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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Fri 3 Aug 1827  1


Wednesday, August 1. 

The new Court-house was opened for transacting public business this morning. The room particularly appropriated to the Criminal Court, and the only part of the building, as yet in readiness, is capable of affording accommodation to a numerous auditory, and is fitted up in a style of particular elegance and neatness, whilst the tout ensemble presents, in its arrangements, quite the character of an English Court of Justice. Their Honors the Chief Justice, and Mr Justice Stephen, were on the Bench, and disposed of several motions of no particular public importance.

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Supreme court building plaque.
Supreme court building plaque. Photo: Peter de Waal

The Australian, Wed 20 Feb 1828 2 

Directions have been given to ensure as freer ventilation of air into the new Court-house, in which the Supreme Court of Judicature is accustomed to hold its sittings—an object which is the stifling heat, caused not unfrequently by an over crowded court, renders “a consummation most devoutly to be wished.”

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The Australian, Fri 17 Jul 1829 3 


The suite of offices in the upper part of the Court-house, King-street, are undergoing a thorough repair, owing to which the redoubtable office of the Attorney General is shifted over to Castlereagh-street, two doors from the Roman Catholic Chapel, which the scrubbers are touching up for next sessions. The Sheriff’s office is also removed to the house formerly occupied by Mr Oxley.

With regard to the new court house, were we disposed to spouting, might we say in the words of the immortal bard, of Avon,

“An’ it were done—it were well done;

And were it well done, it were well

It were done quickly.”

The room belonging to the Main Guard is undergoing thorough repair—of which it stood much in need.

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thu 27 Aug 1829  4 

Tuesday, August 25, 1829.
(Before Mr Justice Stephen).

The Criminal Sessions for Sydney commenced this morning, but no cases of particular interest were brought before the Court. Mr Justice Stephen presided, and we are pleased to hear that His Honor appears to be in a better state of health than he enjoyed during the last sittings. WH Moore, Esq conducted to [sic] prosecutions. The Court having been opened in the usual form.

The Supreme Criminal Court is held in the New Court-house, King-street, and not, as we were led to suppose would have been the case, in Castlereagh-street. Workmen are busily employed in making ready the various offices in the new building; and the sooner those rugged looking ugly supporters in the Courts can be got rid of the better.

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Barrier Miner, Fri 20 Jun 1913 5 


Supreme court building, Sydney.
Supreme court building, Sydney. Photo: Peter de Waal

During the administration of Governor Darling several new buildings were erected in Sydney, notably the Courthouse in King-street, which survives to this day, although it has now been greatly added to and improved. Begun in 1820, the King-street Courthouse was completed in August, 1828, and both civil and criminal sittings were held there, until the removal of the latter to the Darlinghurst Courthouse in 1842. The accommodation in the former Courthouse had been so inadequate that it gave rise to the following authorship in one of the members of the Bar:—“We hope shortly to see the new Courthouse brought into requisition. It is really amusing to think of the variety of purposes to which the building, wherein justice at present holds her seat, is appropriated. Below there is a Government store, where the sound of ‘dinning hammers’ often proceeds at so great ratio as to lead the hearers to suppose Justice must be deaf as well as blind. Above in ‘noisy mansion,’ the young idea learns to shoot. There full oft is heard the sound of—

‘Urchins just let loose form school,’

or a few stragglers breaking bonds, and ‘doubling the cape,’ together with the horribly harmonious sounds of Venite Adoremus, etc, chanted in such sublime strains—

‘Like music indeed of the spears,

For I’m blest if each note does not run through one,’

and oft times struck up when the existence of a culprit is depending on a hair. Last of all the bench, alternately a judgment and a mercy seat—the room a place of worship and a court of law—

‘To what base uses we may Return, Horatio!’ ”

The western wing of the new Courthouse was handed over to the Judges in the month of August, 1827. There was no formal opening—the Chief Justice and Mr Justice Dowling simply took their seats, and the business of the court was proceeded with.

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Evening News, Wed 14 May 1924  6 

[The above newspaper has photos about the centenary of the Supreme Court of NSW in it. They are filed at ‘Images’ under ‘1828 NSW Supreme Court’, but have not be processed yet with Photoshop.]


1  The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Fri 3 Aug 1827, p. 3.

2  The Australian, Wed 20 Feb 1828, p. 3.

3  The Australian, Fri 17 Jul 1829, p. 3.

4  The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thu 27 Aug 1829, p. 3.

5  Barrier Miner, Fri 20 Jun 1913, p. 1.

6  Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Wed 14 May 1924, p. 14.