Backward Glance: Local Government in the early days
  • Wednesday 19 July 2017

During this time of celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Naming the Sunshine Coast, it is fitting to reflect on the beginnings of early government and development in the region.

Local government came to the district in1879, when 74 divisional boards were created, including Caboolture which incorporated much of what is now Maroochy Shire.

By the late 1880s, the Maroochy district was sufficiently closely settled to warrant the creation of a new divisional board.

In 1890, the Maroochy Divisional Board was constituted, formed from the northern section of the Caboolture Divisional Board and the southern section of Widgee Divisional Board.

It did not include Buderim (still part of Caboolture until 1898) or Kenilworth (still part of Widgee until 1896).

The Local Authorities Act of 1902 received Royal Assent on December 26, 1902, when towns and shires were established to incorporate former municipalities and divisions, and the Maroochy Divisional Board became the Maroochy Shire Council with its first meeting on January 28, 1903.

In the early days, members of government and the people who worked for these early organisations performed under difficult conditions, often with little funding, but with great enthusiasm and dedication to the development of the region.

Among these was George Bury. He was elected as chairman of the Maroochy Shire Council in 1903 and retained the position until 1905.

Bury had also been a member for No.3 Sub-Division of the Maroochy Divisional Board from1894-1896 and a member for No.2 Sub-Division of the Maroochy Divisional Board from 1897-1905.

He played an active role in community and business affairs, buildingthe Mooloolah and Maroochydore Hotel and hotels in Nambour.

He was a commission agent and sugar planter and campaigned for the establishment of the Moreton Central Sugar Mill, of which he was a secretary and a director.

Bury Street, Nambour was named in his honour.

Another man of the people was Cr John Grigor, the eldest son of William and Mary Grigor of Bankfoot House, Glass House Mountains.

He served on the Landsborough Shire Council after 1912 and as chairman of the Landsborough Shire Council from 1924-1930 and 1930-1933.

Prior to the formation of Landsborough Shire, J. Grigor had been a councillor for the Landsborough area with the Caboolture Divisional Board.

British-born John Henry Tytherleigh was the first chairman of the Landsborough Divisional Board after its proclamation in 1912 and later, upon its constitution, he was the first chairman of the Landsborough Shire Council.

John Tytherleigh started his own business in Landsborough in 1894 selling drapery, clothing and footwear.

He became an important business man in the region, later opening stores in Woombye, Maleny and Caloundra.

Tytherleigh was a member of the Great Road Committee, afterwards known as the Bruce Highway and envisaged future development of the Landsborough Shire which was declared a city on December 19, 1987 and became known as Caloundra City.

In March 2008, Caloundra City amalgamated with northern neighbouring councils, Maroochy Shire Council and Noosa Shire Council to become the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

Today, Noosa Shire Council is no longer part of the Sunshine Coast Council.

Time has passed and the region has changed enormously.

The focus of local enterprise has changed markedly from mainly agricultural pursuits to a variety of innovative commercial industries and concerns that support the still growing population.

We continue to build on the solid foundations provided by the early pioneers of government who worked tirelessly with great enthusiasm and dedication to the people of their districts.

Make sure you look out for part two of this story shining the spotlight on the history of local government on the Sunshine Coast.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

In 2017, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Naming of the Sunshine Coast. For more information on this milestone anniversary

Image captions:
Hero image: Maroochy Shire Council 1931.

Carousel image:
Image 1: Maroochy Divisional Board, 1898