The NSW Government has wrapped up work on a multi-million-dollar upgrade to Bathurst Courthouse, including restoration of the building’s grand façades, dome and iconic clock, security upgrades and new court facilities.
Deputy Premier and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the almost $10 million upgrade has given the heritage listed court complex a new lease of life and improved safety for court users.
“Bathurst Courthouse is one of the most beautiful public buildings in NSW and has stood proudly in the city’s centre for more than 140 years,” Mr Toole said.
“I’m pleased that the restoration of this iconic building is now complete, preserving the courthouse for generations to come. It is also just in time for the Bathurst Winter Festival which takes place outside the Courthouse next month.”
Attorney General Mark Speakman said the heritage conservation project not only enhanced the appearance of the iconic building and extended its lifespan but also created jobs in the Central West region.
“The courthouse has been a hive of activity for almost 18 months, providing work for local stonemasons and many other trades,” Mr Speakman said.
The Bathurst Courthouse, which was officially opened on 16 July 1880, is one of Australia’s best examples of Victorian architecture and is recognised on the NSW State Heritage Register.
The conservation work was carried out by the Department of Planning and Environment’s Heritage Stoneworks and the Department of Regional NSW’s Public Works Advisory teams, who restore and maintain more than 800 state-significant buildings owned by the NSW Government.
The Bathurst Courthouse received an “highly commended” award (Conservation – Build Heritage Category) in the 2022 National Heritage Awards for the façade and roofing conservation works.
The restoration team included heritage architects, engineers and materials consultants who have worked together during the last 18 months to preserve the building for the next 100 years.
The conservation works included:
Specialised production of approximately 35 tonnes of detailed sandstone;
- Stonework replacement of bell tower cornice;
- Brickwork patching, repointing and cleaning;
- Chimney repairs and specialised structural stabilisation;
- Roof replacement and structural repairs including to the main copper dome, tholos and bell tower;
- Lead flashing replacement and lead weathering for environment protection;
- Rectification and replacement of timber elements, including reinstatement of original ornamental features;
- Restoration painting to the original colour schemes; and
- Preservation of the courthouse’s 500kg clock and bell by a master clockmaker.
The Bathurst courthouse has also benefited from additional improvements including a security upgrade, a new lobby and public toilets, a jury assembly room and refurbishments to the judges’ chambers and associate’s office.
These additional improvements were undertaken as part of the NSW Government’s $148 million funding package to ease the pressure on the District Court.
In addition, the Courthouse has new facilities to support domestic violence complainants and other vulnerable witnesses, including two remote witness rooms, a safe room with adequate seating and facilities to ensure privacy and safe passage and accessible toilets and kitchen facilities.
Mr Toole said the safe room and remote witness rooms were delivered as part of a $9 million Commonwealth COVID-19 stimulus funding package that was allocated to projects by the NSW Government.
“These new facilities will give vulnerable witnesses private, secure areas to prepare for court and to provide testimony, therefore enabling them to give their best evidence during proceedings,” Mr Toole said.
“Having to potentially face your abuser, or their family members, in open court can clearly exacerbate the stress of coming to testify, which is why these safe and remote facilities are so valuable.”
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