The office of Mayor in our system of local government in New South Wales is one that carries great responsibility. It also continues a tradition of service to our communities that has a long and rich history. Here in the Hastings district our earliest Council dates from 1887 with the formation of the Port Macquarie Municipal Council, to be closely followed by the formation of the Hastings Shire Council in 1906. Prior to this, civic work was promoted by Progress Associations whose members voluntarily gave of their time for the good of the district and their fellow settlers.
In 1980 the State Government initiated a series of local government reforms that saw the Port Macquarie and Hastings Councils amalgamated. To bring two proud organisations together under one civic banner understandably caused initial consternation within the respective local government areas. However, anyone visiting our region today would agree that we have developed into a vibrant, responsive and progressive Council that serves the population centres of Port Macquarie, Wauchope and the Camden Haven as well as the wonderful small villages that are scattered across our hinterland.
This publication aims to fill a void in the research material available regarding the history of local government in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area. Initially it was conceived as a record of the Mayors and Presidents of the respective local government areas of Port Macquarie and the Hastings Shire from the beginnings through to amalgamation in 1980. The scope of this work has been expanded from that initial brief to include a history of the development of local government in the two council areas as well as the history of the changing names of Council in the years after amalgamation.