The Shire of Boolooroo was a local government area in the New England region of the Central Division of New South Wales, created under the Local Government (Shires) Act 1905 (Act No.33, 1905). It lay between the shires of Boomi to the west and Yallaroi to the east, with a southern border to Namoi Shire mid-way between Moree and Narrabri. To the north it extended to the Macintyre River, the border with Queensland.
The Local Government (Shires) Act 1905 incorporated all previously unincorporated territory of the Eastern and Central Divisions of New South Wales into new local government areas, to be called shires. Such incorporations had previously been voluntary and based on centres of population, designated as boroughs or municipal districts. The existing municipalities continued but were now embedded within shires, while remaining independent of them. Shires were to be governed by a council of six or nine elected councillors, one of whom was to be chosen as president by the council. (2) The shires were further divided into ridings, the equivalent of municipal wards. (3)
The primary functions of shire councils were construction and management of public places (other than national or railway works), such as public roads, streets and footpaths, jetties and wharves, and public watering places; road and street lighting; regulation of traffic; flood and fire prevention or mitigation; and stormwater drainage, including preventing pollution of waterways. Additional responsibilities such as waste removal, sewerage, town water supplies, parks and recreation grounds, and the licensing of public vehicles and their drivers could be granted to the council on application to the Governor. (4)
In order to fund these services, shires were to levy a general rate on the unimproved value of rateable land within their jurisdiction, paid by the owner. (5) Council-appointed valuers were to conduct valuations every three years. This system was a notable change from the existing municipal rating model, which based the levy on the annual rental value of property and charged the occupant, whether owner or tenant. (6) Municipal rating was subsequently aligned with the new model by the Local Government Act, 1906 (Act No.56, 1906).
The creation of Boolooroo Shire was proclaimed on 7 March 1906 (7), followed by the appointment of a temporary council from 9 June to arrange for elections (8), and the division of the Shire into ridings A, B and C. (9) The first election for all shires was to be on 24 November (10) and the first meeting to be held within two weeks of that date. (11) Boolooroo was not seen as requiring expenditure beyond its projected rates revenue, so was given no state endowment. (12) Although the minimum rate standard rate was one penny in the pound, Boolooroo applied for an exemption to charge only three farthings (3/4 of a penny). (13) By July 1907 the council was applying this general rate and so other land taxes were suspended. (14) The 1906 ridings remained in force until February 1950 when their boundaries were redefined. (15)
The council chambers of the Boolooroo Shire were in Moree. The Council shared accommodation with the Boomi Council until 1938. There was a high level of co-operation between the Boolooroo, Boomi and Moree Councils and in 1955 the Moree and District Local Government Standing Committee was formed to co-ordinate the activities of the three councils. (16)
The Valuation of Land Act 1916 (Act No.2, 1916) applied to Boolooroo from 10 December 1965 (17), and the first valuation list was supplied on 17 December. (18) From this time the assessment of land values was no longer a function of the Shire, which now used values assigned by the Valuer-General when levying rates.
In 1972, 56 acres of C riding (portion 117 and part of portion 245 of the Parish of Moree) were transferred to the Municipality of Moree. (19)
The Committee of Inquiry into Local Government Areas and Administration in New South Wales in 1974 recommended uniting the Municipality of Moree with its surrounding shires. (20) On 1 January 1981, under the Local Government Areas Amalgamation Act 1980 (Act no.110, 1980), the Shires of Boolooroo and Boomi amalgamated with the Municipality of Moree (21) to form the Shire of Moree Plains. (22)
1. Joy N. Hughes. Local Government ... Local History. Sydney: Royal Australian Historical Society, 1990, p.xiii.
2. Local Government (Shires) Act 1905 (Act No.33, 1905) s.18. The council's election of the president was clarified in the Local Government Act 1906 (Act No.56, 1906) s.35(1),(3).
3. Local Government (Shires) Act 1905, ibid., s.6.
4. Local Government Act 1906 (Act No.56, 1906) s.73.
5. Local Government (Shires) Act 1905, op.cit., s.8(1).
6. Municipalities Act 1897 (Act No.23, 1897) s.141.
7. NSW Government Gazette No.121, 7 March 1906, pp.1593, 1599-1600.
8. NSW Government Gazette No.161, 16 May 1906, pp.2979-2980.
9. NSW Government Gazette No.161, 16 May 1906, pp.2899, 2922-2923.
10. NSW Government Gazette No.221, 5 September 1906, p.5013.
11. NSW Government Gazette No.241, 17 October 1906, p.5754.
12. NSW Government Gazette No.286, 31 December 1906, p.7012.
13. NSW Government Gazette No.61, 22 May 1907, p.2815.
14. NSW Government Gazette No.84, 17 July 1907, p.4000.
15. NSW Government Gazette No.29, 17 February 1950, pp.441-442.
16. Notes prepared by RAIM April, 1993.
17. NSW Government Gazette No.158, 10 December 1965, p.4077.
18. NSW Government Gazette No.161, 17 December 1965, p.4180.
19. NSW Government Gazette No.138, 22 December 1972, pp.5206-5207.
20. Report of The Committee of Inquiry into Local Government Areas and Administration in New South Wales in 1974, Appendix 3, p. 68 in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1973-74, vol 2, p.446.
21. Local Government Areas Amalgamation Act 1980 (Act No.110, 1980) Sch.1 Pt.2.
22. NSW Government Gazette No.152, 17 October 1980, p.5393.