Old Courthouse History

During the Colonial and early Federation eras this heritage-listed courthouse complex was the most important public building in the district, providing law and order, governance and telecommunications.

Busselton's historic Courthouse was an important regional administrative and judicial centre during the Colonial and early Federation eras.

The first lockup for the fledgling town was at the Earnshaw's home which was located near the intersection of Strelly Street and Fairlawn Road. Earnshaw became known as the town's first gaoler. He was also an inn keeper, local builder and one of the first police constables in the Vasse region. By 1860 the need for an official complex was recognized and the Courthouse Complex was built. The original Courtroom (now the gift shop) and the Bond Store was built in 1860 by David Earnshaw. The Courtroom would have been sparsely furnished with a table and chairs. In 1861 Henry Yelverton won the contract to build the Police Room, the day room, the cells and the exercise yard. At the same time, Magistrate Strelly Harris demanded that the magistrates dressing room be built. It was shared with the Post Office until 1873 when a dedicated post office was built. Nearly 40 years later, the town had grown so much that a larger courtroom was required. The new Courtroom was completed in 1897 the old Courtroom turned into the office for the Government Land Agency and later became part of the Police Station.
The 1897 Courtroom is a fine example of Federation-era arts and crafts architecture and remained fully operational until the Police Department vacated the buildings in 1976.

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