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Glen Innes Courthouse 1873, NSW

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Glen Innes Courthouse


Glen Innes Courthouse 1873, Grey Street, Glen Innes NSW

The Glen Innes Courthouse is still operational as a local court in New South Wales.

The present building bears the date 1873.  As with many other early colonial buildings it was designed by the architect James Barnet and constructed using local basalt stone and granite. Glenn Innes is around 100 kilometres north of Armidale where a courthouse had been constructed in 1858.


Glen Innes Courthouse, Australian Courthouses, Australian legal history, early Australian courthouses


The Glen Innes Courthouse was proclaimed as a Warden’s Court in 1877 to deal with mining matters and known as the Glen Innes Warden’s Court.

In 1858 600 pounds in funds were allowed by the Legislative Assembly, for the erection of the first version of the Glen Innes Courthouse: the Sydney Morning Herald 10 November 1858.


Glen Innes Courthouse, early Australian Courthouses, administration of justice, Australian legal history


Australian Courthouses

In the following year the magistrates reported that the lock-up and court-house at Glen Innes had been ‘handed over to the Bench ‘ and the work had been ‘satisfactorily executed’. (11 April 1860, the Sydney Morning Herald).



More than administering justice – courthouses as convenient meeting places

In early colonial times courthouses were convenient civic places for meetings and discussions of perhaps quasi-legal kinds.

For example in 1869 the Sydney Morning Herald reported a Notice of Annual Meeting of Owners, under the Diseases of Sheep Act of 1866.  Sheepowners ‘competent to vote for the election of Directors for the several Sheep Districts’ were required to meet at specific towns and places in the Sheep Districts, Glen Innes being one. It was directed that where a Court of Petty Sessions was held, Glen Innes was one such court, the meeting would be in the Court-house.


Glen Innes Courthouse, early Australian Courthouses, Australian legal history


Fire in the Courthouse

In 1902 it was reported that a fire broke out in the Glen Innes Courthouse, completely destroying the sergeant’s office. Papers, books and important depositions relevant to current quarter sessions proceedings were destroyed.  23 May 1902, The Sydney Morning Herald.


Glen Innes


See more historic Australian courthouses here and short articles on selected Colonial Courthouses here.


B Stead
BHS Legal
June 2014, updated 13 May 2021.

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