A crudely compiled petition to the state government, signed by just 104 residents, led to the municipal recognition of Wagga as a 'borough'.
Though the document was signed in June 1869, it was not until March 15, 1870 - nine months later owing to the speed of the post - that Wagga was given the official title.
"There would have been about 1000 people living here in 1870," said historian and city archives director Wayne Doubleday.
"Only 50 signatures were required for a town to become a 'borough' though."
To celebrate the city's 150 years of civic existence, the Regional Archives and Museum of the Riverina have compiled an exhibition of photos and documents that will go on display at the Civic Centre's arcade from March 10.
For the privilege of the title 'borough', from 1870 onwards, the residents would be required to pay municipal taxes - or rates.
"There must have been enough benefits to becoming a borough that people would be willing to pay rates," Mr Doubleday said.
"So, the petition really said that 104 people were happy to pay rates for services and amenities. Street lights, sewerage and gas though even those didn't come about until the 1920s."
The Municipalities Act of 1867 had given rise to many towns around NSW petitioning for township, and Wagga was far from the first.
"There would have been bigger places even around here," Mr Doubleday said.
"Hay, Deniliquin, Goulburn and Yass were all bigger at that stage.
"There was always the Albury and Wagga competition, and Albury had gotten their title in 1859."
Civic responsibility was then granted another three months after the town's gazetting, with the establishment of the town's first council on June 11, 1869.
Divided into three wards - the south, central and north - each zone nominated three representatives, making the first Wagga council, therefore, consist of up to nine men.
"Prior to this, there was no local government, the state government controlled everything. I imagine being a borough appealed to the upper classes and the businessmen because it meant local decision-making," Mr Doubleday said.
But without a standalone civic precinct or council chambers, the first meetings of aldermen took place in the home of Frederick Anslow Tompson.
His "Waterview" mansion - near to where Romano's Hotel now stands - served for the makeshift meetings until September 1882.
During the ensuing decade, a council chambers building was commissioned and built by July 1882 on the site where it still currently stands.
But this chapter of the city's history also represented the first civic controversy, when builder Charles Hardy refused to surrender the keys for two months.
The architect had promised construction would be completed by December 4, 1881, and had blamed Mr Hardy for its seven-month delay.
Mr Hardy feared his payment would be similarly delayed, and so he kept the keys until his bill was paid in full.