Municipal government was established by the Hobart Town and Launceston Municipal Council Act 1852. During this year the first elections for a seven-member council were held. The new council took office from the beginning of 1853, with William Carter as Mayor.

In 1857 the Municipal Council was incorporated (Hobart Town Corporation Act 1857), and its constitution and powers redefined.

Between 1853 and 1934 the Council was led by various mayors, elected annually. The title was raised to ‘Lord Mayor’ by Letters Patent issued by King George V in January 1934.

Further details of the history of Hobart, including its past Aldermen, is available in the historical reference Growing with Strength – a History of the Hobart City Council 1846 Council 2000.


Town Hall, Macquarie Street, Hobart GPO Box 503
Hobart TAS 7001

Jacqui Allen
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