The Borough of Bexley was established on 28 June 1900 when approximately three square miles of the Municipality of Hurstville was separated and established as a new borough. Bexley was situated in the parish of St. George, county of Cumberland, and its boundaries included the Illawarra railway line, West Botany, Wolli Creek, Croydon Road and Forest Road. (1) This followed a petition proposing the separation, presented on 16 November 1899 and gazetted on 20 November 1899. (2)
The Municipalities Act 1897 (Act No.23, 1897), s.11. provided for the establishment of a borough or municipal district if requested in a petition signed by at least 50 persons. Only those who would have to pay municipal taxes if the area incorporated could sign the petition, but they did not have to be residents. (3) The petition was required to include the number of residents in the proposed area, the boundaries and whether the area was to be a borough or a municipal district. The petition was published in NSW Government Gazette and a local newspaper, and 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.
Whether a local government area was designated a borough or municipal district depended on its size, both in population and area. Boroughs required a minimum population of 1,000 and could not be larger than 9 square miles (23.3 square kilometres) with no part more than 6 miles (9.7 kilometres) distant from the rest. Boroughs were cities or towns, suburbs of the City of Sydney, or a populous country district. (4)
The returning officer for the new Borough was nominated in the Gazette on 13 July 1900, and the date of the first election set for 7 August (5); although on that day nominations only were taken, and the election occurred on 11 August. (6) The first meeting was held on 15 August to select the Mayor. (7) The Mayoral result and the appointment of an acting Council Clerk were announced on 21 August, (8) although the nine aldermen were not gazetted until 9 October. (9) The appointment of the Council Clerk, who was also Rate Collector and Inspector of Nuisances, was made the following month. (10)
The Borough of Bexley became the Municipality of Bexley 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. (11) In 1907, Bexley was noted as having no ward divisions, and nine aldermen. (12) The Municipality was divided into four wards in 1942. (13)
The Valuation of Land Act, 1916 (Act No.2, 1916), was applied to the Municipality of Bexley on 1 August 1921. (14) Under this legislation the Valuer-General took over the valuing of land within the municipality from the council. He issued a valuation list to the Council before 31 December 1921 and thereafter the Council ceased to create valuation rolls. (15)
Boundary exchanges occurred between Bexley and the Municipality of Rockdale on 3 November 1922, when some of Bexley was added to Arncliffe Ward of Rockdale. (16)
The Local Government (Areas) Act 1948 (Act No.30) amalgamated many local government areas. As a result, Bexley Municipality amalgamated with Rockdale Municipality on 1 January 1949. The dissolved Bexley became the First Ward of a new Municipality of Rockdale. (17)
1. NSW Government Gazette No.644, 29 June 1900, p.5039.
2. NSW Government Gazette No.925, 20 November 1899, p.8737.
3. Municipalities Act, 1897 (Act No.23, 1897) s.11.
4. Ibid., s.10(i-ii).
5. NSW Government Gazette No.693, 13 July 1900, p.5427.
6. Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 1900, p.11.
7. Sydney Morning Herald, 20 August 1900, p.8.
8. NSW Government Gazette No.804, 21 August 1900, p.6485.
9. NSW Government Gazette No.954, 9 October 1900, p.7956.
10. NSW Government Gazette No.887, 18 September 1900, p.7272.
11. Local Government Extension Act, 1906 (Act No 40, 1906), s.3, Schedule One, s.9; NSW Government Gazette No.286, 31 December 1906, p.7019.
12. NSW Government Gazette No.146, 20 November 1907, p.6309.
13. Local Government Department Annual Report 1940-1951, p.62; NSW Government Gazette No.4, 10 January 1941.
14. NSW Government Gazette No.103, 22 July 1921, p.4248 (notice 326).
15. Local Government Department Annual Report 1921-1922, Appendix XVII, p.58.
16. NSW Government Gazette No.155, 3 November 1922, p.5891; Local Government Department Annual Report 1922-1923 p.1105-6.
17. Local Government (Areas) Act 1948 (Act No.30), s.6(2), second schedule, p.324.