The Municipalities Act 1858 [NSW] applied in Queensland prior to and for five years after separation in 1859, until repealed by the Municipal Institutions Act 1864. The former Act provided for two kinds of municipalities based on population and area, viz., towns or cities and municipal districts. Accordingly, on 7 September 1859, Brisbane was proclaimed a municipality within the old town boundaries defined in 1856 under the [Towns] Police Act.
The Municipal Institutions Act 1864 provided for the constitution and administration of municipalities particularly in relation to by-laws, rating and borrowings and the control or regulation of public infrastructure and utilities and the provision of public amenities, e.g. gardens, hospitals.
The function of Municipal Councils under the subsequent Local Government Act 1878 was generally to maintain "the good rule and government of the municipality", and specifically to provide and manage such public services and amenities as roads, bridges and wharves, water supply and sanitation, cemeteries, street lighting, fire prevention and public health services including control of contagious and infectious diseases. Functions also included the regulation of building construction, vehicular traffic and public nuisances and the issuing of licences for markets, carriers and carters, slaughter-houses and abattoirs, etc. Council could also establish and manage such public facilities as hospitals, asylums for destitute children, libraries, botanical gardens and public places of recreation including parks and reserves.
The general powers of local Councils were exercised through the passing of by-laws requiring the assent of the Governor-in-Council.
Municipal Councils were responsible for the administration of their revenue base including rates (general and special), loans, and endowment through Ordinary Revenue and the Municipal Fund. For the purposes of determining rates, Councils were required to value all rateable land within the municipality.
The municipality was governed by a rate-payer elected council comprising a chairman and councillors. Special or general purpose committees were appointed reporting to Council. Council appointed its own officers to administer its business, headed by a Clerk.
The administration of the Council was significantly altered geographically when, on 7 Jan 1888, a separate Municipality of South Brisbane was created out of the South Ward of the Municipality of Brisbane (together with the Division of Woolloongabba).
The Local Authorities Act 1902 consolidated local government and established two classes - Towns and Shires, with the additonal provision for Towns to be proclaimed as Cities. Accordingly, Brisbane municipality was proclaimed a city from the date of commencement of the Act, 31 Mar 1903.
Colonial Secretary [NSW], 7 Sep 1859 - 10 Dec 1859
Colonial Secretary, 10 Dec 1859 - 6 Aug 1896
Home Secretary, 6 Aug 1896 - 31 Mar 1903