Taree Courthouse | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Taree Courthouse

Item details

Name of item: Taree Courthouse
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: Albert Street, Taree, NSW 2430
Local govt. area: Greater Taree
Hectares (approx): 0.01684
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Albert StreetTareeGreater Taree  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Attorney General's DepartmentState Government 

Statement of significance:

Taree Courthouse has been associated with the provision of law and justice in the town since 1882. 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 significant for its ability to demonstrate the ongoing importance of Taree in the region, with the building expanded to accommodate additional courts and offices throughout its history.
Taree Courthouse demonstrates some elements of the Victorian Classical style, though the expression of this style has been lessened by successive additions and alterations, and demonstrates the work of three government architects. Taree Courthouse is a landmark building in the town and symbolises the authority and power of the colonial government and justice system.
Date significance updated: 14 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, L Robertson, WL Vernon, E Smith
Builder/Maker: WJ Smith, RG Ochs, Stead & Co.
Construction years: 1881-1882
Physical description: The Taree Courthouse is a fine building with a double-height courtroom flanked on either side by single-storey wing buildings. The building, due to numerous extensions and alterations, does not follow the symmetry of the usual late Victorian Classical designs. The courtroom has an impressive arched colonnaded entrance supporting a pedimented gable roof. Flanking buildings features a raised parapet which partly conceals the roofline.
Other accommodation: General office, Chamber Magistrate's, records, staff,Judge's, prosect, Sheriff's office, legal, witness, Magistrate's room, interview rooms.
Construction: The Taree Courthouse is constructed in rendered brick with tiled roofs to the building wings and verandahs.
Interior materials: Joinery.
Exterior materials: Rendered brick, tiles.
(Schwager Brooks 1993)
Date condition updated:19 Oct 10
Modifications and dates: Many alterations and additions at the turn of the century, 1930 and 1980s.
An upgrade program of pre-equipped AVL courtrooms was carried out to expand the use of Multi Court Room Monitoring to additional court locations. This technology is used to deliver video and audio for Recording and Transcription Services. The upgrade improved operational, organisational and financial efficiencies through increased resource flexibility, reduction in travel costs to regional and remote locations, and improved service delivery (2018).
Current use: Courthouse
Former use: Courthouse and watchhouse

History

Historical notes: Taree Courthouse was built between 1881-1882 to designs by Government Architect James Barnet and extended in three phases of construction over the next 50 years.
The current courthouse replaced an earlier courthouse and lock-up constructed in 1865. The first Court of Petty Sessions was held in this first courthouse in 1866.
Taree was an important regional centre with a large agricultural population. A steamer departed from Taree for Sydney. As a result, the area grew rapidly and after 15 years the original courthouse was inadequate. Colonial Architect James Barnet designed a new courthouse for Taree. The building was designed in a classical style and constructed in 1881-2 by WJ Smith.
In 1897, additions were made to the building which included the front verandahs on either side of the entrance portico and an extension of the courtroom to the rear. The additions were designed by Louis Robertson under Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon. New Judge and Magistrate’s rooms were added as well as a Sheriff and Land Agent’s office. The builder for the additions was RG Ochs.
Further additions designed by Vernon were completed in 1903 and included judge and jury yards, external toilet, female witness room, Police Office and an extended verandah at the left of the portico plus a store at the rear of the building. These additions were constructed by WS Stead & Co of Annandale.
Further additions were designed by Government Architect Edwin Smith in 1930. The additions included an enlarged jury room and new Judge's rooms.
In 1982, an additional courtroom was added at an estimated cost of $120,000.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal -
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 Institutions-
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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Taree Courthouse has been associated with the provision of law and justice in the town since 1882. 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 scale and grandeur of Taree Courthouse is symbolic of the growing importance of regional centres during the nineteenth century due to expansions in mining and agriculture. The building is significant for its ability to demonstrate the ongoing importance of Taree in the region, with the building expanded to accommodate additional courts and offices throughout its history.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Taree Courthouse is associated with three government architects: James Barnet, Colonial Architect from 1862-1890, Walter Liberty Vernon, Government Architect from 1890-1911 and Edwind Smith, Government Architect from 1929-1935.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The imposing form of Taree Courthouse is symbolic of the approach to the provision of law and justice in the nineteenth century, when courthouses were designed to symbolise the authority and power of the Colonial government and justice system.
Taree Courthouse demonstrates some elements of the Victorian Classical style, though the expression of this style has been lessened by successive additions and alterations. Taree Courthouse is a landmark building in the town.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Taree 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 many changes made to Taree Courthouse throughout its history and demonstrated in its form have potential to yield information about the changing requirements and uses of courthouses in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Taree Courthouse is broadly representative of the style of public buildings designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and, despite many alterations and additions, 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: Moderately intact with a moderate 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
WrittenB Roder1981History of Taree Court House and Police Station
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: 3080118


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