Wagga Wagga Courthouse | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Wagga Wagga Courthouse

Item details

Name of item: Wagga Wagga Courthouse
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: Fitzmaurice Street, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650
Local govt. area: Wagga Wagga
Hectares (approx): 0.02529
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Fitzmaurice StreetWagga WaggaWagga Wagga  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Attorney General's DepartmentState Government 

Statement of significance:

Wagga Wagga Courthouse is an outstanding example of Federation Free style architecture. The courthouse displays considerable ingenuity and innovation by the Government Architect's Office under Walter Liberty Vernon in adapting the design of civic buildings to the local climate. The building features a range of unusual features, including an oversized clock tower, curved entrance steps and a layout that comprises a series of internal pavilions connected by internal courtyards and loggias. The main courtroom is particularly fine and features exposed brick walls and intricately carved timber joinery.

The courthouse is a landmark building in Wagga Wagga, located on a prominent street corner, and makes a significant contribution to the streetscape. Wagga Wagga Courthouse is an integral element of the town's civic precinct. The scale and quality of the courthouse demonstrates the importance of Wagga Wagga as a regional centre since the mid-nineteenth century and was the fourth courthouse built in the town.
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: WL Vernon
Builder/Maker: Charles Hardy & Co
Construction years: 1899-1902
Physical description: The Wagga Wagga Courthouse is a large and visually stimulating assymmetrically-designed building comprised of several pavillions with a dominating clock tower built on a corner site. The building uses open loggias to replace internal corridors. Contrasting building materials create interest notably in the use of face brick and rough cast rendered walls and an eclectic combination of decorative details. The building has fine interiors. (Schwager Brooks 1993)
Other accommodation: Staff, jury room, Crown prosect room, legal room, court support, Judge's Chamber, Justice health, court support room, Sheriff's office, Witness room, records, Chamber Magistrate's office,
Construction: The Wagga Wagga Courthouse is constructed in face brick with rough cast rendered walls. The hipped roofs are clad in nonferrous metal with decorative iron bracketted eaves. Interiors have face brick and stucco walls and polished cedar fittingsand joinery. (Schwager Brooks 1993)
Interior Materials: Cedar joinery.
Exterior Materials: Brick, render, metal.
Date condition updated:14 Sep 10
Modifications and dates: Air conditioning installed. (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

History

Historical notes: Wagga Wagga Courthouse is the fourth building from which justice has been dispensed for the area. A Court of Petty Sessions was established in Wagga Wagga on 30 April 1847 and Frederick Walker was named the first Clerk of Petty Sessions. This court was thought to have been held in a timber building though its location is unknown.
In 1853, the local magistrates petitioned for a new court building for Wagga Wagga. In 1855, they were given approval from the Colonial Secretary to prepare a plan for themselves and to call tenders.
The current Wagga Wagga Courthouse was designed by Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon and built between 1900 and 1902. Charles Hardy & Co were awarded the construction tender in 1899 for all works except the clock tower. This went to tender separately in November 1901 and was also awarded to Charles Hardy & Co.
In the 1980s the courthouse was fitted with air conditioning.

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 Institutions-
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]
Wagga Wagga Courthouse has been in continuous use for over 100 years, with only minor changes to its form since construction. The extant building is the fourth courthouse built in the town, which has been an important centre for administration and justice in the region since 1847. The scale and quality of Wagga Wagga Courthouse demonstrates the importance of the town as a regional centre since the mid nineteenth century.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Wagga Wagga Courthouse is associated with Walter Liberty Vernon, Government Architect of New South Wales from 1890-1911, who was responsible for the design of all courthouses built in NSW during this time.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Wagga Wagga Courthouse is an outstanding example of Federation Free style architecture that features a range of unusual features, including an oversized clock tower, curved entrance steps and arched windows. The main courtroom is particularly fine and features exposed brick walls and intricately carved timber joinery.
The design of Wagga Wagga Courthouse displays considerable ingenuity and innovation in adapting the design of civic buildings to the local climate. The building layout comprises a series of internal pavilions connected by internal courtyards and loggias.
The courthouse is a landmark building in Wagga Wagga, located on a prominent street corner, and makes a significant contribution to the streetscape. Wagga Wagga Courthouse is an integral element of the town's civic precinct.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Wagga Wagga Courthouse is likely to have significance for the local community as a long-standing civic institution of the town/region.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
As a largely intact early-twentieth-century public building, Wagga Wagga Courthouse has potential to yield further information about the design and construction of this type of building in New South Wales.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Wagga Wagga Courthouse is an outstanding example of public buildings designed by Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon and displays many similarities with the Bourke Courthouse, also designed by Vernon. While quite a large building overall, the low scale and generous detailing of Wagga Wagga Courthouse demonstrates the civic style of architecture adopted by the Public Works Department under Vernon.
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
WrittenSchwager Brooks and Partners Pty Ltd1993Department of Courts Administration: Preliminary Heritage and Conservation Register
WrittenWarwick Upton1980History of Wagga Wagga Court House

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: 3080123


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