Local Government

On 28th February, 1890, the Municipality was formed. The population at that time is not known, but in 1893, it was 1,226. The first Municipal Council Meetings were held at Mrs. Murphy?s sample room (Criterion Hotel). The Borough, as it was called, was divided into three wards, Harden, Murrumburrah and Demondrille - and there were three aldermen per ward. Only property owners could vote and the value of property owned determined the number of votes. Little interest was taken in the first election. In 1906 the franchise was altered to one vote for each property owner, except that property owners with land in each ward were allowed to vote for each ward. The Act also gave a vote to an occupier paying rent if he made a statutory declaration. Few took the trouble nor did the alterations infuse any vigour into the elections. The ward system evidently did not lend itself to good competition and was abolished in 1912. The next election, in 1914, provided a great contest with real competition between both ends of the town. The result was Harden six representatives and Murrumburrah three, however, a little later, honour was restored when, at a by-election the two Murrumburrah candidates soundly beat the Harden nominees. No Council records are available between 1890 and 1908, so the early deliberations are veiled in mystery. As in most country towns the supply of water was a problem. Although there was a plentiful supply available from underground sources such as the Harden Goldmine, the quality was unsatisfactory. Around 1912 a Committee of representatives from surrounding town shires was formed to press the Government for a supply from Adjungbilly Creek near Tumut. This was finally approved in 1923 but water did not reach the Municipality until September, 1933. Public lighting was considered in 1909 but more urgent matters demanded the finance. In 1913 a gas company was formed but never operated due to the outbreak of World War I, and it was liquidated in 1917. An electricity supply was next considered and Council began generating its own power in 1920. In 1928 the changeover to supply from Burrinjuck Power Station was made. Before 1890 all road improvement work both within and outside the town boundary was the responsibility of the Road Superintendent at Young. After 1890 the Borough Council became responsible for town improvements and raised money by rating the property owners. The Demondrille Shire was formed on 16th June 1906, when it took over the responsibility of rural improvements. On 1st January, 1975 the two Councils amalgamated to form the Harden Shire.

Contact Details
Harden Shire Council
Phone: 02 6386 0100
Fax: 02 6386 0105