With the increasing number of people residing in the Darwin rural area, and in pursuit of its long standing policy to enable local people to determine their local affairs, the Northern Territory Government recognised a need to examine options for a form of Local Government to be established there.

As a result of this initiative, the Darwin Rural Advisory Council was formed by the then Minister for Community Development, the Hon Ian Tuxworth MLA, in March 1983 to consider various options. This Council consisted of the following members:

  • Mr John Maley (Chairman) 
  • Mr Harry Maschke(Deputy Chairman)
  • Mr David Shoobridge
  • Mrs Georgina Edwards
  • Mrs Denise David
  • Mr Bob Cavanagh
  • Mr Neville Walker
  • Mr Barry Coulter

The inaugural meeting was held on 17 March 1983 at the Freds Pass Community Hall. Following many meetings and widespread consultations, the final report was presented to the Hon Daryl Manzie MLA, Minister for Community Development, on 22 June 1984.

Following widespread consultations with community groups and residents, Cabinet approved in principle on 24 May 1985, the establishment of Local Government in the outer Darwin rural area. A further Cabinet decision on 3 September 1985 approved the constitution of a new municipality to consist of four wards, with elections for one alderman from each ward, and a mayor from the whole of the Shire, to be held on 7 December 1985. (The Local Government Act was subsequently amended to permit the Council to alter the members' titles to president and councillors, with effect from 1 July 1986).

The inaugural Council members elected were:

  • Mr John Maley President
  • Cr. Russell Anderson Berry Springs/Darwin River Ward (Deputy President)
  • Cr. Danny Skewes Noonamah/Acacia Hills Ward
  • Cr. Liz Stephenson Howard Springs/Knuckey Lagoons Ward
  • Cr. Mike Sanderson Bees Creek/Humpty Doo Ward
Newspaper Article Litchfield Council Establishment


In July 2008 the Litchfield Shire Council was changed to Litchfield Council under a revised Local Government Act (that saw changes in the structure of Local Government across the NT) and is no longer known as a Shire.

The Litchfield Shire (as known until 2008) was named after Frederick Henry Litchfield and the land is the traditional home of the Larrakia, Woolner and Djowei Aboriginal people.

On 1 July 2008 Council's responsibilities also included management of the Thorak Regional Cemetery.

Read more from the Local Government Establishment Package for Litchfield Shire Council (1988) »