The story of the City of Stirling dates back to 1871, when it formed part of a 647 square kilometre area governed by the Perth Road Board. At that time, the total population across Western Australia accounted for just 25,000 people. The area managed by the Perth Road Board was either rural or completely undeveloped and included land areas that would later become the cities of Wanneroo, Bayswater and Belmont.
During its first 20 years, the Perth Road Board dedicated the majority of its time and funds to constructing and repairing roads and bridges. A makeshift road made from wooden planks connected isolated rural areas on the coast with Scarborough and Innaloo. That plank road was effectively an early version of Scarborough Beach Road.
Early pioneers faced extremely harsh conditions and suffered considerable hardship in their efforts to develop and farm the virgin bushland. During pioneering times, the long-gone Balcatta Hotel on Wanneroo Road would offer respite for travellers returning from the rigours of the north-west stock route.
The Local Government Act 1960 was passed in July 1961 with road boards becoming shires and uniform legislation put in place to govern cities, towns and shires. That same year, the Perth Road Board became the Shire of Perth with a population of approximately 84,000 people.
A decade later, the Shire of Perth was renamed the City of Stirling in 1971 with its population almost doubled to 160,000 people. The change to become a City was introduced in conjunction with the 100th anniversary since the establishment of the original Perth Road Board.