Albury Courthouse | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Albury Courthouse

Item details

Name of item: Albury Courthouse
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: 564 Dean Street, Albury, NSW 2640
County: Murray
Local govt. area: Albury City
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
564 Dean StreetAlburyAlbury City MurrayPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Attorney General's DepartmentState Government 

Statement of significance:

Albury Courthouse is one of the few remaining buildings in New South Wales designed by Colonial Architect Alexander Dawson. While small additions have been made to the rear of the building, the front remains relatively unchanged from Dawson's original design and is a rare example of his work.

Albury Courthouse has been associated with the provision of law and justice in the town and broader region since 1860 and was the third courthouse built in the town. The scale and quality of Albury Courthouse demonstrates the confidence in the growing importance of the town as major port along the Murray River during the nineteenth century. Albury Courthouse forms an important element of Albury's civic centre and contributes to the streetscape of Dean Street.

Albury Courthouse is of State significance.
Date significance updated: 01 Jul 02
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: A Dawson; J Barnet (additions); WL Vernon (additions)
Builder/Maker: Thomas Allan; Stanton and Neal (additions)
Construction years: 1859-1860
Physical description: The original Albury Courthouse is an impressive single-storey Victorian Free Classical style building which forms part of Albury's civic precinct. The main courtroom is symmetrically designed and has a colonnaded portico entrance. Significant features include the double-height gable roofed section with a clerestorey, 12-paned Georgian windows with round headed fanlights. The main court room is flanked on either side by hipped roof wings which were later nineteenth additions. The present-day ornamental iron fence and gates replaced an earlier timber picket fence.
Construction: Albury Courthouse is constructed in brick with a sandstone street façade. Earlier shingle roofing has been replaced with galvanised corrugated iron sheeting.
Interior materials: Timber joinery.
Exterior materials : Sandstone, brick, galvanised iron.
(Schwager Brooks 1993)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good. (March 2007)
Date condition updated:31 Aug 10
Modifications and dates: Eastern wing extended. (1880-81)
Front fence added. (1884-85)
Additions designed by WL Vernon. (1898, 1901)
Internal alterations. (1961, 1966, 1975)
Current use: Courthouse
Former use: Courthouse

History

Historical notes: Albury Courthouse was completed in 1860 to a design by Colonial Architect Alexander Dawson.

Albury was gazetted as a town in 1839. Albury grew slowly in its early years, but quickly expanded following the introduction of the paddle steamer along the Murray River in 1855. The earliest presence of law and order in the town came with the construction of a police station in 1839. The town continued to boom with the completion of a rail link between Sydney and Melbourne in 1883, which stopped in Albury before crossing the river.

The first court in Albury was a Court of Petty Sessions, which was established in the town in 1846. The court was heard in the timber slab police hut by the first Clerk of Petty Sessions, John Roper. The timber slab building was also used as a church and council chambers. In the late 1850s, court sessions took place in a rented building which was possibly owned by the Church of England.

The present courthouse was designed by Colonial Architect Alexander Dawson and tenders were called in May 1859. The job was awarded to a local man, Thomas Allan for £4875. The work was completed in August 1860. The building featured a central courtroom with colonnaded front and single-storey wings on either side. The eastern wing was extended in 1880-81to a design By Colonial Architect James Barnet. Additions designed by Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon were completed in 1898 and further alterations were made to the building in 1901.

Internal alterations were undertaken in 1961 as part of the works for the Albury Civic Centre and then again in 1966 and 1975. Each of these twentieth-century additions were designed by the NSW Government Architect. A new courthouse was constructed in 1985 on Olive Street, east of the 1860 building and next to the police station. The new courthouse was designed by JW Thomson, NSW Government Architect.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Civic centre-
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. Local government-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Administration of justice-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship -
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups -

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Albury Courthouse has been associated with the provision of law and justice in the town and broader region since 1860 and was the second courthouse built in the town. The scale and quality of Albury Courthouse demonstrates the confidence in the growing importance of the town as major port along the Murray River during the nineteenth century.

Albury Courthouse is representative of the growing confidence in regional centres during the nineteenth century and the widespread perception that the local courthouse was the symbol of local respectability and a focus of civic pride. The austere and imposing form of the courthouse is symbolic of the approach to the provision of law and justice in the nineteenth century, when courthouses were designed to impart the authority and power of the Colonial government and justice system.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Albury Courthouse is associated with Alexander Dawson, Colonial Architect of New South Wales from 1856-1862, who was responsible for the design of all courthouses built in NSW during this time. The building is also associated with John Roper, the first Clerk of Petty Sessions in Albury and a prominent figure in Albury during the nineteenth century. Roper had been a member of Leichhardt's expedition to Port Essington and later became a magistrate and the Mayor of Albury in 1862.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Albury Courthouse is a good example of Victorian Free Classical style architecture constructed of sandstone. The building is symmetrical in plan and features a colonnaded portico entrance and Georgian 12-pane windows. Later additions have not greatly altered the original front portion of the building.

Albury Courthouse forms an important element of Albury's civic centre and contributes to the streetscape of Dean Street.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Albury Courthouse is likely to have significance for the local community as a long-standing civic institution of the town. The building forms part of Albury's Civic Centre, which also includes the modern courthouse, police station, post office and a church clustered around a large, grassed public square.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
As one of the few remaining buildings designed by Colonial Architect Alexander Dawson, Albury Courthouse has the potential to provide information about his designs for public buildings in New South Wales.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Albury Courthouse is one of the few remaining buildings in New South Wales designed by Colonial Architect Alexander Dawson. While subsequent Colonial Architects and Government Architects have designed small additions to the rear of the building, the front remains relatively unchanged from Dawson's original design and is a rare example of his work.

The austere form and detailing of Albury Courthouse is unusual amongst courthouses in New South Wales. Camden Courthouse would be a comparable example of courthouses from this period, but is built on a smaller scale. Few courthouses from this period remain, with many demolished in the later nineteenth century to make way for larger, more ostentatious buildings.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Albury Courthouse is an oustanding example of buildings designed by Alexander Dawson and a representative example of mid-nineteenth century courthouse in New South Wales. The building displays the principal characteristics of the standard courthouse plan, with a grand double-height central courtroom and single-storey wings on either side.
Integrity/Intactness: The courthouse is highly intact externally and moderately intact internally, having been altered during the second half of the twentieth century. The original portion of the building retains a high degree of integrity as a courthouse designed by Alexander Dawson.
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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenNSW Department of Commerce2007Condition Assessments GAP Analysis Court House Report: Albury
WrittenSchwager Brooks and Partners Pty Ltd1993Department of Courts Administration: Preliminary Heritage and Conservation Register
WrittenWarwick Upton Albury Court House

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

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

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 3080002


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.