Celebrating Local Government Week
Online History Exhibition
Local Government Week is an opportunity for reflect on the rich and diverse history of the Marrickville Local Government Area, one of the oldest councils in the Sydney metropolitan area.
Today Marrickville Council employs over 500 people. Back in the 1860s Marrickville Council was a very different operation. The Council Clerk and the Inspector of Nuisances were the sole officers of Council. The Council Clerk's main function was to regulate Council proceedings and also act as the Overseer of Works, Rate Collector and Property Valuator.
The Council offices opened 4 hours per week between 3-5pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Council only met 4 times a year and the first by-laws of the Marrickville Municipality, gazetted on 26 April 1862, stated that these meetings would be held at noon on the last Saturday in the month of January, April, July and October.
As the population of the area grew so did the functions of Council. By 1882 there were 1,935 ratepayers and 1,400 houses. Council revenue was 2,921 pounds annually. Council employed the Council Clerk, the Inspector of Nuisances and an Overseer of Works. There were also about 60 - 80 people employed doing road and street maintenance.
The Council offices were open longer hours from 9am to 4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 7pm to 9pm every Wednesday. The largest increase in workload was to the elected alderman, who now had to attend meetings every second Monday at 7.30pm.
The first public park in the original Marrickville Municipality was proclaimed on 4 May 1886 as Marrickville Park (now Enmore Park). Marrickville Council began to employ gardeners. The majority of parks were created in the first half of the 20th century.
During the 1890s local development increased dramatically and new positions were created such as the Foreman of Works to assist the Overseer and the Pound Keeper, who had the responsibility of impounding stray horses, cows and sheep.
Today there are jobs at Council that would never have been imagined in the 19th and early 20th century. Some jobs such as Inspector of Dairies and horse trough cleaner disappeared when the need for these type of jobs no longer existed. Other jobs have remained basically the same; only the technology is different.
This small exhibition gives a glimpse into the history of Council operations. Photographs can be purchased in electronic form - please contact the Marrickville Historian at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Take a trip now back in time: