Latrobe City History

The first Gippslanders, the ancestors of the Gunnai/Kurnai, inhabited the region at least 22,000 years ago. European settlement grew following the discovery of gold in the mid 1800s.

Exploration and Settlement

Angus McMillan ventured south from the Monaro Tablelands and by 1841 had opened up Gippsland as far as Port Albert. In 1840, between McMillan's third and fourth journey, Count Strzelecki followed McMillan's track through Gippsland to the Latrobe River. Intending to proceed south to Corner Inlet, the dense ranges, later named after him, forced him to abandon his horses and turn west.

Very soon other parties were entering into the area. A young settler from the Port Phillip district, Edward Hobson, was impressed with the country near Traralgon Creek and the Latrobe River. His brother, Dr Edmund Hobson, took up a run of 19,000 acres and made his brother Edward his overseer.  In June 1844 Edward arrived with a mob of cattle and constructed a hut, the first building to be erected in our district.

In 1858, Duncan Campbell built the Travelers' Rest Hotel in Traralgon to accommodate the needs of a growing population. Not long after, gold was discovered on the Tanjil. As Traralgon was on the direct route to the gold fields it soon began to grow. Shops, churches and schools, and several more hotels were established.

Local government

  • 1863 Borough of Sale proclaimed.
  • 1869 Rosedale Road Board was declared. The Board's territory extended to Morwell, Traralgon, Morwell Bridge, Hazelwood and Maryvale.
  • 1877 formation of the Traralgon Riding of the Rosedale Shire
  • 1878 Narracan Shire gazetted, stretching from Moe River a little beyond Yarragon, to the existing Rosedale Shire boundary. 
  • 1879 Shire of Traralgon constituted.
  • 1880 a petition from Mirboo requested the Minister to sever the district from the Alberton Shire to the Narracan Shire. The request was granted, resulting in the shire stretching south almost to Korumburra.
  • 1884 agitation to divide the Traralgon Shire into ridings to ensure better representation for people.
  • 1885 West Riding a reality
  • 1892 Shire of Morwell came into being
  • 1909 Narracan Shire moved to Trafalgar
  • 1955  Moe became the Borough of Moe. 1963 City of Moe, with annexation of Moe South and Yallourn Heights to the City of Moe in 1990.
  • 1961 Traralgon shire became a Borough. 1964 City of Traralgon
  • 1946/7 shire of Morwell confirmed its intention to change to a Borough. In 1973/4 the issue re-emerged, however it was not until 23 September 1990 that the City of Morwell was proclaimed.

The formation of La Trobe Shire

The La Trobe Shire was created on 2 December 1994 with the amalgamation of the former Cities of Moe, Morwell, and Traralgon, the Shire of Traralgon, and parts of the Shires of Rosedale and Narracan.

The municipality encompasses an area of 1,422 square kilometres and takes its name from the Administrator and later Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of Victoria, Charles Joseph La Trobe.

Between 1994 and 1996 the Shire was led by three Commissioners appointed by the Victorian State Government. This was part of a state-wide local government reform initiated by the State Government which saw over a thousand elected municipal councillors sacked, and the number of councils decreased through amalgamation from 210 to just 78.

In October 1996 the Minister for Planning and Local Government approved the proposed ward structure of seven single member wards with three-year terms.

First Council March 1997

Cr Lorraine Bartling, Cr Tony Hanning, Cr Helen Hoppner, Cr Brendan Jenkins, Cr Graeme Middlemiss, Cr Darrell White, and Cr Anthony Zimora.

Mayors: Cr Darrell White (March 1997 to March 1998); Cr Brendan Jenkins (March 1998 to March 1999; Cr Lorraine Bartling (March 1999 to March 2000).

Ms Penny Holloway was appointed Chief Executive Officer by the La Trobe Shire Council. 

La Trobe Shire becomes Latrobe City

On 31 March 2000, The Hon Keith Hamilton, Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, publicly announced the change of status to Latrobe City.

