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Council Flashback

A look back in time to 1896

By Lesley Dimmock, Information and Research Officer

The year is 1896 and Sir Hugh Nelson is the 11th Premier of Queensland. Hailing from Scotland, Nelson becomes well known during his political career for his fiscal prudence and his opposition to both federation and the separation movement in Queensland.  

In the same year the Local Authorities Association (now LGAQ) is officially established. At the time of the Executive Committee’s first meeting on 30 October 1896, 21 local authorities have signed up as members of the Association; which at this stage only provides one service - legal opinions. Robert Thurlow was the LGAQs first appointed President, appointed in 1896 by the Lord Mayor of brisbane

The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Robert Thurlow is appointed as the Association’s first President. The associations first task is to comment on and lobby for local authorities’ to remain the primary providers for electricity in reaction to the Governments proposed Electric Light and Power Bill. The issue appears in Brisbane Courier on Friday 18 Sept 1896 with comments from the LGAQ.

An excerpt reads: 

'The following amendments to the Electric Lighting and Power Bill…have been suggested by the secretary of the Local Authorities Association…  

… In the event of a complaint being made to the Minister that wires in a building are dangerous, and on inspection they - are found to be in good order, at whose expense is the cost of inspection to be? An innocent party should not suffer... The parties demanding arbitration shall deposit a sum -to cover costs (say) £50.' 

Additionally, a Royal Commission into local government is appointed and recommends the amalgamation of the two parallel systems of local government in Queensland. 

In the same, year X-ray  is discovered by Wilhelm Rontgen, The Victorian Football league (now AFL) is formed, Edwin Flack, the only Australian only entrant to the first international Olympic games held in modern history, wins gold in the 800m and 1500m runs, collapses before nearly winning gold in the marathon (and is tenderly attended to by Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark), quickly recuperates and wins bronze in the tennis doubles the following day.  

The LGAQ  in 1896 

The first Executive Committee members were: 

President: Robert Thurlow (Brisbane) 

Vice President: Wilson Weaver Littler (Rockhampton) and Alexander Mayes (Toowoomba) 

Hon. Treasurer: Abraham Fleetwood Luya (South Brisbane) 

Committee Members

George Valentine Hellicar (Coorparoo), William Thomas Deacon (Ipswich), John Archibald (Warwick), William Jones (South Brisbane) and William Henry Bell (Sandgate) 

Secretary: The Town Clerk of Brisbane City Council, Henry G Marshall  



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