The Local Government (Shires) Act, 1905 (Act No.33 1905) became law on 9 December 1905. On 5 January 1906 the Minister and Secretary of Public Works was charged with its administration. In the same month the Local Government Office was organised within the Public Works Department. (1) The Officer-in-charge of the Local Government Branch was appointed on 10 December 1905 with engineering and clerical staff appointments early the following year. (2)
This branch of the Public Works Department administered financial endowments and loans to Shires and Municipalities throughout New South Wales. It also conducted examinations for Council Auditors, Clerks, and Engineers. Council Auditors were also supervised by Inspectors of the Audit Department. The Local Government Branch approved the following: -
* transfer of land between local government areas
* creation of urban centres
* alterations to Riding Boundaries
* alterations to Ward Boundaries and
* abolition of certain Wards
The Local Government Engineer evaluated both local government road construction and maintenance. However municipalities and Shires were independent bodies with a range of powers within their jurisdictions.
On 11 August 1915 the Local Government Branch was constituted as the Department of Local Government separate from Public Works.
(1) Annual Report of the Department of Public Works for the year ended 30 June 1906 in the Parliamentary Papers 1906 Vol. 4 page 105.
(2) Blue Book (Public Service List) 1906 Government Printer, Sydney, page 139.