At the same time the City status came into being, the 'La Trobe' became 'Latrobe' to reflect the already established Latrobe Valley.

Second Council March 2000

Council: Cr Tony Hanning, Cr Brendan Jenkins, Cr Darrell White, Cr Graeme Middlemiss, Cr Graeme Bond, Cr Lisa Proctor and Cr Anthony Zimora.  

Mayors: Cr Tony Hanning (March 2000 to March 2001); Cr Brendan Jenkins (March 2001 to October 2002); Cr Tony Hanning (October 2002 to March 2003).  

  • Following the untimely death of Cr Graeme Bond in January 2002, Cr Peter Tyler was elected in March 2002 to serve the remaining term of the Second Council.
  • A restructure of ward boundaries from seven to nine, took place prior to Council elections for the Third Council held in March 2003.  

Third Council March 2003

Council: Cr Sheridan Bond, Cr Bruce Lougheed, Cr Graeme Middlemiss, Cr Lisa Price, Cr Lisa Proctor, Cr Bob Smith, Cr Peter Tyler, Cr Darrell White, and Cr Anthony Zimora.  

Mayors: Cr Graeme Middlemiss (March 2003 to March 2004); Cr Darrell White (March 2004 to December 2004); Cr Bruce Lougheed (December 2004 to November 2005)

  • Ms Penny Holloway resigned as Chief Executive Officer in April 2001. Mr Richard Hancock was appointed CEO in August 2001 and served until May 2004. Mr Paul Buckley was appointed CEO in August 2004.
  • In March 2005 the majority of Council's administration was relocated from a number of administration offices across the municipality to the purpose built corporate headquarters located in Commercial Road Morwell.    
  • As part of a state-wide reform process, elections for the Fourth Council were realigned to November 2005.

Fourth Council November 2005

Council: Cr Derek Amos, Cr Doug Caulfield, Cr Susan Lloyd, Cr Bruce Lougheed, Cr Graeme Middlemiss, Cr Lisa Price, Cr Darrell White, Cr David Wilson and Cr Anthony Zimora.

Mayors: Cr Lisa Price (November 2005 to November 2006); Cr Anthony Zimora (November 2006 to December 2007); Cr Bruce Lougheed (December 2007 to November 2008).

  • Following the resignation of Cr Derek Amos effective 1 May 2007, a by-election for the Galbraith Ward was conducted. Cr Sandy Kam was subsequently elected as the Galbraith Ward Councillor.
  • During 2007, the Victorian Electoral Commission was appointed by Latrobe City to undertake a review which considered the number of councillors and the City’s ward structure. As a consequence, the municipality retained its existing ward structure but a number of changes to ward boundaries were made, effective for the November 2008 election.
  • In November 2008, as part of a state-wide reform process, every municipality in Victoria held local government elections on the same day, with those candidates elected to hold office for a four year term.

Fifth Council November 2008

Council: Cr Rohan Fitzgerald, Cr Sharon Gibson, Cr Sandy Kam, Cr Bruce Lougheed, Cr Graeme Middlemiss, Cr Kellie O’Callaghan, Cr Lisa Price, Cr Darrell White, and Cr Ed Vermeulen.

Mayors: Cr Lisa Price (December 2008 to December 2009); Cr Kellie O’Callaghan (December 2009 to December 2010); Cr Darrell White (December 2010 to December 2011); Cr Ed Vermeulen (December 2011 to October 2012).

  • Following the resignation of Cr Rohan Fitzgerald effective May 2011, a by-election for the Dunbar Ward was conducted. Cr Dale Harriman was subsequently elected Councillor.

Sixth Council November 2012

Council: Cr Sharon Gibson, Cr Peter Gibbons, Cr Dale Harriman, Cr Sandy Kam, Cr Graeme Middlemiss, Cr Kellie O’Callaghan, Cr Michael Rossiter, Cr Christine Sindt, and Cr Darrell White.

Mayors: Cr Sandy Kam (November 2012 to current).

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