The Fijian Village of Suva was situated on the present site of the Botanical Gardens now Thurston Gardens. It was taken and burnt by the Rewa people on 6th April, 1843, but was later re-built. When the area was settled by Europeans the Village was moved to Korovou.

The Suva Area was first occupied in 1870 by settlers who arrived in the steamer “Alhambra” to take up allotments of land granted by the Polynesian Company – a Melbourne Association which, in 1868, had obtained rights over the land by charter.

By 1877, it had been decided to remove the Capital from Levuka to Suva, and a plan of the proposed township was prepared, the chosen area (the Polynesian Company had planned to establish a township at the head of the bay on land between the Tamavua River and Korovou, but this came to nothing) being situated south of Walu Bay and extending a measured mile along the harbor front to the site of the old Village, and the same distance inland. Negotiations were opened for the acquisition of land from the holding company, and ultimately the Government secured every alternate block within the township area.

In August 1880 public land sales were held, attracting among others a shipload of prospective buyers from Australia. Shortly afterwards work begun on the construction of roads and public buildings; and in August 1882, the Governor and his Staff moved to the Capital.

The cutting of hills and the reclamation of shore flats have both contributed to the making of the Town. A soapstone knoll was leveled to form the site of the first Town Hall (Victoria Memorial Hall) which is still standing and; the bed of a stream intersecting the business section was drained and filled; mangrove swamps were reclaimed to form building sites and an approach to the wharf, then situated behind the Post Office.

During the 1913-16 period, extensive areas were reclaimed and filled for the King’s Wharf and for industrial sites at Walu Bay.

Suva first became a Municipality in 1910 when the operation of the Municipal Institution Ordinance of 1909 came into effect. Prior to that, Suva was a Town Board originally constituted under the Towns Ordinance No. 16 of 1877, during which year the First Town Board came into being.

Previous to this, from 1877 to 1883, Suva was administered by a partially elected Town Board with the inclusion of three officially nominated members.

In 1935, elective representation was abolished through the effect of the Towns Ordinance No. 33 of 1935 which replaced the existing constitution of the Board with a panel of 7 officials and 6 unofficial members all nominated by the Governor.

This system of administration continued until 1949 when municipal representation on an elective basis was restored under the Local Government (Towns) Ordinance, 1948.

This Ordinance provided for the election of 6 Europeans and 6 Indian Members, two further Members being nominated by the Governor in Council.

In 1952, the area was extended to include the Samabula and Muanikau Wards. The original town area was approximately 1 sq.mile but the inclusion of the new Wards enlarged the area to approximately 8 sq. miles.

Suva was proclaimed a City on 7th October 1953.

In 1961, the Local Government (Towns) Ordinance was amended to provide for the election of 6 Fijian Councillors and following the election on 28th October, 1961, the Council consisted of a total of 20 Members:-

  • 6 elected European Councillors
  • 6 elected Fijian Councillors
  • 6 Indian Nominated Councillors, and
  • 2 Councillors nominated by the Governor.

The Local Government Act 1972 which came into force on 5th May, 1972, introduced Common Roll Elections in place of Communal Roll Elections.

Nominated Members were also abolished.

Empowered by the new Act, the Electoral Commission on 9th August, 1972, redefined the existing Ward Boundaries of the City and created the additional Tamavua Ward. The Commission also ruled that each Ward be represented by five elected Councillors.

The first Common Roll Elections under the new Act for the City was held on 4th November, 1972, and resulted in the election to office of the following Councillors:-


Cr. (Mrs.) Mavis J. Beddoes; Cr. R.K. Patel; Cr. Jone K. Banuve; Cr. D.B. Rathod, Cr. M.A. Sahu Khan


Cr. C.P. Bidesi, Cr. H. Singh, Cr. N. Dean, Cr. M. Singh, Cr. K.N.S. Pillai


Cr. N.C. Maharaj, Cr. L. Volavola, Cr. S. Lutu, Cr. J.M. Rokosoi, Cr. T.I. Rounds


Cr. P.R. Allan, MBE; Cr. R. Motilal; Cr. I.M. Vuibau; Cr. C.C. Bradnam; Cr. M.Y. Khan.

Councillors are elected for a term of 3 years. The Mayor is elected annually.

The City of Suva is the largest City in the South Pacific Commission’s realm and is the dominant urban centre in Fiji. It has a population of approximately 70,000 in 1974. Suva Peninsula has an area of approximately 10 sq. miles in 1974. Currently (2012), 6,486 acres and 2,624 hectares.