Whittlesea Courthouse is located 58km north of Melbourne CBD at the corner of Beech Street and Church Street in Whittlesea, Victoria, Australia. The courthouse was built in 1864 at a cost of £669. The courthouse celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014 as a part of City of Whittlesea Cultural Heritage Program. Today the building is home to Whittlesea Information Centre. A plaque unveiled as a part of the 150-year celebrations credits William Lockwood as the builder and Public Works Department as architects. The courthouse operated as a Court of Petty Sessions until 1989. It was bought by Whittlesea Council and was opened to the public in 1996 after restoration.
In September 1864, Government Gazette published, among contracts accepted C. Wakefield, an allocation of £669 for the construction of a courthouse at Whittlesea. The design of the building is believed to be by Public Works Department architect, H.A.Williams.
The sittings were held every Sunday morning at 11 ‘o’ clock. Apart from court proceedings, Whittlesea Road Boards meetings were also held here. In 1875, newly established Whittlesea Shire Council meeting took place at the courthouse.
Today the courthouse site is also home to a single-cell lockup, which was built in 1859 to serve the Yan Yean area. The lockup also carries information on its history, and we quote here.
‘’ In January 1854, The Commissioner of Sewage and Water Supply applied to the Assistant Commissioner of Police asking that a Police Station be established at the site of the construction of Yan Yean Reservoir owing to the large population working and living in the area. In July 1854, a Police Station was opened at the site.
In 1855 a Court of Petty Sessions was established in the Police Station and four years later in 1859 the Chairman of the Bench, George Sherwin wrote to the Superintend of the Burke Police District applying for a portable Lockup to be built. This lockup was completed by the end of that year.
By 1862, the work was completed at Yan Yean and the Police Station, Court of Petty Sessions and associated buildings were removed to Whittlesea.
In 1876, an inspection of the Police noted, ‘’That one portable lockup containing one cell was on site’’
In 1930, the lockup was reported to be in a fair condition.
In 2002, the lockup was decommissioned by the Victoria Police and was marked for removal.
The Whittlesea Court Association appealed to the Victoria Police to have the Lockup moved on to the site of the Courthouse. It was moved during July 2003 to the current location.
The building served the north end of the Municipality between 1859 and 2002 and is the link that binds the local justice system of yesterday ‘’
Address: 74 Church Street, Whittlesea