Cooma Courthouse | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Cooma Courthouse

Item details

Name of item: Cooma Courthouse
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: Vale Street, Cooma, NSW 2630
Local govt. area: Cooma-Monaro
Hectares (approx): 0.075
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Vale StreetCoomaCooma-Monaro  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Attorney General's DepartmentState Government 

Statement of significance:

Cooma Courthouse is an exceptional, rare example of a Victorian Mannerist style courthouse, elegantly constructed of locally quarried stone. The building is one of the finest examples of courthouses designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and displays the principal characteristics of his standard courthouse plan built on a grand scale. The courthouse features a grand projecting rusticated arched entrance and a finely detailed double-height court room with a coffered ceiling. The courthouse is set back from the street in formal landscaped grounds.

Cooma Courthouse has been in continuous use for over 120 years, with only minor alterations since its construction. The grandeur and quality of Cooma Courthouse demonstrates the importance of the town as a regional centre and is symbolic of the growing confidence in regional centres during the nineteenth century due to expansions in mining and agriculture. A gaol was also established in the Cooma in 1873.
Date significance updated: 16 Sep 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: J Barnet
Builder/Maker: J Gough and Company
Construction years: 1885-1888
Physical description: The Cooma Courthouse forms part of a precinct of public civic buildings which include the Post Office, Courthouse, Police Station and Gaol. The courthouse is designed in the Victorian Mannerist Style and incorporates the majesty of the Royal Courts of the late Victorian period and the general optimism of the 1880s. The building uses the typical floor plan with a double-height central courtroom which has a grand projecting rusticated arched entrance supported on columns surmounted by a Coat of Arms.
Other accommodation: Magistrate's chambers, toilets, legal room, Sheriff's office.
Construction: The Cooma Courthouse is constructed in locally quarried granite. The hipped roofs are clad in corrugated iron.
Interior materials: Timber joinery.
Exterior materials: Granite, rendered brick, corrugated iron.
(Schwager Brooks 1993)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good. (March 2007)
Date condition updated:06 Aug 10
Modifications and dates: Some internal modifications, including modern toilets, fluroscent lights and bricking-up of fireplaces. (date unknown)
Current use: Courthouse
Former use: Courthouse

History

Historical notes: Cooma Courthouse was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and opened in 1888.

A Court of Petty Sessions was held in the district from 1847. The population of the region grew and Cooma was proclaimed a municipality in 1879.

The tender for construction of the current courthouse was awarded to J Gough and Company in 1885. This company then subcontracted to a further company, Scarlett and Perkins, possibly to use locally quarried stone. The courthouse was officially opened in July 1888 by Judge McFarland and the Minister for Justice in a ceremony at the front of the building with 200 people present.

The present courthouse replaced an earlier courthouse which was constructed possibly as early as 1862. This earlier building has been used as the police station since the completion of the second courthouse in 1888.

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 -
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Police-
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]
Cooma Courthouse has been in continuous use for over 120 years, with only minor alterations since its construction. The grandeur and quality of Cooma Courthouse demonstrates the importance of the town as a regional centre and is symbolic of the growing importance of regional centres during the nineteenth century due to expansions in mining and agriculture. A gaol had been established in Cooma in 1873.

Cooma Courthouse dates from a key period of expansion of a major public works program in New South Wales during the last three decades of the nineteenth century. The imposing form of Cooma 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]
Cooma Courthouse is associated with James Barnet, Colonial Architect of New South Wales from 1862-1890.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Cooma Courthouse is an exceptional example the Victorian Mannerist style, which was not commonly used for courthouses in NSW. The courthouse is constructed of locally quarried stone and features a grand projecting rusticated arched entrance and a finely detailed double-height court room with a coffered ceiling. The courthouse is set back from the street in formal landscaped grounds.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Cooma Courthouse is likely to have significance for the local community as a long-standing civic institution of the region.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site of Cooma Courthouse has some research potential relating to an earlier courthouse built on the same site. Further research is required.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Cooma Courthouse is a rare example of the Victorian Mannerist style, which was not commonly used for courthouses in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Cooma Courthouse is an exceptional example of courthouses designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and displays the principal characteristics of his standard courthouse plan built on a grand scale, with a double-height central court room and single storey wings on either side.
Integrity/Intactness: Highly intact with a high level 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
WrittenAnne Egan1999Conservation Management Plan: Stage 1 for Cooma Court House, 1999 (university assignment)
WrittenNSW Department of Commerce2007Condition Assessments GAP Analysis Court House Report: Cooma
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.

rez rez 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: 3080044


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.