Leeton Courthouse | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Leeton Courthouse

Item details

Name of item: Leeton Courthouse
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: Church Street, Leeton, NSW 2705
Local govt. area: Leeton
Hectares (approx): 0.02023
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Church StreetLeetonLeeton  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Attorney General's DepartmentState Government 

Statement of significance:

Though restrained in scale and materials, Leeton Courthouse is one of the finest examples of interwar courthouses in New South Wales. This period is characterised by modest public buildings that demonstrate the more inclusive, civic approach to governing and the administration of justice adopted by the NSW Government in the early twentieth century. The building is an outstanding example of courthouses designed by Government Architect George McRae.

Leeton Courthouse has been associated with the provision of law and justice in the town since 1924 and is associated with the establishment and development of the town of Leeton, the first of the towns planned to house the workers and administrators of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
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 McRae
Construction years: 1923-1924
Physical description: The Leeton Courthouse is a single-storey Interwar Stripped Classical building. It is designed using the typical court floor plan with a projecting central courtroom flanked on either side by hipped roof wing buildings. The central courtroom is entered through classically inspired rendered brick arched portico which is flanked on either side by face brick arches. Decorative detailing includes multipanelled double-hung sash windows with brick quoins.
Other accommodation: General office, Magistrates chamber, legal room, witness room, records/staff room, amenities, chamber Magistrates office.
Construction: The Leeton Courthouse is made of face brickwork and has a contrasting rendered brick arched entrance portico. (Schwager Brooks 1993)
Exterior materials: Brick, tiles, render.
Interior materials: Timber joinery, carpet
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good. (March 2007)
Date condition updated:23 Aug 10
Modifications and dates: Addition of a ramp for accessibility. (date unknown)
Current use: Courthouse
Former use: Courthouse

History

Historical notes: Leeton Courthouse was completed between 1923-24 to a design by Government Architect George McRae.

Leeton was the first of the towns established to house the workers and administrators of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. The town of Leeton was designed by the renowned American architect Walter Burley Griffin in 1913. Leeton was named after Sir Charles Alfred Lee, who was the NSW Minister for Public Works when the irrigation scheme was being developed.

A Court of Petty Sessions was proclaimed in Leeton in 1918. Plans for the construction of a new courthouse in Leeton were announced in 1923. In 1924, there was a part-time Clerk of a Court of Petty Sessions who worked half the week in Leeton and the other half in Griffith. In 1924, it was decided that there would be a full-time clerk in Leeton as well as the establishment of a district court. There was also a Police Court practising at the time.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings -
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]
Leeton Courthouse has been associated with the provision of law and justice in the town since 1924. The courthouse dates from the interwar period, when few new courthouses were constructed in New South Wales due to lack of need and government funding. The restrained scale, materials and detailing of Leeton Courthouse demonstrate the more inclusive, civic approach to governing and the administration of justice adopted by the NSW Government in the early twentieth century.

Leeton Courthouse is associated with the establishment and development of the town of Leeton, the first of the towns planned to house the workers and administrators of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. The town plan was designed by Walter Burley Griffin in 1913.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Leeton Courthouse is associated with George McRae, Government Architect of New South Wales from 1912-1923.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Leeton Courthouse is a fine example of Interwar Stripped Classical style architecture. The building features a classically inspired rendered brick arched portico which is flanked on either side by face brick arches and multipanelled double hung sash windows with brick quoins. The courtroom features a coffered ceilng, which refers to the style of courtrooms typical of more ostentatious courthouses constructed in the nineteenth century. Leeton Courthouse is a building of high quality design and composition and an important element of the town's civic precinct.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Leeton Courthouse is likely to have significance for the local community as a long-standing civic institution of the town.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Leeton Courthouse is the finest example of interwar courthouses in New South Wales. It is an outstanding example of courthouses designed by Government Architect George McRae. The building displays the principal characteristics of the standard courthouse plan, with a double-height central court room and single storey wings on either side.
Integrity/Intactness: Highly intact externally and internally 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
Written 1924The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954), Wednesday 27 August 1924
Written 1923The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954), Wednesday 28 March 1923
WrittenNSW Department of Commerce2007Condition Assessments GAP Analysis Court House Report: Leeton
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: 3080080


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