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1884, Moama Courthouse - Unfit For Publication


Riverine Herald, Sat 30 Jun 1877 1

“Abandonment of reason to resign
Our rights of thought.”


    A new Court-house is badly wanted at Moama, for more than one reason, first, the building is in a delapidated [sic] state owing to the effect of the flood of 1870, the walls ae cracked and shaken to their foundation, the ceiling is constantly falling, and people, whose business it is to attend the court, are often disquieted by its dangerous appearance. The court-house should be built on a much higher position than its present site. The furniture is very badly arranged, but will have to remain so being permanently fixed. The prisoner’s dock is so inconveniently situated within arm’s length of the bench, that it would not be difficult for a culprit, on hearing an adverse sentence, to summarily avenge the judgment.

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Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 29 Sep 1883 2



September 24.

    IMPROVEMENTS.—The new courthouse is nearly completed and presents a noble appearance. It is situated nearly as possible in the centre of the town. It has four rooms besides the main hall, which is a large one, and the manner in which it has been built reflects great credit upon the contractors, Messrs Heales and Weatherstone. The new post-office has also nearly reached the stage of completion. It contains the necessary accommodation for postal and telegraphic work, and the local postmaster, Mr Hammond, will find some modicum of comfort in carrying out his duties in future, which he cannot have possibly had in the past.

    SPIRITUAL.—Although Moama is one of the oldest towns on the Border, if not the oldest, until now, no denomination has had a place of worship which it could call its own. This has no doubt been caused by the fact that the town of Echuca, immediately over the Border into Victoria, is very well supplied with church buildings. But now we have a neat, roomy brick church belonging to the Church of England. Fortnightly services have been held in the old courthouse for some years back, the residential minister from Deniliquin officiating, the services being fairly well attended, considering the unsuitable position of the building, which is the extreme end of the town.

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Riverine Herald, Tue 13 May 1884 3


    The Moama new courthouse was yesterday opened for the dispensation of justice for the first time. There was a full bench of magistrates, the police magistrate, Mr LS Donaldson, occupying the chair, and on his right and left hand sides were Messrs J Lewis, C Lilley, G Redman, and G Dorward. Before the business of the court was proceeded with, Mr RW Pennefather, on behalf of the bar, congratulated the bench upon the noble building which had been erected for the dispensation of justice at Moama. It showed that the Government had a paternal regard for the requirements of the district, and wished to provide for its advancement. In the administration of justice it was necessary that the surroundings, and especially the building, should be of such a character as to inspire respect. The Government had shown great wisdom by providing a building suitable for coming requirements, and the community in after years would no doubtfully recognise the wisdom in anticipating the want of a building of the kind. There was not much ligitation [sic] at present there, but as the district advanced, its advancement would be shown by litigation, for it had been proved that ligigation [sic] was a good index of the prosperity of a district. The government would no doubt soon give proper furniture for the court.

Moama courthouse, opened 12 May 1884. Photo ID: SRNSW a020_ a020000336.jpg
Moama courthouse, opened 12 May 1884.
Photo ID: SRNSW a020_ a020000336.jpg

    Mr Donaldson, on behalf of the bench, acknowledged the congratulations of the bar. He said they had been about five years awaiting the commencement and completion of the building, and although to-day they had not permanent possession. The old court-house was in such a state that he did not like to conduct business in it on a day such as they were now experiencing. He quite agreed with Mr Pennefather that litigation was one of the best indexes of the prosperity of a community. When things were flourishing parties would go to law, and when things were not so they could not. He hoped the Government would provide proper furniture.

    The Courthouse is a nice-looking building a short distance from the railway station on the western side. It is fronted by a portico, and abutting either side are rooms intended for the use of the magistrates and for the transaction of land business. A passage runs between each abutment. The court-room is spacious and possesses good acoustic properties. The dais at the northern end, is not open to the complaint of lack of accommodation. On either side are jury boxes, and the witness stand is on the eastern side of the clerk’s box, which is immediately fronting the dais. The dock is situated in the centre of the court, and is a most uninviting affair. The prisoner is surrounded by a formidable railing, and would present the appearance of a person in a cage. The legal profession being located between this and the dais, members of the bar must turn their backs to the bench when addressing the prisoner. The pres [sic] box is in a narrow space between a door leading from the passage to the court-room, and might be mistaken for a sentry box; it certainly does not present the accommodation requisite for its purpose, and appears to have been designed without regard to its requirements. The public are provided with good sitting accommodation and can command a good view of the whole proceedings. On the whole the courthouse has a very attractive appearance, but better accommodation is requisite for the bar and the press, representatives of both professions being at a great disadvantage by present arrangements. The unsightly dock might well be dispensed with, and an ordinary dock placed in a better position substituted. The court room is well ventilated and lighted, and we congratulate the residents of Moama upon their acquisition of a building which they have long required.

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Riverine Herald, Tue 17 Jun 1884 4

    THE MOAMA COURTHOUSE—The new Moama courthouse will in future be in general use, the necessary authority having been obtained from head-quarters to remove from the old courthouse. The road to the new building is in a very bad state, and requires the attention of the road board. 


1  Riverine Herald, (Echuca, Vic; Moama, NSW), Sat 30 Jun 1877, p. 3.

2  Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 29 Sep 1883, p. 590. Emphasis added.

3  Riverine Herald, (Echuca, Vic; Moama, NSW), Tue 13 May 1884, p. 2.

4  Riverine Herald, (Echuca, Vic; Moama, NSW), Tue 17 Jun 1884, p. 2. Note: Transcribed as found in the newspaper.