What is significant?
A timber Court of Petty Sessions was built in Eaglehawk in 1858. The log lockup now adjacent to the present courthouse was built to a Canadian plan in the same year in the grounds of the police station in High Street. Two other log lockups operated in the locality. By 1867 complaints were made that the accomodation in the courthouse was inadequate, and rooms were rented in the town hall. A new courthouse was built in 1869, initially in a typical plan with front entered courtroom and two rooms at the rear - the third room was added soon after. The log lockup was moved to its present position in 1970.
The Courthouse was designed by Public Works Department architects H. A. Williams and Peter Kerr. Kerr, who also designed the Post Office in the same precinct, is given credit for the detailing. The Victorian Free Classical design incorporates along with Romanesque circular gable vent and raking arches motif, the triple arch motif which was very popular in public buildings of this period. The Eaglehawk Courthouse is unusual amongst courthouses in its adoption of side entered porch under the main gable roof, rather than verandah or open colonade. The red brick building features extensive cream brick detailing , including banding, corbelled cream mouldings, striated arches and reveals, panels in the gable end and diaper patterns on the chimneys.
The 4.4m by 8.4m log lockup is typical of the log cabin construction log lockups built during the gold rushes. It features three timber lined cells and secure entry vestibule. It is constructed of bush hardwood logs, with logs in the cell walls transverse poles under the floor and above the ceiling for security.
How is it significant?
The Eaglehawk Courthouse and Log Lockup are of architectural and historical importance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Eaglehawk Courthouse is architecturally important for the qualities of design displayed in its facade. The decorative use of brickwork is more elaborate than for other courthouses of comparable scale in the period, and is an early example of the use of bichromatic brickwork.
The Eaglehawk Courthouse is a representative and intact example of small regional courthouses. The courthouse displays the typical features in the layout of courtroom and entrance vestibule, offices with smaller vestibules, and the internal fitings and furnishings are intact. The positioning of the Courthouse within an intact group of nineteenth century civic buildings adds to this representativeness.
The Eaglehawk Log Lock Up is a rare example of a building type prevalent in the 1850s but of which only five examples remain in the State. Eaglehawk is one of the more intact examples, and one of only three of this particular form in the State. The Eaglehawk lockup displays all of the principal material and constructional characteristics of the log lock up, a type once common, especially in the gold-fields.