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Municipalisation in Australia: The Case of Launceston 1880–1914

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This article expands upon the crucial role of the state in the provision of infrastructure in late-nineteenth century Australia by examining the hitherto overlooked role of local government, and in particular, the provision of municipal services in Launceston, Tasmania's second largest city. From the 1890s, socialist groups across Europe actively sought to control councils, believing “good” local government the key to social reform. Municipalisation in Tasmania had more pragmatic origins. Colonial governments encouraged local-level service provision to prevent the draining of their own finances. In Launceston an ideological element occasionally surfaced. But municipalisation was driven by resentment of a neglectful Tasmanian government, by the desire to modernise the town, by intent to secure new sources of revenue, and by the strong civic pride of businessmen.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of History and Classics, University of Tasmania

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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