The Council that gave us secret ballot

First LC

It’s 164 years since Victoria’s first Legislative Council was opened on 13 November 1851.

The first meeting was held at St Patrick’s Hall, Melbourne.

First LC2

Meeting of the first Legislative Council

The Council then consisted of 30 members, with 20 elected and the remainder appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor.

It served the colony of Victoria for five years and is credited with making at least three significant and lasting contributions to Victoria’s parliamentary system.

The first Legislative Council:

  • was responsible for drafting a Constitution for Victoria which provided the framework for a system of responsible government
  • introduced the secret ballot for parliamentary elections which was a unique innovation in the world at that time
  • initiated the building of Parliament House in Spring Street in Melbourne, the first stage of which was completed in 1856.


For more information on the history of the Legislative Council, see our information sheet.

See more news from the Parliament of Victoria