Police sergeant’s residence and grounds | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Police sergeant’s residence and grounds

Item details

Name of item: Police sergeant’s residence and grounds
Other name/s: former Nowra courthouse
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: 84 Plunkett Street, Nowra, NSW 2541
Parish: NOWRA
Local govt. area: Shoalhaven


Part of the Nowra Courthouse and Police Group Precinct.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
84 Plunkett StreetNowraShoalhavenNOWRA ST. VINCENT Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Victorian building of considerable social and historical interest as an early courthouse with Federation period alterations by Walter Vernon Liberty. Integrity compromised by more recent alterations but historic value retained. Local significance (Shoalhaven).
Date significance updated: 03 Oct 17
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Colonial & Government Architects - Alexander Dawson. Later alterations by W L Vernon
Builder/Maker: W Moore and E Glover. Later alterations - J Schadel
Construction years: 1861-
Physical description: Victorian building constructed of rendered masonry with Federation period additions. Hipped roof with gambrel to projecting front wing. Skillion verandah in L-shaped recess. Timber louvres to gambrel. Paired double hung windows beneath gable. Single skillion window hood with four carved timber brackets. Two French doors with transom lights and timber shutters open onto verandah from front wing.
Modifications and dates: Originally probably symmetrical Georgian form. Altered and added to in 1905. Front wing added, and verandah extended. Chimney pots and arrangements of openings date from Federation period. More recent modifications include the loss of some verandah posts and other detail. Modern fly screens and security mesh fence detract.
Further information: Date: 1861-1905
Current use: Professional office
Former use: Police Sergeants Residence/Couthouse


Historical notes: The building was constructed in 1861 as Nowra's first court and watch house. The site was selected on 31 July 1852, and a Court of Petty Sessions was declared in 1857. The first court was held on 23 January 1858. Plans for a courthouse were drawn up in 1860 by the Colonial Architects Office, then supervised by Alexander Dawson. Tenders for the construction of this building were called in September 1860 and awarded to W Moore and E Glover. The building was completed in 1861.
Further research is necessary to determine the original form of the courthouse. Plans for alterations and additions were drawn up by the Colonial Architect in 1882, and carried out by the local builder J Schadel. The exact extent of these additions is not known.

A new Court House and Police Station were designed by the Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon, and completed in 1900. Vernon prepared plans to remodel the old courthouse for use as a Sergeants Residence. The renovations were considerable, but the extent of demolition of the original building is not known. Substantial additions were made, and the building opened in 1905.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The property is of historical significance as Nowra's first court and watch house built in 1861 to designs prepared by the Colonial Architects Office, then supervised by Alexander Dawson. The building was altered and extended in 1882. Following completion of a new courthouse, the old courthouse was remodelled in 1905 to the design of Government Architect, Walter Liberty.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The place has associations with Alexander Dawson, Colonial Architect from 1856-1862 and with Walter Liberty Vernon, Government Architect of New South Wales from 1890-1911, who was responsible for the design of manuy public buildings built in NSW during this time.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is a modest example of a Victorian style building with Federation period additions.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Nowra Courthouse has significance for the local community as a long-standing civic institution of the town and served the local community in the provision of law and justice since 1861 first as a courthouse and then as a police residence.
SHR Criteria f)
This item is assessed as historically rare at a State level.
SHR Criteria g)
This item is assessed as historically representative at a State level. This item is assessed as aesthetically representative locally. This item is assessed as socially representative at a State level.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP)06 Jun 12
Recommended ManagementCarry out an Archaeological Assessment06 Jun 12


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Regional Environmental Plan  11 Apr 86   
Local Environmental PlanShoalhaven LEP 201439622 Apr 14   
Local Environmental Plan  13 Apr 07   
Within a conservation area on an LEP  13 Apr 07   
Heritage studySolicitors Office Fmr Courthouse & Police residencNB063.12   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Illawarra Regional Heritage Study Review1993 Perumal Murphy Wu  No
Shoalhaven City Council Heritage Study 1995-19981998NB063.12Peter Freeman Pty Ltd25/3/96 RSH Study: Y Yes
Illawarra Region Historic Buildings and Sites1981 Ann Croston Ali  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenA C Ali1981Illawarra Region Historic Building & Sites
WrittenPerumal Murphy Wu1993Illawarra Regional Heritage Study Review, September 1993.
WrittenR Florance1992Building Survey, Nowra,

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2390766

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