Lake Macquarie History

Lake Macquarie Council History

Lake Macquarie was proclaimed a shire on 16 May 1906.

The shire's first local election was conducted on Saturday 24 November 1906, when the community elected six councillors to represent three ridings - namely "A", "B" and "C" ridings.

The first elected Council held its initial meeting at the Teralba Court House on Saturday 8 December 1906.

Councillor Sydney Croudace was unanimously elected President, for the remaining term of that Council, which extended until 1 February 1908. The Presidential allowance was fixed at fifty pounds per annum.

Commencing on 29th December, 1906 meetings of the Lake Macquarie Shire Council and the council offices were located in a rented house at 32 Kelton Street Cardiff, next to the Police Station. This premesis was the council headquarters until the new purpose built council chambers were opened. This house was demolished in 2007.

photo: first council chambers

In 1913, the Lake Macquarie Land Company donated land at the corner of Main Road and Council Street, Speers Point, for a Council Chamber. On 30 June 1914, Council accepted a tender from Messrs Southon and Waller in the sum of £2,299 for the construction of a Shire Office and Council Chambers.

That Council Chamber was first used for the Council meeting held on Saturday 8 May 1915, and the building was officially opened on Saturday 26th June 1915.

photo: second council chambers

A new Council Chamber and Shire Office building was erected in 1955, at the corner of Main Road and Park Street, Speers Point - opposite the former building. The Hon J B Renshaw MLA, Minister for Public Works and Local Government, officially opened this on 5 November 1955.

In February 1976, the Council commissioned Civil and Civic Pty Ltd to undertake the first stage of the design of a new administration building. Council subsequently appointed the company as managers to complete the design and supervise construction. Wills, Denoon, and Partners were appointed the Project Architects.

In October 1977, the Council accepted a tender from Civil and Civic Pty Ltd in association with Wills, Denoon, and Partners Pty Ltd to design and construct Stage II in four phases.

photo: third council chambers

Stage 1 of the new Administration Building was officially opened by the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Neville Wran QC MLA, on 12 August 1977. The Minister for Local Government and Minister for Roads, the Hon H F Jensen MP, opened Stage II of the building on 31 August 1979. The Administration Building was built at a cost of approximately $4.5 million.

The Shire of Lake Macquarie was proclaimed as a municipality from 1 January 1977 and became a city on 7 September 1984.

The book "100 Years of Local Government in Lake Macquarie" was first published in 1981 and revised in 2006.The publication is a historical record of membership to Council, listing the names of elected members, shire presidents, mayors, deputies, and chief executives since the introduction of local government to Lake Macquarie in 1906. Variations to electoral divisions and significant changes in legislation affecting local government elections are also included.

What is the difference between a Mayor and a Lord Mayor?

It is the prerogative of the reigning British monarch to grant Letters Patent conferring the title of Lord Mayor on the advice of the Governor General.

Although there is no specific qualifications required for such bestowal, the local government area would need to have a very special significance in the history and geography of the state.

The procedure for conferring the title of Lord Mayor involves a submission from the relevant council being forwarded through the Minister to the Premier. A minute from the Premier supporting the application is sent to the Governor, who then submits the application to the Governor General, who, in turn, refers the matter to The Sovereign. This title is a very rare and a special honour and, in Australia, has only been conferred on the capital cities of the various states and the cities of Newcastle (in 1948), Wollongong (in 1974) and Parramatta (in 1988).

In the cases of Newcastle and Wollongong the title was bestowed after consideration of exceptional circumstances. Each was a major port and transport centre for its region and for the state. Each was the centre of a large coal bearing and iron and steel manufacturing district and of other extensive industrial works. Each was a major commercial and administrative centre, with Newcastle being the second city of the state in terms of population, and Wollongong the third. Parramatta City Council had the title Lord Mayor bestowed in 1988 during the Australian bicentennial year, in recognition of its role in the history of early settlement of Australia.

Lake Macquarie City Council unsuccessfully applied to the Minister to have the titled conferred in 1987.

Being Lord Mayor of a local government area does not come with any extra powers or privileges. It is an honorary title. However, in terms of public perception, when people hear that a city has a lord mayor, they do perceive it as a more significant place, and as having a higher status.

Mayoral regalia

At the Council meeting held on 10 February 1986 Mayoral Chains were presented to His Worship the Mayor, Geoffrey Raymond Pasterfield in recognition of the position of Mayor following the Council becoming a City on 7 September 1984.

The Mayoral Chains are to be worn on formal occasions or on those occasions that the Mayor feels are appropriate. They have been worn by all mayors since Geoffrey Pasterfield.

In the United Kingdom a robe of office is worn by practically all Mayors. A chain and badge are also universally worn. In Australia, not all councils have this regalia for the Mayor. However, many of the larger Cities and Municipalities did provide in the past robes of office for both the Mayor and Town Clerk. It is normal custom that the robes and chain of office are worn only at Council meetings or on very important occasions.

Following the election of Mayor Ivan Welsh in 1987, robes were purchased for the Mayor and Town Clerk, John Rankin. Alderman Welsh is the only Lake Macquarie Mayor to have worn the robes during his time in office from 1987-1991, as was John Rankin (1987-1993) the only Town Clerk. Both sets of robes, and in the case of the Town Clerk a wig, are still held by the Council.

Our Mayors

The Shire of Lake Macquarie was proclaimed as a Municipality from 1 January 1977. Before this time, the most important Council position was that of Shire President, with Councillors representing the various wards.

In1977 current members of the council were appointed as Aldermen of the Provisional Council of the Municipality of Lake Macquarie, and Alderman John Edwards was elected as provisional Mayor for the 9 months until the next election.

Our first popularly elected Mayor, Geoffrey Pasterfield won his seat in the election of Saturday 17 September 1977.

  • 1977-1987 Alderman Geoffrey Raymond Pasterfield
  • 1987-1991 Alderman Ivan Joseph Welsh
  • 1991-1993 Alderman Douglas Brian Carley
  • 1993-2004 Councillor John Eliott Kilpatrick OAM
  • 2004-2012 Councillor Gregory Michael Piper
  • 20012-2016 Councillor Jodie Harrison
  • 2016-present Councillor Kay Fraser

Our Chief Executives

Shire Clerks

  • Thomas Davies 1906-1931
  • Thomas Halton MBE 1931-1961
  • George Bennett 1961-1968
  • Harold Cumming 1968-1977

Town Clerks

  • Harold Cumming 1977-1987
  • John Rankin 1987-1993

General Managers

  • Robert Gray 1993-1998
  • Ken Holt 1998-2005
  • Brian Bell 2006-2017
  • Morven Cameron 2017-present


Thompson, Leslie N & Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Council 1981, Local government in Lake Macquarie, Lake Macquarie Municipal Council, [Boolaroo, N.S.W.]

Mitchell, Kerrie & Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Council 2006, 100 Years of Local Government in Lake Macquarie : 1906-2006, Lake Macquarie City Council, Speers Point, N.S.W

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and Council's cultural collections may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

This website may contain place names, opinions and terms that reflect authors' views or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded. These may not be considered appropriate today.

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