The First Council
The first local government in Australia was formed on 31 October 1840 with the election of a Mayor, three Aldermen and fifteen Councillors to the new Adelaide Corporation.
This followed a petition from the residents (totalling around 2000) for the "rights and privileges" of their own Council.
Quoting from the "History of the City of Adelaide" (Thomas Worsnop, Town Clerk 1869-1898)
"We may presume that the organisation of the new Civic powers was a subject of considerable satisfaction to the inhabitants , for almost all the prominent unofficial men in the colony were members of the first Council, and a very great expectations were formed as a result of their joint exertions."
The first Mayor was James Hurtle Fisher and the first Council meeting was held on 4 November 1840.
As settlers moved into more remote parts of the State, they were less motivated to form Councils, provided that the central government continued building railways and major roads to serve them.
As a result, the Government passed the 1887 District Councils Act which empowered it to form Councils without waiting for residents to take the initiative.
Colonel Light Ceremony 2013
Each year the Adelaide City Council celebrates Colonel Light’s birthday in April, with 2013 marking the 154th anniversary.
Colonel William Light was South Australia’s first Surveyor-General and founder of the City of Adelaide. He is celebrated locally and around the world for his unique design of Adelaide as a “city within a park”.
The Colonel Light Ceremony arises from a Council resolution dating back to 1859, when Colonel Light's friends presented the Loving Cup to Adelaide City Council, and asked that they "gather each year to toast Light's health with South Australian wine".
Watch the below footage of this year’s ceremony, including an address from Deputy Lord Mayor Clr Dr Michael Llewellyn-Smith AM.
Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Adelaide
Complete list of all Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Adelaide are available for reference:
The Arms of the City of Adelaide
Granted by the Heralds College on April 20, 1929, the Arms symbolise many of the early characteristics of the City and State, of which it is the Capital.
The Arms consist of a blue shield with a gold cross, on which is surmounted a red cross.
In the top left corner—known as the first quarter—is a three masted ship in full sail. The ship represents the importance of commerce to the City and is a reminder of the form of transport of the early settlers from Great Britain to South Australia, and of any return voyage, as well as being the mail link between the two countries.
The top right corner—the second quarter—shows a golden fleece, representing the sheep farming interest and the wool trade.
In the lower left corner—the third quarter—a bull’s head represents the cattle interests.
And the golden wheat sheaf in full ear in the lower right corner—the forth quarter—represents the extensive agricultural interests.
Above the shield is a golden mural crown; this derives from the crown or garland given to the soldier in early Roman times who was the first to scale the wall of a besieged town.
The crest of the Corporation is above the mural crown. It is a right arm holding miner’s pick, representing another of the industries of the early years which contributed so much to the wealth of South Australia and Adelaide. The arm is resting on a wreath of the colors of the City—blue and gold.
On each side of the shield are the supporters which guard and uphold the shield. The lion represents the English origin of the settlers who established South Australia and the kangaroo represents the country they helped to build.
Each part stands on a grassy green field of rising ground and the base is the Latin motto "Ut Prosint Omnibus Conjuncti" which can be translated as "united for the common good."
The Armorial Flag
The Adelaide City Council approved the design of the Armorial Flag on August 2, 1982.
It replaced the "unofficial decoration"—the Coat of Arms on white background—which had flown outside the Town Hall Adelaide on special occasions during the previous half century.
The new design was prepared by the garter king of Arms of the College of Arms, London.
The symbols used for the flag have been taken from the shield of the Arms of the City of Adelaide.
It is a flag with a blue background with a gold and a red cross dividing it into the four quarters of the Arms.
The flag is bordered on three side in the blue and gold colours of the Corporation, taken from the wreath below the crest of the Arms.