The Municipality of Kew (1860-1863), the Borough of Kew (1863-1910), the Town of Kew (1910-1921) and the City of Kew (1921-1994) were local government instrumentalities in the State of Victoria. In 1994, the City of Kew was amalgamated, together with the former Cities of Camberwell and Hawthorn, into the new City of Boroondara (1994- ). Like other local government entities of the period, Kew was administered by town clerks. The two notable town clerks in Kew's history were H. H. (Henry Hirst) Harrison (1868-1955) and W. D. (William Dickie) Birrell (1899-1974). Harrison was appointed to the position in 1901 and retired in 1938 after 37 years. Birrell, appointed Acting Town Clerk in 1921, became Town Clerk in 1938, following Harrison's retirement. He continued in this role until his retirement in 1966. A large part of this collection of civic ephemera was assembled by W. D. Birrell.
This is part of an historically significant civic collection, containing hundreds of separate invitations, documents, greeting cards, programmes and tickets issued and/or collected by successive town clerks. Items in the collection illuminate the political, social and cultural history of the district. As a continuous record, ranging across most decades of the Twentieth Century, they reveal changing tastes in design, values and relationships in the history of local government in Victoria.