As The Wimmera Mail-Times celebrates 150 years of publishing, we're looking back at some of the biggest stories in the region.
It has been almost 29 years since the Kennett government restructured local government in Victoria.
There are still mixed opinions about whether it was the right idea.
The move saw 210 councils dissolve and more than 1600 elected councillors sacked, creating 78 new councils through amalgamations.
The Horsham Rural City Council was formed in 1995, a forced marriage between the City of Horsham, most of the Shire of Wimmera and Shire of Arapiles, and part of the Shire of Kowree.
The forced mergers of neighbouring shires were challenging; they required leaders with thick skin. Enter Kerryn Shade.
Mr Shade had been involved in local government for 30 years - he worked at six councils during this time, including the Shire of Arapiles and Warracknabeal Shire - when he was made acting chief executive.
Former Member for Mallee Peter Fisher, Tony Gregson and Max Dickson were made area commissioners and were given the same powers as councillors.
LOOKING BACK ON 150 YEARS:
Mr Shade has consistently described amalgamation as a "divorce".
"There are winners and losers in amalgamations. The big get bigger, small gets smaller or vanish," he said.
"Originally, there was only one shire - the Shire of Wimmera - but over 100 years, everyone broke away during the horse and buggy days. They had fought off previous attempts at amalgamation.
"A lot of people were surprised because Jeff Kennett fought off amalgamation when John Cain was in power, only to change his mind a few years later.
Winners and losers
Mr Shade admitted there were some upsides to the radical move.
"Horsham now had one planning scheme; before, it had three, and they didn't always agree," he said.
"The Horsham Golf Club was in the Shire of Arapiles, the Horsham tip was in another. Horsham City Council was a very small hub in the middle."
Unfortunately, all 210 council CEOs could not return to their roles in the new local governments, spreading angst across the state.
"If there were 210 CEOs losing their jobs, there were 210 engineering teams, 210 teams of administrators," he said.
"A lot of them didn't get jobs, so a lot of good experience and skills went out the door."
Based in Warracknabeal, Mr Shade pushed for the construction of the shire offices, a move that he believes solidified the town's future.
"At the time, it was controversial because the public wanted a new football pavilion at Anzac Park," he said.
"In the end we got both, but I believe if we didn't build that, the Yarriambiack Shire centre might have been in Hopetoun or Donald."
The future of local government is always a topical matter; Mr Shade says more changes could be on the horizon.
"Some people said amalgamation didn't go far enough," he said.
"Some people said they didn't want councillors back because they were lay people.
"I think there'll be future amalgamations because of population decline. There will always be a council in Horsham and probably Stawell or Ararat. The problem is the small towns wants representation, so it gets back to democracys level in view of the state government.
"I think they'll always be local government, but it may be bigger because you have to be sustainable, and that includes attracting people."
Mr Shade retired in 2010 after 45 years in local government.