The Local Authorities Act 1902 abolished divisional boards and created city, town and shire councils. Under this Act, Cairns Divisional Board was abolished and its functions were transferred to Cairns Shire Council on 31 March 1903.
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.
The Shire Council 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.
Cairns Shire changed its name to Mulgrave Shire on 16 November 1940.
Home Secretary 31 Mar 1903 - 5 Dec 1935
Secretary for Health and Home Affairs 5 Dec 1935 - 16 Nov 1940