Forbes Courthouse | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Forbes Courthouse

Item details

Name of item: Forbes Courthouse
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: Victoria Lane, Forbes, NSW 2871
Local govt. area: Forbes
Hectares (approx): 0.018
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Victoria LaneForbesForbes  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Attorney General's DepartmentState Government 

Statement of significance:

Forbes Courthouse has been associated with the provision of law and justice in the town since 1880 and was the second courthouse built in Forbes. The 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 building is a good example of late Victorian Italianate architecture features arched window openings and an arched entrance portico to the central courtroom with a balustraded parapet at the roof line. The courthouse is a building of high quality design and composition and is located within the town's civic precinct opposite Victoria Park.
Date significance updated: 11 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: J Barnet
Construction years: 1880-1880
Physical description: Forbes Courthouse is an impressive Victorian Italianate building planned in the typical form with a double-height central courtroom flanked by single-storey wings. The front elevation of the building features arched window openings and an arched entrance portico to the central courtroom with a balustraded parapet at the roof line. A Coat of Arms features above the central entrance arch. The front boundary is enclosed with an iron palisade fence mounted on a sandstone plinth with sandstone gateposts. Two yards are located at the rear of the building.
Other accommodation: general office, Chamber records, jury room, sherriffs, waiting, Judge/Magistrates Chamber, amenities, Crown prosecutor, cleaners, legal rooms.
Construction: Forbes Courthouse is constructed in rendered brick with a hipped roof clad in slate. The interior is finished with plastered walls and timber joinery and furniture.
Interior materials: timber joinery
Exterior materials: rendered brick, slate
(Schwager Brooks 1993)
Date condition updated:11 Oct 10
Modifications and dates: June 2017: Repairs to roof, hallway ceiling and walls following water damage from seepage through the roof after heavy rain.
Current use: Courthouse
Former use: Courthouse

History

Historical notes: Forbes Courthouse was completed in 1880 to a design by Colonial Architect James Barnet.

A Court of Petty sessions was proclaimed in Forbes 1861 and a courthouse was in use by 1863. Public meetings were held in this first courthouse to discuss the problems associated with hold-ups and robberies. Ben Hall was a well-known bushranger active in the area, following his theft of 77 kilograms of gold in 1862. He was shot dead 20km north of Forbes in 1865. Public meetings were also held to establish a hospital in Forbes in 1862. This was to be achieved primarily through private subscription.

The present courthouse was constructed in Forbes in 1880. A local newspaper makes reference to the immanent opening of the building which at that time had not been furnished. It had been designed by the Colonial Architect James Barnet in his common tripartite scheme. Law and order appears to have been a concern in the community at this time as the residents of Forbes also petitioned the Legislative Assembly for a new gaol to accompany the courthouse. The opening of the new courthouse was also subject to petition to the Legislative Assembly as there were delays in providing furniture for the building.

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 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]
Forbes Courthouse has been associated with the provision of law and justice in the town since 1880 and was the second courthouse built in Forbes. The 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.

Forbes 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.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Forbes Courthouse is associated with James Barnet, Colonial Architect of New South Wales from 1862-1890, who was responsible for the design of all courthouses built in NSW during this time.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Forbes Courthouse is a good example of late Victorian Italianate architecture. The building features arched window openings and an arched entrance portico to the central courtroom with a balustraded parapet at the roof line. The courthouse is a building of high quality design and composition and is located within the town's civic precinct opposite Victoria Park.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Forbes Courthouse is likely to have significance for the local community as a long-standing civic institution of the town.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Forbes Courthouse is a representative example of courthouses designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and displays the principal characteristics of his standard courthouse plan, with a grand double-height central courtroom and single storey wings on either side.
Integrity/Intactness: Highly intact externally. Interior not assessed.
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
Written  The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 4 December 1863
Written  The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Tuesday 29 July 1862
Written  The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Thursday 1 July 1880
Written  The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 13 May 1880
Written   The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Thursday 27 May 1880
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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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 3080056


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