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Bangalow Courthouse NSW

The former Bangalow Courthouse sits on the traditional land of the Bundjalung people, Arakwal people, Minjungbal people and the Widjabul people on Bundjalung country. 

Bangalow Courthouse, Byron Street, Bangalow, NSW

Built in 1909 the Bangalow Courthouse was constructed alongside the Police lock-up,  which had been erected in 1905.

At the time Bangalow was described as a ‘budding township’, servicing a developing dairying industry, see location map below.  The Armidale Courthouse on the Northern Tablelands was some distance inland.  As with any growing community, it needed a police presence with adequate facilities. A number of the original Federation era shop facades lining the main street have been preserved rendering the townscape with special charm.

Before the Bangalow police station and lock-up was built Bangalow police were required to transport people in custody to the Byron Bay Police Station. The Northern Star, November 1904.

A new courthouse

The Bangalow Progress Association reported early in 1909 that the NSW Attorney-General and Minister for Justice approved the erection of a Courthouse at Bangalow, at a cost of £350: the Northern Star, 5 March 1909.

The following year in May 1910, the Bangalow Court of Petty Sessions was officially opened, having been officially proclaimed in the NSW Government Gazette No.72, 11 May 1910, p. 2483.  It was established under the provisions of section 5 of the Justices Act, 1902 (Act No.27, 1902), NSW.

Coronial inquiries

The Bangalow Courthouse was the site of a range of coronial inquiries over the early years. In 1918 a local farmer and three of his children drowned in a well on the farm.  On the available evidence the Coroner was unable to find any cause as to how the family came to be in the well.  

A deceased swagman was found in scrub in the Bangalow area in 1920.  As no one knew anything about him the Coroner was called to inquire into the cause of death.  Nothing was found and the cause of death declared unknown. 

In 1928 in an inquiry was made into the death of a woman knocked down by a horseman while walking along a local road.  The Coroner found it was an accident.
Source: The Northern Star.

Magistrates for the Bangalow Courthouse

Police Magistrate Hamblin left for a new appointment in 1915, five years after the Court was established.  One Saturday before the Court opened (yes, on a Saturday back then), the local magistrates met in the Courthouse.  This was to give him a farewell and present him with a ‘token of esteem’.  He had lived in Bangalow for some time administering the law.

One speechmaker noted that Magistrate Hamblin was a person

‘..who naturally would be criticised, not always favourably by those losing their cases, to be generally accorded the confidence of the great majority who acknowledged that he had held the scale of justice with an even beam.’  The Richmond River Express and Casino Kyogle Advertiser, 29 October 1915. 




Location map of Bangalow, northern New South Wales.  Bangalow is a short drive from Byron Bay and Ballina, both on the coast. 


B Stead
March 2014, updated June 2023

© BHS Legal

More historic Australian courthouse buildings can be viewed here and articles on some early Australian courthouses here.


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