top of page

Launceston was proclaimed a municipality by an Act of Parliament on 30 October 1852. The proclamation came 47 years after the area then known as Patersonia, had been settled by a British garrison lead by Lieutenant Colonel William Paterson.


  • Government elections held in Van Diemen's Land. Aldermen elected the first Mayor, Alderman William Stammers Button, later that day at the first meeting of the Town Council.

  • Mayoral portraits of Alderman Button and every Mayor since are displayed in the formal foyer of the Launceston Town Hall. The number of Aldermen has changed during intervening years, from seven to nine to twelve.

  • Launceston was incorporated as a town on 20 October 1858. 

  • During the late 1850s, drainage works were carried out in Launceston, the start of Australia's first underground sewerage system. 

  • By 1861 Launceston's population had grown to more than 10,000 people and in 1864 the Town Council began building new headquarters, the present Town Hall.

  • The town was declared a city by an Act of State Parliament in October 1888. The Act, known as the Launceston Corporation Act, was effective from 1 January 1889.

  • On 8 May 1985, the councils of Launceston City, St Leonards and Lilydale were amalgamated to form the new Launceston City Council. After this amalgamation a number of rural areas were included in the city's Local Government boundary. The most recent boundary changes were in 1992 when parts of Prospect and Relbia were included within the city's boundary.

  • 67,449 residents now live in Launceston.

The grand Launceston Town Hall is one of the city's greatest demonstrations of amazing architecture. 

MOTTO: The city's coat of arms is represented consistently throughout the Town Hall. 
The council commissioned architect Peter Mills to design the Victorian-Italianate style Town Hall in 1864. 
It cost 6,000 pounds to build, and local Tasmanian woods were utilised prominently.

The building first became occupied in 1867.
In a letter to the editor of The Cornwall Chronicle on May 9, 1867, conjecture about the Town Hall's construction came to light. 
Mr Mills, who had been credited with designing the Town Hall, denied responsibility. 

MOMENTS IN TIME: City of Launceston building services coordinator Warren Prewer with the Town Hall tapestries.
"As some persons may be under the impression that the Town Hall was designed by me, I beg permission to state that such was not the case," Mr Mills wrote.
"The drawings, which were by Mr Horace Bennett...had been agreed to and contracts taken for the work some time before I had anything to do with it," the letter said. 
Mr Mills said while he had been Clerk of Works and supervised construction and alerted workers to defects, he did not deserve credit for the Town Hall's design. 
In 1936, the Town Hall area expanded when vacant land on the building's north side became part of the building.
Five Corinthian pillars were added to the original four pillars.
A new wing was added to the western side of the Town Hall in 1970.
On February 28, 1978, a fire tore through the City Engineer's drawing office in the wing built in 1970.
Most of its contents were destroyed by the blaze. 

PLAQUES: Town Hall walls are adorned with plaques thanking and commemorating Launceston's input over the years. 
Luckily, the Launceston Fire Brigade managed to save invaluable city records kept since 1890. 
The Town Hall is littered with reminders of Launceston's rich relationships and sprawling historical significance. 
Plaques from visiting cities and various organisations, gifts from sister cities and regimental flags remind visitors of the city's interesting and diverse history.
A "secret" room, the Flag Loft, is home to old items and where flags are kept due to its location close to the flagpole.
Its even rumoured to have a resident ghost.
City of Launceston building services coordinator Warren Prewer said the Town Hall encapsulates Launceston's rich history. 
"My favourite thing about the Town Hall is the formal area...the original 1860s section with the council chambers and the formal foyer, it's just a beautiful space," Mr Prewer said.
"This is where Launceston as a city has been managed and run from since its establishment,” Mr Prewer said.
“From a civic point-of-view it's the most important [building]."
These days, the Town Hall complex houses offices and holds official meetings and functions.

bottom of page