During late 1998 and early 1999 I had the joy
of being in Australia for five months. I purchased a car and began driving
around the country, photographing courthouses as I went. After racking up
over 9,000 miles in my little Nissan Pulsar, I had quite a collection of
lovely Aussie courthouse images. As I traveled, I also contacted the local law
societies. This resulted in four
different law journals publishing my work (Published
Photos). See Order
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|| Located in downtown Adelaide, South Australia's
capitol city, this classic courthouse is still in use. It is
distinguished by a Greek portico with four natural stone
||Albany, on Western Australia's southern
coast, was once the busiest whaling port in Australia. Being the
only large city in the region, it's courthouse handles most major trials. The doorway portals are
||Upon seeing the Bairnsdale Courthouse in eastern Victoria, you
can easily imagine an architect with competing fantasies: castle, church,
dungeon, fortress. . . . Executed in brick and stone, this is one
of the more exotic courthouses in the world.
||The Beechworth Courthouse in central Victoria was built in
1858 of local honey-colored granite. Now a museum, it is perfectly
preserved from the days when the infamous bush ranger, Ned Kelly, and
his gang members were tried for a variety of heinous crimes
-- and found innocent, because the locals either revered or feared the
Kelly Gang too much to send them to prison or to the gallows. Ned was
later tried, convicted and executed in Melbourne.
||The Beverly Courthouse in Western Australia now houses a
crafts shop. The red brick, classical arches, sloping roof and
surrounding eucalypts, make this a classic Australian structure.
It was published in the Law Society of Western Australia's monthly Brief
journal for May, 1999, at an angle to the left and front of the
building, but I thought the frontal shot was so striking, with the blue sky and eucalypts to left, right and in front, that I
chose to include this additional image in the collection.
||The Beverly Courthouse, as published in the Law Society of
Western Australia's Brief for May, 1999.
||Chiltern Courthouse, now a museum, was one of those
discoveries you make when you talk to locals. "Oh, you have
to go see Chiltern's old courthouse", I was told by the lady in the surplus store,
near the border between
New South Wales and Victoria, where I had stopped to buy a compass and a jackknife.
This simple brick structure, with its picket fence, is archetypal of
small-town buildings dating from the 1800's; there was not great
wealth, but there was a sense of pride and a high level of
||A brooding and ominous "Temple of Doom", Cooma Courthouse in New South
Wales (east and south of Canberra) seems ready to pounce upon
approaching litigants. It was hot and humid when I stopped, and the sky was
full of thunderheads. I swatted at the ubiquitous Aussie flies for
hour, sweating profusely as I peered through my camera on its tripod;
then gratefully washed up at a public water spigot in the park across
||Fremantle Courthouse in Western Australia is now a part of
the University of Notre Dame Australia. This port city for nearby
revitalized by the America's Cup yacht race which was held here in 1987. When I took
this image, the
law school was conducting student debates in the courtroom.
||Goulburn Courthouse in New South Wales is a
classic Italianate structure. The colorful flowers, including a
spray of tiny white daisies across the green lawn, make this seem
more like a Roman villa in Italy than a courthouse in the
heart of Australian farm country.
||This was the only courthouse I found in
Tasmania that seemed worth photographing (to be fair, I was in Tasmania for
only 3 days). It's the old criminal court in Hobart, adjacent to the original women's prison, now operated as a museum. Of note, there is
convict-carved stone, though not visible in this photograph. Convicts
were a convenient source of skilled labor in the early Australian
colonies, and many of Tasmania's older
public buildings accordingly feature chiseled native stone.
||Located between Melbourne and Adelaide, Kingston is a small town on the
great southern ocean. I sat in the parking lot of a grocery store, stared at by
everybody who came to shop (particularly, by children, whose mothers invariably would shoo them inside before they had a chance to come over and ask what I
was up to.) This courthouse is still in use.
||The old Northam Courthouse, a two hour drive east of Perth in
Western Australia, is now the Stone Court Restaurant. Its walls
of a roughly carved stone. The large eucalypt tree provides a dramatic frame.
All eucalypt species come from Australia and New
||Pingelly Courthouse, in the rolling farm country of inland
Western Australia, was a pleasant surprise. Now a museum, the
building is well preserved, and the flowers -- petunias, roses, etc. --
were in full early summer bloom.
||Pinjarra Courthouse is in a tiny town to the south and
east of Perth. It is still in use.
||Port Adelaide's old courthouse is half an hour from the city of Adelaide.
Near to the docks, it saw the trials of many sailors over the years. It is now a museum.
||Two hours east of Perth in Western Australia is the gold rush
town of York. The York Courthouse, of stolid stone and
brick, is now a museum. Glassed showcases
contain early implements of justice: manacles,
shackles, blackjacks and corner-worn law books. Behind the main
building, tiny prison cells and early jailor's quarters are open for
tours. The York main
street is straight out of the last century, maintaining a gold rush
historic theme. Numerous bed and breakfasts
and excellent hotels and restaurants make it a fun destination.
||The Warwick Courthouse dates from 1886, and is constructed
of stone. The courthouse sits across the street from a
pleasant park, where several families were picnicking on the Saturday I
||Toowoomba Courthouse was a great discovery. I'd never heard of
this city of roughly 100,000. At several thousand feet above sea
level, and roughly
100 miles inland from Brisbane, it is a great place to escape the tropical
moisture and summertime heat of the tropical coast.
||Nanango is my favorite Queensland courthouse. Built
in "Queenslander" architectural style, with a wrap-around
porch and stilt foundation (for flooding protection), this building
sports turquoise and red colors which add to the charm.
||Maryborough is a few miles inland, on a substantial river,
about 4 hours' drive north of Brisbane. The old part of town
is a well-preserved colonial-style district, with a Customs House, banks,
warehouses, post office, railway station, etc. The courthouse was
built in 1901, replacing an earlier timber structure. I had to ask
a man sleeping on the porch (awaiting a criminal court appearance) to
move out of the shade, which he graciously did so I could take this
||Childers Courthouse is another classic Queenslander. Prior to 1897,
court functions in this flourishing sugar growing district were
conducted in a room in the post office, with the unfortunate
circumstance (as the courthouse committee wrote the Home Secretary) of
requiring "witnesses . . . to wait outside in the street . .
. and if the weather should prove inclement, the inconvenience and
unpleasantness are increased the so much more."