Sutherland Shire Council - History of Councillors

COUNCILLORS of the Sutherland Shire 1906 and onwards 

In New South Wales, the Shires Act came into being in 1905. At that time, the Progress Association of Miranda (said to be one of only two in the Sydney region) became aware that this area was planned to be part of the Bulli Shire, and its members protested vigorously. So successful was their fight for recognition as an area having a local identity that, in less than a year, on 7 March 1906, the Government Gazette proclaimed our area as the Shire of Sutherland.

A provisional Council met for the first time on 18 June 1906, in the Miranda School of Arts. The eligible amongst the 1,500 population cast their votes and the first elected Council met in December 1906. It was comprised of Councillors William Judd (President), Robert W Cook, John Hill, Edward W Hyndman, Thomas Lehane and Charles McAllister. In 1993, a new NSW Local Government Act saw several terms changed: Shire Presidents became Mayors, Deputy Shire Presidents became Deputy Mayors, and Ridings became Wards. Those local governments with Aldermen saw them change to Councillors. In addition, Shire Clerks became General Managers. This brought about uniformity between Councils throughout NSW.

Over the decades, council has variously numbered from six to fifteen members and the Shire has been divided into three, five, six or seven areas (first known as Ridings, now Wards) for the purposes of elections. In earlier days, a term of office on Council lasted three years, but in 1983 the NSW State Government introduced a four-year local government term for the first time. In 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995 and again in 1999, Councillors were elected for a four-year term. The next election was due in September 2003 but the NSW government changed this to March 2004 and the subsequent election was held on 13 September 2008. The most recent election was held on 10 September 2016.

Currently, the Shire is divided into five Wards (A, B, C, D, E). The Council numbers fifteen, with three Councillors to each Ward. Every two years the Councillors choose one of their number to be Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the next two years. As can be seen from the list of Presidents/Mayors linked below, years of service as the Shire's number one citizen can vary from one year upwards. In the case of "Joe" Monroe, he served a total of twelve terms as President.

Councillors work largely in a voluntary capacity with a small remuneration and often give many years of service to the community. The longest serving Councillor to date has been Cecil "Joe" Monro with nearly 32 years, the second longest was Seymour Shaw with 26 years, and the third longest are Phil Blight and Kevin Skinner with 25 years of service. * In the lists which follow, an asterisk precedes the names of nine Councillors. These were the members of the 1929- 31 Council who resigned in toto on 23 August 1929, over "The Affair of the Bridge Passes" and were re-elected with big majorities on 5 October 1929 (refer to David R Kirkby's From Sails to Atoms, Chapter IX, available in the reference section of any of the Shire's libraries).

Researchers of local government history in Sutherland Shire can find more information at Local Studies, Central Library, cnr Belmont and Stapleton Street, Sutherland on 02 9710 0351. General enquiries may be made to Council on 02 9710 0333.

Historical List of Councillors of the Sutherland Shire - 1906 and onwards

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