The Melbourne municipality (Town of Melbourne), was created by Act 6 Victoria No. 7 of the Legislative Council of New South Wales on 12 August 1842. Four wards were created for the election of councillors, the boundaries intersecting at Bourke and Elizabeth Streets.

Melbourne's municipal territory initially extended to the limits of settlement. In 1855 East Collingwood, Prahran, Richmond, St. Kilda, South Melbourne, Fitzroy, North Melbourne and Port Melbourne were severed from Melbourne. The Melbourne municipality then consisted of Melbourne Central City, Carlton, South Yarra (west of Punt Road), East Melbourne and West Melbourne. On 30 October 1905 Flemington and Kensington borough and North Melbourne town were united with Melbourne city.

The city's council was governed on a ward system, each ward having three councillors elected by voters and an alderman elected by the councillors. At the turn of the century there were 32 council members. After various changes to the numbers of represented, the State Government replaced the councillors with three commissioners on 6 May 1981. They remained in office until the end of 1982, speeding the issue of planning permits.

In late 1992 the Liberal Party/National Party Coalition replaced the councillors with appointed commissioners. The residential part of Carlton North was transferred to Fitzroy city. In preparation for the return of an elected council the residential areas of Flemington and part of North Melbourne were severed from the municipality, and Southbank, Docklands and the Show Grounds were added. The new City of Melbourne was created by Order of the Governor in Council on Thursday, 18 November, 1993.

Melbourne city municipality today includes Carlton, Docklands, East Melbourne, Jolimont, Kensington, North Melbourne, Parkville, Royal Park, Southbank, South Yarra (part) and West Melbourne.

Melbourne city's census populations were 36, 668 (1861); 54,993 (1871); 73,361 (1891); 103,598 (1911, after absorbing Flemington, Kensington and North Melbourne); 99, 861 (1947); 75,830 (1971); and 60,476 (1991). In 1996, after the reduction of Melbourne municipality's area, its census population was 48,560.

Australia Places website, Monash University

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