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Early Australian Courthouses – articles

Articles on selected historical Australian Courthouses mostly from the Colonial era.  A gallery of historic courthouses can be found here.


historic Australian courthouses, Albany, Western Australia

Albany Courthouse in Albany, Western Australia


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



Berry Courthouse, early Australian Courthouses
Berry Courthouse (former) 1892, NSW

Early courthouses of South Australia


Willunga Courthouse, early Australian courthouses, old Australian courthouses
Former Willunga Courthouse 1855, Willunga, SA


Early courthouses of Victoria


Former Yackandandah Courthouse 1864 in north eastern Victoria

Early courthouses of Queensland

The former Port Douglas Courthouse 1879 in Port Douglas, North Queensland below:


Port Douglas Courthouse, early Australian Courthouses, old Australian Courthouses, colonial Australian courthouses












 Early courthouses of Western Australia


Northam Courthouse, early Australian courthouses
Northam Courthouse, WA










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.


February 2015, updated 23 November 2020

B Stead
BHS Legal
All images by B Stead.

© BHS Legal

Bungendore former courthouse, police station
The former Bungendore Courthouse, now the Bungendore Police Station.