ESTABLISHED IN 1840, THE CITY OF ADELAIDE IS THE OLDEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT BODY IN AUSTRALIA. It covers the original city centre settlement, North Adelaide and the parklands that surround them.
Adelaide’s (and Australia’s) first mayor was James Hurtle Fisher, who had arrived on the Buffalo in 1836 as resident commissioner: second in charge to the governor and responsible for selling public land, according to Wakefield’s plan, in the colony.
The first Adelaide Corporation of 1840 only last three years due to hostility from governor George Grey and lack of revenue in the colony’s first economic crisis. It was restored in 1852.
The number of aldermen and wards and method of electing a mayor have varied. In 1919, by royal letters patent, the office of mayor was raised to lord mayor, who is now elected by property owners and residents.
The council also now has, a deputy mayor, four area councillors and two councillors for each of North, Central and South wards – all elected for four-year terms by voters across the city.
The corporation is trying to rebuild its population that had fallen to a third of its 1915 peak of 43,000.
Besides caring for the parklands, the corporation runs 11 carparking stations, the Central Market, Adelaide Aquatic Centre, a network of local libraries and community centres, and free bus loop services (including the world’s first solar-powered bus).
A history of rifts with the state government has healed in the 21st Century, with the city council being helped in its extra role of looking after the state's capital city.