Old Court House | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Old Court House

Item details

Name of item: Old Court House
Other name/s: Sea Scouts Drill Hall
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: 1 Harbour Street Cnr Cliff Road, Wollongong, NSW 2500
Local govt. area: Wollongong City
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1 Harbour Street Cnr Cliff RoadWollongongWollongong City  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The site of earliest Court house and lock up is of significance for Wollongong area for historical, scientific, and reasons of rarity. The site has the potential to contain further information on the development of Wollongong and the Illawarra from the earliest period of European settlement, and on the history of government's administrative and punitive functions. The site is likely to comprise evidence of permanent structures, including court house, commandants house and cell blocks and associated auxiliary buildings created as permanent structures from 1835 onwards, as well as evidence of a variety of earlier temporary structures dating from the early 19th Century.
Date significance updated: 10 Feb 15
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: Govt Architect Alexander Dawson
Physical description: The condition of buried elements and depostis is not known and likely varies in different areas of the site. Excavation conducted at 9 Harbour Street revealed that archaeological remains existed with integrity and that development has not adversely affected significance of this site.
Current use: Heritage & environment centre
Former use: Court house & drill hall


Historical notes: The site was first built upon in the convict period and formed part of the location of the military garrison in 1829, further established in 1835. The early phase of development of this Government owned complex included temporary accommodation for the troops, often in tents, until permanent buildings were created including the barracks, the Commandant’s residence, a watch house and flagellator’s residence and temporary court house and post office. It is possible that a building, later used as stables, was constructed on the study site as early as 1829 to house the soldiers. After the garrison was moved from Wollongong (in 1844) the buildings were used by the local police and a gaol was constructed in 1859 which remained in operation until its demolition in the early twentieth century.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The item has historic value.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
SHR Criteria f)
The item has rarity.
SHR Criteria g)
Integrity/Intactness: The item has integrity.
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:

Further archaeological investigation is recommended as part of any future DA process. Archaeological evidence of the period prior to 1835 could include features such as wells, post holes or rubbish deposits. Evidence of structures post-1835 would be relating to more permanent settlement, including a court house, cell blocks, commandant’s house and other related structures. Scientific data could include footings of the 1829 stables/soldier’s barracks and 1859 gaol. Relics of the stables/soldier’s barracks could provide information regarding the daily life of a soldier in the 1830s which would be considered rare. Any such relics have the potential to be an extremely important resource on a historical themes of government development, the penal system, administration and domestic life.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanOld Court House590826 Feb 10 2010-76 
Local Environmental PlanSite of earliest court house and lock up640726 Feb 10 2010-76 
Local Environmental Plan  07 Jan 00 1/200069

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
City of Wollongong Heritage Study1991B22-CMcDonald McPhee Rogers Conacher FullartonNeaves No
Review of heritage items in Wollongong LGA20135908Zoran PopovicZoran Popovic Yes

References, internet links & images


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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2700003

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