The Municipal District of South Grafton (1896-1906), later the Municipality of South Grafton (1906-1956), was a municipality in the north of the eastern division of New South Wales, constituted under the Municipalities Act 1867 and subsequent legislation. (1) It was established in the parish of Southampton in the county of Clarence.
The Municipalities Act 1867 (31 Victoria Act No.12) provided for the establishment of a municipality on receipt of a petition signed by at least 50 persons who would be taxed in respect of property or household residence within the area to be incorporated. The petition was to be published in the Gazette and a local newspaper. If no counter-petition signed by a greater number of persons was received within three months, the Governor could proclaim the area a municipality and define its boundaries. Municipalities proclaimed under the Act might be designated a borough or a municipal district, based on population and area. Boroughs were cities or towns, suburbs of the City of Sydney, or a populous country district, with a population of at least 1000 and an area of no more than nine square miles. A municipal district required a population of at least 500 and an area of no more than 50 square miles. (2)
A petition to separate the South Ward of the Borough of Grafton into an independent Municipal District of South Grafton was gazetted on 13 March 1896. (3) The notice was repeated ten times over the coming months without attracting a counter-petition. The new municipal district of just over two square miles was proclaimed on 11 November 1896. (4) A returning officer was appointed in December to organise an election for 2 February 1897 (5), at which six aldermen were elected. (6) The appointments of mayor, council clerk and valuers were announced by early March. (7)
The Local Government (Shires) Act, 1905 (Act No.33, 1905) incorporated all previously unincorporated territory of the Eastern and Central Divisions of New South Wales into new local government jurisdictions, to be called shires. The boundaries of many existing municipalities were adjusted as a result. The addition of 150 acres of the parish of Southampton was proposed (8) and proclaimed (9) in 1906, consequent to the creation of the shires of Orara and Dorrigo in March of that year.
The Municipal District of South Grafton became the Municipality of South Grafton on 31 December 1906. Under the Local Government Extension Act, 1906 (Act No.40, 1906) the terms municipal district and borough ceased to be used. (10)
In 1907 South Grafton was listed as having no ward divisions, and six aldermen. (11) This was increased to nine aldermen in 1912, to apply from the next election. (12)
The transfer of 300 acres from Orara Shire to South Grafton was proposed in April 1929 (13) and proclaimed in August with the new boundaries. (14) In January 1938, a further transfer of 138 acres from Orara to South Grafton was proposed (15), and then amended to 168 acres. (16) The larger proposal was finally proclaimed with the new boundaries in June 1939. (17)
The Valuation of Land Act 1916 (Act No.2, 1916) was applied to South Grafton from 24 February 1950 (18), and the first valuation list was supplied before 29 March 1950. (19) From this time the assessment of land values was no longer a function of the municipality, which now used values assigned by the Valuer-General when levying rates.
In June 1956 the Minister of Local Government gazetted a proposal to restructure the local government jurisdictions of the Clarence region. This was to affect the municipalities of South Grafton, Ulmarra and Maclean, the City of Grafton, and the shires of Copmanhurst, Bellingen, Dorrigo, Harwood, Nymboida and Orara. The proposal was to reconstitute them as five new areas, comprising four shires and one municipality. (20) A Commissioner considered this proposal, and an amended scheme of seven areas was adopted. Over the 'strenuous' opposition of the South Grafton council (21), the Municipality of South Grafton was re-united with Grafton City as of 1 January 1957. (22)
1. An Act to Establish Municipalities, 1867 (31 Victoria Act No.12), s.10.
2. Ibid., s.8.
3. NSW Government Gazette No.200, 13 March 1896, pp.1819-20.
4. NSW Government Gazette No.905, 11 November 1896, p.8058.
5. NSW Government Gazette No.1063, 24 December 1896, p.9287.
6. NSW Government Gazette No.176, 2 March 1897, p.1549.
8. NSW Government Gazette No.105, 23 February 1906, pp.1346,1349.
9. NSW Government Gazette No.161, 16 May 1906, pp.2978-79.
10. Local Government Extension Act, 1906 (Act No.40, 1906) s.3, Sch.1, s.9; NSW Government Gazette No.286, 31 December 1906, p.7019.
11. NSW Government Gazette No.146, 20 November 1907, p.6309.
12. NSW Government Gazette No.120, 14 August 1912, p.5102.
13. NSW Government Gazette No.57, 26 April 1929, pp.1758-59.
14. NSW Government Gazette No.121, 29 August 1929, p.3448.
15. NSW Government Gazette No.2, 7 January 1938, p.12.
16. NSW Government Gazette No.22, 18 February 1938, p.727
17. NSW Government Gazette No.86, 9 June 1939, pp.2909-10.
18. NSW Government Gazette No.37, 3 March 1950, p.581.
19. NSW Government Gazette No.60, 6 April 1950, p.966.
20. NSW Government Gazette No.65, 8 June 1956, pp.1557-58.
21. 1956/57 Report of the Department of Local Government, pp.23-24, in Parliamentary Papers 1957-58 Session, Vol.1, pp.1211-12.
22. NSW Government Gazette No.129, 30 November 1956, pp.3503-13.