Yackandandah Courthouse 1864, 4A Williams St, Yackandandah, Victoria.
The Yackandandah Courthouse constructed in the early 1860s is no longer an operating Courthouse. It lies around the corner from the main commercial street of the heritage town of Yackandandah, in northern-eastern Victoria, tucked away behind a pale picket fence under spreading deciduous trees. It was constructed not long after the courthouse at Beechworth, around 22 km south west. The Courthouse sits on the traditional lands of the Yaithmathang or Yaithmathang people.
The Courthouse has been given heritage status by the Department of the Environment of the Australian Government and is listed on the Register of the National Estate, Item No. 4676. Not far away is another heritage-listed courthouse, the Beechworth Courthouse.
Settlement in the area was founded on the discovery of gold and mining activity in the 1850s although explorers such as Hume and Hovell passed through the area much earlier in the 1820s. Read more on its history from here.
In 1857 funding for the erection of local courts at Yackandandah and Beechworth was approved by the Legislative Assembly: The Star, (Ballarat), 2 July 1857. A County Court operated at Yackandandah in 1860. The judge appointed to the County Court at Beechworth, Thomas S Cope Esq., was appointed to that at Yackandandah at the same time. The Argus, 1860.
In 1862 tThe Yackandandah Court of Mines heard a case on the dissolution of a partnership: Charley Prin Sin a Son v Won Paw and Others: the Ovens and Murray Advertiser, April 1862.
Rates and “sustenance fees” were set periodically by courts. In January 1862 one such “Special Court of Petty Sessions” was held at the Courthouse: the Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth), January 1862.
1864 – the Government Gazette notified that a contract had been accepted for the construction of the Yackandandah Courthouse from D Sexton for £1,498.1
In that year a man was charged in the Police Court at Yackandandah with larceny. He had allegedly stolen a cheque and cash some months prior from a till on the local racecourse.
The case occupied the Court for most of the day and ‘created a great excitement in the town, and the courthouse was crowded.’2.
In an 1865 sitting of the Yackandandah County Court sat in September 1865, Presiding Magistrate Gaunt dealt with a case about a stolen dray: October 1865, Ovens and Murray Advertiser.
At the Yackandandah Police Court before the Presiding Magistrate and justices of the peace were proceedings to recover a debt for goods sold and delivered, another to recover a debt for hire of vehicles and a third case against a publican for the recovery of empty bottles.3
A Revision Court held at the Court-house in 1891 where the rolls for the Legislative Assembly were presented by the Electoral Registrar and were passed, there being no objections nor alterations.
For more information on the history of Yackandandah in the Indigo Shire, and the significance of its heritage, visit the website of the National Trust of Victoria here.
See more early Courthouses in Victoria here.
1. ‘Contracts Accepted, The Government Gazette, The Argus, 21 December 1864.
2. The Argus, July 1864.
3. Wodonga and Towong Sentinel, 1 April, 1898.
28 September 2014, updated 20 May 2019