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1890, Broken Hill Courthouse - Unfit For Publication
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Barrier Miner, Tue 26 Mar 1889 1

GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
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MR McGREGOR who, on behalf of the Government, is supervising the erection of the new courthouse and police-station and cells on the reserve, stated to a MINER representative this morning that both these buildings should, with reasonable haste and barring at present unforseeable [sic] obstacles, be completed by July next. As the police station is more urgently required than the courthouse—though the latter is only a shade less—it is probable that the former will be ready for occupation first, perhaps early in June. The work has been much thrown back by that very old cause of complaint—the delay in the arrival of timber owing to the necessity of transhipping at Terowie.

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Barrier Miner, Sat 27 Apr 1889 2

THE “GOVERNMENT STROKE.”
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IT is but natural to expect that the private buildings being erected in various parts of the town should far outstrip in progress of construction the edifices being put up for the Government; but the work of building the new courthouse and the new police station is being prceeded [sic] with in an exceptionally leisurely manner, even for a Government contract. There seems to be no prospect that the courthouse will be ready for occupation much before the next Circuit Court. There seems to be more activity displayed in regard to the police station, and, but for the uncertainty which always characterises work undertaken by the Government, this building for the housing of the police, and the safe keeping of their prisoners, should be completed at an early date.

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Barrier Miner, Fri 3 Jan 1890 3

THE NEW COURTHOUSE.
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Broken Hill courthouse, opened 6 Jan 1890. Photo: Peter de Waal
Broken Hill courthouse, opened 6 Jan 1890. Photo: Peter de Waal

AFTER all the delays and mishaps attendant on its construction, the new courthouse at Broken Hill has at last been passed by Mr McGregor, the local representative of the Colonial Architect, and will be formally opened on Monday, when the first sitting of the court will be held there. A description of the building has already appeared, so it is unnecessary to say more than it will be a great improvement on the existing building, and that ample and much needed accommodation has been provided for the Press. The furniture and various properties are in course of removal from the old courthouse to-day, and they will be all transferred by to-morrow. It is not probable that there will be any sitting of the court to-morrow; but if there is, it will be held in the old courthouse. Mr Barnett, PM, is expected on Monday morning, and will probably open the new courthouse.

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Barrier Miner, Mon 6 Jan 1890 4

OPENING OF NEW COURTHOUSE.
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THE new courthouse was opened for the transaction of business for the first time this morning. Some of the offices are in an unfinished state, and the carpenters are still at work; but the courtroom itself has been completed, and now presents an appearance superior to that of any courtroom in Sydney. It is cool and lofty, and good all-around accommodation is furnished. Compared with the miserable shanty in which justice has up to the present been administered, it is a palace, and the change must indeed be gratifying to all those whose duty or business compels them to be frequent attendants at a police court. The delay in opening the court has been very great; but “everything comes to those who wait,” and we may be devoutly thankful that we have this first instalment of improvement in the Government offices at last. Mr Barnett, PM, and Messrs W Tompson and Armstrong, JsP, occupied the bench; and Mr Edwards, on behalf of the bar, suggested that any congratulations they might have to offer on the opening of the new building should be deferred until Wednesday, when the formal opening of the court will take place. The bench concurred.

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Barrier Miner, Wed 8 Jan 1890 5

THE NEW COURTHOUSE.
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Formal Opening.

Broken Hill courthouse. Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a0200- 00091.jpg
Broken Hill courthouse.
Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a0200- 00091.jpg

    THOUGH the new courthouse was opened for business on Monday for the convenience of the public, still it was not supposed to be in use until it was formally handed over to the sheriff (Mr Cowper), who is the custodian of all courts in the colony. This has now been done; and this morning, when the court opened, the bench was occupied by Mr Barnett, PM, and Messrs WP Tompson and JS Armstrong, JsP.

Broken Hill courthouse. Photo: Peter de Waal
Broken Hill courthouse. Photo: Peter de Waal

    Mr Barnett said that before commencing the business of the court he desired, on behalf of the bench, to offer their congratulations to the community of Broken Hill generally, and more especially to those whose business compelled them to attend the courts, on the completion of that very fine and commodious building it was an ornament to the town, and would help to place it on an equal footing with other towns in the colony. He was not aware whether the building had been handed over to the sheriff at the time; but in view of the great inconvenience caused by the old building, they thought they should take the earliest opportunity of using it. That a wooden building such as the old courthouse should have been used for so long a period, was strong evidence that the public were subjected to inconvenience, and he congratulated them on the change. The Government had recognised the rapidity with which business was increasing in that town by appointing an assistant clerk of petty sessions, and the public would not now have to wait so long for the transaction of their court business. He gave his testimony, and that of the bench of magistrates, to the efficient way in which Mr CG Gibson had performed the duties of a CPS, under very trying circumstances. As to the appointment of a permanent PM at Broken Hill, he had reason to believe that such an appointment would be made at once. That there was a necessity for it went without saying, and he had lost no opportunity of urging it upon the Government since he had been in Broken Hill. He felt it very hard that he should be the unfortunate individual to occupy the dual position here and at Silverton, when the business was quite beyond the power of any one man; but he could say without self-laudation that he had done his best to cope with it, and not spared his time. For himself, he had accepted the position of warden at Silverton, and would not occupy the Broken Hill bench in the future. He regretted it because the relations between himself and the profession and public generally had always been pleasant. He thanked the professional gentlemen for the assistance they had always given him, and congratulated them on the fact that their business in that court would be attended with more comfort and regularity than in the past.

    Mr Edwards, as one of the profession, offered his sincere congratulations to the bench of magistrates and the public on the completion of the new building. The way in which the business of the various courts was conducted under disadvantageous circumstances in the old court, reflected the highest credit on those who had to sit there. As to the relations between the profession and the bench they thoroughly reciprocated the kindly feeling alluded to by Mr Barnett, and desired to express their hearty thanks to the PM and the local justices for the courtesy always extended to them. He also wished to add his testimony to the way in which Mr Gibson had performed his word as CPS in the old courthouse in such a trying climate. The amount of work he had got through under such conditions showed that the Government possessed in him a most valuable servant.

    Mr Abbott also expressed his pleasure at the completion of the new building, and referred to the state of affairs when he came to Broken Hill three years ago. The CPS was then Mining Registrar and all-round man, and occupied a little shanty in Argent-street, which was also used by the Salvation Army, who annoyed him greatly; but yet he got through his work to the satisfaction of the profession and public. There was no courthouse in the colony—not even the Supreme Court in Sydney—which had a court-room equal to this; but steps should be taken to have a second court erected, as two courts might sometimes clash and cause delay.

    Mr Barnett then said there was another matter which he wished to refer to. He had received from Judge Backhouse a valedictory address to the solicitors and officers of the courts in the North-Western district. On behalf of the bench, he wished to testify to the esteem in which Judge Backhouse was held both as a judge and in social circles. He was as admirable as a judge as he was a man, and they regretted his retirement from the district.

    Mr Jhonson asked that his Worship, in replying, would convey their expressions of regret that Judge Backhouse was severing his connection with the North-Western district. While regretting his removal, they hoped that it was only with a view to his appointment to a better district as a reward for his services hitherto.

 


1   Barrier Miner, Tue 26 Mar 1889, p. 2.

2   Barrier Miner, Sat 27 Apr 1889, p. 2.

3   Barrier Miner, Fri 3 Jan 1890, p. 2.

4   Barrier Miner, Mon 6 Jan 1890, p. 2.

5   Barrier Miner, Wed 8 Jan 1890, p. 2.