The former High Court Justice, the Hon Robert French AC said:
Law and history go hand-in-hand. The law administered in the courts every day, both statute and common law, is embedded in historical contexts.1
So it is with early Australian Courthouses, as places where the law was, and in many cases still is, administered. The aim here is to delve into the past to uncover a flavour of the historical contexts, both legal and non-legal, hopefully with an emphasis on inheritance law. Not all old courthouses are currently operating, but see a gallery here.
Early courthouses of New South Wales
- Armidale Courthouse 1859
- Bangalow Courthouse
- Berry Courthouse 1892
- Bungendore Courthouse (former) 1864, New South Wales
- Glen Innes Courthouse 1873
- Gundagai Courthouse
- Holbrook Courthouse 1873
- Manly Courthouse 1909
- Murrumburra Courthouse 1880
- Murrurundi Courthouse 1840
- Water Police Courthouse 1885 (former), Sydney
- Young Courthouse (former) 1886
Early courthouses of South Australia
- Auburn Courthouse 1860
- Clare Courthouse 1878
- Norwood Courthouse 1937
- Port Augusta Courthouse 1884
- Strathalbyn Courthouse c1860
- Willunga Courthouse 1865
- Port Adelaide Courthouse 1882
Above: the former Willunga Courthouse 1855, SA
Early courthouses of Victoria
The Yackandandah Courthouse (former) 1864 in north easterrn Victoria.
Early courthouses of Queensland
The former Port Douglas Courthouse 1879, Queensland below:
Early courthouses of Western Australia
Early Courthouses of Northern Territory
Many courthouses have been listed as heritage items on state registers. For example the Heritage Branch of the New South Wales Government, Environment and Heritage, is responsible for the State Heritage Register.
1.’The Past, not such a Foreign Country’, a speech to the State Library of Western Australia, Behind the Covers Foundation, Chief Justice Robert French AC, 16 May 2013.
Header image: Berry Courthouse (former), NSW, by B Stead.
© BHS Legal
February 2015, updated April 2018