Bourke Courthouse | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Bourke Courthouse

Item details

Name of item: Bourke Courthouse
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: Richard Street Corner Oxley Street, Bourke, NSW 2840
Parish: Bourke
County: Bourke
Local govt. area: Bourke
Hectares (approx): 0.02023
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Richard Street Corner Oxley StreetBourkeBourkeBourkeBourkePrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Attorney General's DepartmentState Government 

Statement of significance:

Bourke Courthouse is significant at a State level for its historic and aesthetic significance.

Bourke Courthouse is historically significant as the third courthouse building associated with the provision of law and justice in Bourke since 1862. Since its construction in 1900, Bourke Courthouse has been used continuously as a courthouse with only minor changes to its structure. Its construction reflects the importance of Bourke as a major regional centre at the end of the nineteenth century.

Bourke Courthouse is a particularly fine example of Federation Free Style architecture, designed by George Oakeshott in the office of the Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon, a key exponent of this style of architecture in NSW. Features of the design of Bourke Courthouse include an imposing streetscape presence, achieved with an approachable, almost domestic, scale, and its fine public spaces including the open public courtyard surrounded by the entrance loggia and the courtroom itself with its original court furniture. The skilful use of building materials and detailing, particularly the technical features associated with passive climate control, also contribute to what is an exemplar of building design and construction.

Bourke Courthouse is a key element within a civic building group, along with the adjacent second courthouse and the police station opposite the courthouse in Oxley Street, the site of the first courthouse. The close grouping of these three courthouse sites is an unusual feature. The tower of the courthouse helps define the key street intersection of the Mitchell Highway, the commercial Oxley Street, and the town's civic park.

Bourke Courthouse is associated with a long history of strong community involvement with the provision and standards of law services in Bourke that contributes to the community's sense of place. The site of Bourke Courthouse has some archaeological potential to yield information of the previous structures on the site. Bourke Courthouse is representative of other buildings in Bourke and other examples of courthouses in NSW designed in the office of the Government Architect WL Vernon, as well as other courthouses in NSW generally. (Godden Mackay Logan 2001)
Date significance updated: 25 Oct 10
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: G Oakeshott, WL Vernon
Builder/Maker: J Douglas
Construction years: 1897-1900
Physical description: Bourke Courthouse is an impressive public building designed in the Federation Free Style which has been adapted to suit the climate of Bourke. The building is a complex composition of several pavilions of various scales and forms and expresses the freedom of this style. The covered open walkways and enclosed garden court are designed to suit the hot dry climate. (Scwager Brooks 1993)
Other accommodation: Witness rooms, records, library, Judge's chamber, jury room, Sheriff's office, CPS office, legal professional, Crown Prosecutor.
Construction: Bourke Courthouse is constructed in rough-cast rendered brick and face brick. The hipped roofs are clad in slate tiles.
Interior materials: Timber joinery, marble
Exterior materials: Rendered brick, slate
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good. (2001)
Good. Problems with movement and significant cracking to the rear section of the building (BGIS Annual Site Audit, 2017).
Date condition updated:06 Oct 10
Modifications and dates: Major restoration work in 1968.
Restoration and replacement of courtroom public bench seating (2010).
2016: Courthouse repainted.
Current use: Court House
Former use: Court House

History

Historical notes: Bourke Courthouse was designed by George Oakeshott of the Government Architect's Branch under Walter Liberty Vernon and was constructed between 1897 and 1900.

The first courthouse in Bourke was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and was completed in 1865. This followed the establishment of a Court of Petty Sessions in Bourke in 1862. Bourke outgrew this original courthouse and a second building was completed in 1877, following the preparation of plans by the Colonial Architect’s Office. Despite extensions to this courthouse in the 1880s, Bourke also outgrew this second building.

The design for the third (and current) courthouse is attributed to George Oakshott in the office of the Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon. The building was constructed by J Douglas of Orange during the period 1897-1900 at a cost of £9,596. The third courthouse occupies a site which had previously been occupied by a cottage for the Sergeant of the local police force.

The courthouse was renovated in 1968. These works were for the maintenance of the fabric and did not alter the 1900 configuration.

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 Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Administration of justice-
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]
Bourke Courthouse is associated with the provision of law and justice in Bourke since 1862. Bourke Court House is historically significant as the third court house building in Bourke; the first Court House likely to have been located directly opposite the courthouse in Oxley Street (current Police Station); and the second one surviving immediately adjacent to the courthouse on Oxley Street.

Bourke Courthouse has been used continuously for a century as a court house with only minor changes since its construction.

The history of the three courthouses in Bourke and the construction of this current courthouse reflects the importance of Bourke as a major regional centre at the end of the nineteenth century and the active involvement of the local community in the provision and standard of court facilities provided in the town.
(Godden Mackay Logan 2001)
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Bourke Courthouse is associated with Walter Liberty Vernon, Government Architect of New South Wales from 1890-1911.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Bourke Courthouse is an outstanding example of Federation Free Style architecture. Bourke Courthouse has significant technical features associated with passive climate control in a hot and arid climate.

Bourke Courthouse is a key element within the civic building group, along with the adjacent second courthouse and the police station opposite the courthouse in Oxley Street. (Godden Mackay Logan 2001)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Bourke Courthouse is associated with a long history of strong community involvement with the provision and standard of law services in Bourke that have contributed to the community’s sense of place. (Godden Mackay Logan 2001)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site of the Bourke Courthouse has some archaeological potential to yield information relating to the previous police residence building located on this site together with the various privy outbuildings located at the rear of the site. (Godden Mackay Logan 2001)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Bourke Court House is a particularly fine building and an exemplar of Federation Free Style architecture. Features of its aesthetic qualities include: an imposing and dignified streetscape presence, that at the same time is achieved with an approachable, almost domestic, scale; a simplicity and clarity of planning of the court function and public gathering and circulation spaces; a variety of pavilion roof forms and external verandah spaces; passive climate control techniques; and the skilful use of a variety of materials. (Godden Mackay Logan 2001)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Bourke Court House is representative of the other buildings in Bourke designed in the office of the Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon; other examples of courthouses in NSW designed in the office of the Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon; and a group of Court House buildings in NSW. (Godden Mackay Logan 2001)
Integrity/Intactness: Highly intact with a high degree of 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.

Listings

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

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan Heritage Consultants2001Bourke Courthouse Conservation Management Plan
WrittenSchwager Brooks and Partners Pty Ltd1993Department of Courts Administration: Preliminary Heritage and Conservation Register

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

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(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: 3080006


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