Borough of Queenscliffe

The Borough of Queenscliffe is a local government area in the Barwon South West region of Victoria, Australia, located in the southern part of the state. It is the smallest local government area in Victoria, covering an area of 10.83 square kilometres (4.18 sq mi)[3] and, in June 2018, had a population of 2,982.[1] It includes only two settlements, which are Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale. It is situated on the south coast, south-east of Geelong on the Bellarine Peninsula south of Swan Bay and next to the Port Phillip Heads, the entrance to Port Phillip Bay from Bass Strait.

Borough of Queenscliffe
Australia Victoria Queenscliffe Borough.svg
Population2,982 (2018)[1]
 • Density275.35/km2 (713.1/sq mi)
Gazetted12 May 1863[2]
Area10.83 km2 (4.2 sq mi)[3]
MayorCr Ross Ebbels
Council seatQueenscliff
RegionBarwon South West
State electorate(s)Bellarine
Federal division(s)Corangamite
Borough of Queenscliffe logo horizontal.png
WebsiteBorough of Queenscliffe
LGAs around Borough of Queenscliffe:
Greater Geelong Greater Geelong Port Phillip Bay
Greater Geelong Borough of Queenscliffe Port Phillip Bay
Bass Strait Bass Strait The Rip

The Borough is governed and administered by the Queenscliffe Borough Council; its seat of local government and administrative centre is located at the council headquarters in Queenscliff. The Borough is named after the main settlement located in the centre of the LGA, that is Queenscliff, which is also the LGA's most populous urban centre with a population of 1,315.[4]


The Borough of Queenscliffe was established on 12 May 1863.[5] Queenscliff was first and foremost built for government purposes, providing postal, customs, health and telegraph services, lighthouse and signal services, military and defence establishments and the sea pilots service.[citation needed]

Survival of the local council restructureEdit

Queenscliffe is the last borough remaining in both Victoria and all of Australia and was the only LGA not to have been subject to changes to its boundaries and/or name in the Victorian local government restructure which took place between 1993 and 1995. Had the same restructuring principles, which had been applied to other municipalities in the state, also been applied to Queenscliffe, the Borough would have been absorbed into the new City of Greater Geelong.[citation needed]

Queenscliffe's exclusion from the restructure was debated in the Victorian Parliament at the time.

Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett, in explaining his reasons, stated:

It was my view initially that Queenscliffe should have been included. When the government had a look at the KPMG report it outlined the way Queenscliffe was administered, which was in such a way that the people of Queenscliffe would not benefit by the amalgamation. In other words, the people of Queenscliffe have been running themselves well, and small or large communities that do well ought to be recognised.[6]

Labor member for Melbourne Neil Cole suggested that his reasons were, in fact, based on internal Liberal Party considerations:

...the powerful Liberal Party forces in Queenscliffe were able to argue that they are different from Geelong people. The Liberal Party power base there said, If you think you are going to take Queenscliffe away, think again. If you do it to us you will be in trouble--. So someone got on the telephone, and what happened? For no apparent reason other than Liberal political purposes there is the absolute anomaly of Queenscliffe not being included in the amalgamation.[7]

Kennett explicitly denied that this was the case:

..the honourable member for Melbourne said, that Queenscliffe happens to be more conservative than Labor in its make-up of population. I can assure all members that that was not the reason for the decision.[8]

Labor member George Seitz suggested a more innocent reason:

The Borough of Queenscliffe has not been included in the proposed amalgamation probably because of the number of elderly retired people in the area. The residents of Portarlington, Drysdale and St Leonards have expressed concern about their rates and the retention of the services that have been provided by the local council, such as nursing, podiatry and other services. Those people are used to the availability of face-to-face services and feel comfortable in a rural setting.[9]

Overall, the reasons for Queenscliffe being excluded remain unclear, and the range of opinions may perhaps best be summarised by Peter Loney's quip:

...we are not sure why it was omitted. The Minister for Local Government said it was because Queenscliffe is unique. The Premier said it was because of the council's effectiveness. Some people suggest the uniqueness of Queenscliffe has a lot to do with the number of influential Liberal Party members living at Point Lonsdale who have exerted pressure.[10]

Reduction in number of councillorsEdit

At the 2008 elections the number of councillors was reduced from seven to the current five.[11]


Current compositionEdit

The council is composed of five councillors elected to represent an unsubdivided municipality.[12] The current council was elected in November 2020 for a four-year term.[13] Councillors are elected on a proportional representation basis.

Ward Councillor Notes
Unsubdivided   Ross Ebbels
  Donnie Grigau
  Michael Grout
  Fleur Hewitt
  Susan Salter

Former and current MayorsEdit

  • Cr Pat Semmens (2006–2008)
  • Cr Bob Merriman (2008–2012; 2018–19)
  • Cr Hélène Cameron (2012–2016)
  • Cr Tony Francis (2016–2017)
  • Cr Susan Salter (2017–2018)
  • Cr Ross Ebbels (2019–pres)

Administration and governanceEdit

The council meets in the council chambers at the council headquarters in the Queenscliffe Municipal Offices, which is also the location of the council's administrative activities. It also provides customer services at its administrative centre in Queenscliff.

Towns and localitiesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18: Population Estimates by Local Government Area (ASGS 2018), 2017 to 2018". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019. Estimated resident population, 30 June 2018.
  2. ^ Victoria Government Gazette – Online Archive (1837–1997). "Proclamation of the Municipal District of Queenscliffe". State Library of Victoria. G47 of 1863. State Government of Victoria (published 12 May 1863). p. 1039. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Borough of Queenscliffe Council profile - Victorian Electoral Commission". Victorian Electoral Commission. 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  4. ^ Census QuickStats (2011). "Queenscliff (SS) – SSC21123". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Government of Australia. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  5. ^ Schedule B. No. 54, Queenscliffe of the Municipal Institutions Act No. 184 – an act to consolidate and amend laws relating to Municipal Institutions.
  6. ^ Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Volume 411, 27 April 1993, Page 1205.
  7. ^ Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Volume 411, 27 April 1993, Page 1203.
  8. ^ Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Volume 411, 27 April 1993, Page 1206.
  9. ^ Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Volume 411, 27 April 1993, Page 1199.
  10. ^ Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Volume 411, 27 April 1993, Page 1163.
  11. ^ "2008 election results". Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  12. ^ Local Government in Victoria. "Queenscliffe Borough Council". Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure. State Government of Victoria. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Current Councillors - Borough of Queenscliffe". Retrieved 17 November 2020.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 38°16′00″S 144°39′00″E / 38.26667°S 144.65000°E / -38.26667; 144.65000