Abolition of the Provinces
The Abolition of the Provinces Act became operative in November 1876 and the administration of many purely local matters was made the responsibility of elective borough and county councils. The Counties Bill of 1876 sought the merger of the 314 road boards into 39 counties, but parochial interests ensured that there were 63 counties by the time the Bill became law. The old provinces, or subdivisions of them, served as administrative areas for the education boards set up under the Education Act of 1877 and for the decentralised offices of several Government Departments, including that of Lands and Survey. But the progress of settlement made the old provinces unsuitable as units for land administration. The Land District boundaries have been altered from time to time and show several discrepancies from the provincial divisions.