History of Council

Local Government in Geelong has a very long and interesting history.

In the beginning...

Geelong became a Local Government entity under the Incorporation of the Town of Geelong Act (an Act of NSW Parliament) on 12 October 1849. In 1999 Geelong celebrated its 150th anniversary.

The Town of Geelong Act allowed the citizens of Geelong to elect their own Council and govern the local area. This happened before Victoria was proclaimed a State in 1851.

Communities developed in the surrounding areas which saw a number of Councils created in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Geelong and the surrounding region developed in leaps and bounds from this time.

Local government reform

Victoria's Local Government reform began in 1993 when the State Government introduced legislation to combine more than 200 small local Councils into 78 larger Councils (now 79).

Geelong was the first region to go through amalgamation. Six local Councils and part of a seventh (Barrabool) were formed into one large municipality called the City of Greater Geelong (18 May 1993).

The six previous Councils were:

  1. Bellarine Rural City Council

  2. Corio Shire Council

  3. Geelong City Council

  4. Geelong West City Council

  5. Newtown City Council

  6. South Barwon City Council

Between 1993 and 1995 the City of Greater Geelong was governed by four Commissioners. Appointed by the State, the Commissioners were paid Government representatives rather than Councillors elected by the people. Their key role was to oversee the smooth running of the amalgamation process.

Election of new councillors

Since that time the structure of the Council has undergone some significant changes. In March 1995, the new City of Greater Geelong held its first election.

Twelve Councillors were elected, with each Councillor representing one Ward.

Council restructure

In late 1997 the Council was restructured once more by the State Government. The second Council from 1998 was governed by nine Councillors.

There were five District Councillors elected by the whole population, and four Ward Councillors representing the people in a particular area of the municipality.

Ward review

In March 2001, the Council reverted to a twelve Ward system.

A further review took place in 2008 however the structure remained the same although ward boundaries were modified.

There were twelve Councillors, each representing one Ward and also one popularly elected Mayor. The popularly elected Mayor model was introduced in Geelong in 2012 following an amendment to the City of Greater Geelong Act 1993.  A further review of Council's ward boundaries and governance model is due in 2017.

Administrators appointed

In May 2016 Administrators were appointed following the dismissal of Council in April 2016.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2017