The Divisional Boards Act of 1879 provided for local government for any part of the Colony not included in a municipality and proclaimed a Division by the Governor. The first Divisional Boards were proclaimed on 11 November 1879. The Purga Divisional Board was established on that date.
The primary function of Divisional Boards was to provide such public services and amenities as: parks and reserves, cemeteries, libraries and recreational facilities, water and sanitation services, roads, bridges, wharves, street lighting, public health services (such as immunisations), licences and registrations for businesses, markets and animals, town planning, and the control of noxious weeds and other pests.
Boards were also responsible for administering the Local Fund and for valuing properties within the Division for the purpose of determining and collecting rates. Boards could pass by-laws regarding all matters within its jurisdiction. All such by-laws required the assent of the Governor-in-Council.
Divisional Boards submitted an annual Statement of Revenue and Expenditure to the Minister. By-laws created by Boards required the assent of the Governor-in-Council.
The Local Authorities Act 1902 abolished divisional boards and created city, town and shire councils. Under this Act, Purga Divisional Board was abolished and its functions were transferred to Purga Shire Council.