Fully elected local government began in Whyalla in January 1970. Prior to this date, the City was governed by the Town Commission. When Whyalla was proclaimed as a town in 1914, it existed solely for the purpose of supporting BHP's mining activities. All of the development in the town was undertaken and paid for by the company. As the town expanded during the war years, many of the residents wanted a greater say in how the town was run. The first Town Commission was formed in May 1945, and consisted of three elected members, and three BHP appointed members. The chairman of the Commission was Charles Ryan.
The Civic Building in Darling Terrace (left) was opened in 1961. Built at a cost 25,000 pounds, it housed a library, office accommodation, a meeting room and reception room for the Town Commission which moved from its old premises in Horwood St. The building also contained a picture theatre and a row of shops along Forsyth St.
The Town Commission was eventually replaced with a fully elected Council in January 1970. The elected members of Whyalla Council are a Mayor, eight Councillors and three Area Councillors. Whyalla's electorate is divided into South, East, North, & West wards, with two councillors representing each ward.