The "Local Authorities Act 1902" abolished divisional boards and created city, town and shire councils. Under this Act, Johnstone Divisional Board was abolished and its functions were transferred to Johnstone Shire Council on 31 March 1903. On 22 Nov 1910 part of Johnstone Shire became Eacham Shire.
Under the "Local Authorities Act 1902", the primary function of Shire Councils was to provide such public services and amenities as roads, bridges, water, sanitation and drainage, public health services, parks and reserves, cemeteries, libraries and recreational facilities, street lighting, etc.
Council also had powers in relation to the construction of buildings, fire prevention, public nuisances, places of amusement, public carriers, slaughter houses, markets, animals and traffic. Increased powers were given to Council by subsequent local government legislation, for example, in the areas of public health, building regulation, town planning and the environment, public utilities and business undertakings.
The Council was also responsible for administering the Local Fund, and until 1944, for valuing properties within the Shire for the purpose of determining and collecting rates, which together with endowments and loans formed its revenue base. The general powers of Council were exercised through the passing of by-laws approved by Governor-in-Council.
In the 2000s Shire Councils through local laws promote economic development; own and manage public infrastructure including roads and public works, sewerage, and water storage and distribution; regulate activities which affect the environment including air, noise and water quality, land use and waste disposal, pests and noxious weeds, and building control; provide community services including recreational and cultural facilities and public health services.
Councils generate revenue from rates, grants and subsidies from state and federal governments,service charges, and loans for major projects.
The Shire Council, under the "Local Authorities Act 1902", included a chairman, town clerk and a number of other members. From time to time, the Council could appoint committees for special or general purposes. Council also appointed its own officers, who were paid from the Local Fund.
Each year the Minister appointed an independent auditor to review the financial statements of the Council. The Council submitted an annual Statement of Revenue and Expenditure to the Minister, which was published in the Government Gazette.
In 2004, the Council consists of a mayor and 8 divisional councillors, and administration is the responsibility of a Chief Executive Officer.
On 15 March 2008 Johnstone and Cardwell Shires amalgamated to form the Cassowary Region.